Scleroderma Follow-up

Updated: Mar 01, 2023
  • Author: Abhishek Nandan, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Further Inpatient Care

Patients with systemic sclerosis may need to be treated by other subspecialists, depending on the involvement of specific organ systems (eg, cardiologist, pulmonologist, gastroenterologist, nephrologist, endocrinologist, vascular surgeon, wound care specialist, hand surgeon).

Kidney and lung transplantation are performed in specialized centers for patients with end-stage kidney or lung involvement.

Current studies of autologous stem cell transplantation, including a large randomized control study (SCOT trial), are ongoing. Several uncontrolled studies have indicated that this procedure may lead to disease remission.


Patient Education

Patients should be counseled to keep regular follow up appointments with their rheumatologist. Patients should be vigilant to look for decreases in their exercise tolerance as cardiopulmonary disease is the largest cause of mortality in scleroderma. Patients should also be vigilant to watch their Raynaud's phenomenon closely, avoid cigarette smoke, conservatively warm their hands in cool weather/environments, and look for any developing digital tip ulcerations. Consider providing patients with diffuse systemic sclerosis a blood pressure cuff so they can monitor their blood pressure weekly (to screen for scleroderma renal crisis).