The classification of Raynaud's phenomenon has been complicated by various confusing labels, including Raynaud's disease and Raynaud's syndrome. To improve clarity and to allow for uniformity in reporting, most investigators agree that only the terms primary and secondary Raynaud's phenomenon should be used for patient classification. The prevalence of Raynaud's phenomenon seems to vary among different populations and different climates, suggesting genetic and environmental influences on its expression. The concept that Raynaud's phenomenon is the manifestation of a generalized vasospastic disorder has been addressed by studies of migraine headaches, variant angina, and the pulmonary vascular circulation. Current data suggest that the pathophysiology of Raynaud's phenomenon is complex and multifactorial, involving the endothelium, neuroreceptor expression, and locally produced mediators that affect vascular responses. New and old diagnostic tools used to measure digital circulation continue to be tested in an effort to define a better method of evaluating patients. Occupational causes of Raynaud's phenomenon continue to be an important health problem despite efforts to control vibratory tool usage. The role of β-blockers in the induction of Raynaud's phenomenon has been questioned, but the use of chemotherapeutic agents is a definite risk factor. A new radical surgical approach for severe refractory Raynaud's phenomenon was described. Intravenous prostaglandins continue to appear helpful in the treatment of severe Raynaud's phenomenon, and oral prostaglandins are beginning to be studied.
Current Opinion in Rheumatology 1993, 5:773-784