Intermediate-term follow-up of chronically ill patients with digital ischemia treated with peripheral digital sympathectomy Article

Full Text via DOI: 10.1007/s00296-015-3383-1 PMID: 26471183 Web of Science: 000368831200019

Cited authors

  • Soberon, Jose R., Jr.; Greengrass, Roy A.; Davis, William E.; Murray, Peter M.; Feinglass, Neil


  • Digital ischemia is commonly found in patients with scleroderma and has been shown to respond to peripheral digital sympathectomy. While favorable long- and intermediate-term results have been documented in the literature, minimal objective data are available and the mechanism of surgical sympathectomy has not been entirely elucidated. Patients with digital ischemia secondary to Raynaud's phenomenon that had undergone peripheral sympathectomy surgery between 2001 and 2009 were identified and contacted for participation. Radial artery Doppler ultrasound studies were performed and compared to those done at the time of their sympathectomy. Of 11 patients treated over a 9-year period, only two patients were available for detailed follow-up analysis. Four patients were deceased, and two were lost to follow-up. Four of the five remaining patients reported excellent use of the hand and no significant episodes of digital ischemia. Of the two patients studied, functional results were favorable and pain was markedly improved despite worsening of the digital flow resistance over time. We conclude that peripheral digital sympathectomy may provide favorable long-term results in patients with digital ischemia from autoimmune causes, although this intervention should be considered in the early stages once ischemic symptoms manifest. Interestingly, Doppler data did not appear to correlate with functional status and symptom severity in these two patients. Further research, particularly prospective studies, is warranted to guide clinical decisions in this patient population.

Publication date

  • 2016

Published in


International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0172-8172

Start page

  • 301

End page

  • 307


  • 36


  • 2