Raynayd's phenomenon is the manifestation of a spasm of small skin vessels caused by cold or emotional stimuli. It is typically composed of three phases: in the first phase (ischemic phase) the fingers become white, in the second phase they become blue (hypoxic phase) and finally red (reperfusion phase).
Raynaud's phenomenon in itself is not a disease, in fact in most cases it is a transitory spasm that does not cause permanent damage (primitive Raynaud phenomenon). But in a small percentage of cases it is a symptom of serious diseases, such as scleroderma, which require early diagnosis and appropriate treatment (secondary Raynaud phenomenon).
How to identify the secondary Raynaud phenomenon?
It is now possible to identify early the presence of a Raynaud phenomenon secondary to disease with a simple, non-invasive investigation method called Capillaroscopy. Of course the subsequent diagnosis will involve a clinical examination completed by laboratory investigations.
Capillaroscopy is an investigation that allows to study "in vivo" the morphological and functional characteristics of the microcirculation. The currently most widely used technique is periungueal capillaroscopy which studies the capillaries at the level of the skin plica at the base of the nail.
The examination, absolutely painless and bloodless, allows to identify the alterations of the capillaries that can precede the clinical manifestations of the disease.
Capillaroscopic pictures can be distinguished in normal, early, active and advanced.
In the early phase, edema prevails, the dilatation of some capillaries (megacapillaries) and microhemorrhages. In the active phase megacapillaries and hemorrhages prevail and the subversion of microcirculation architecture begins to emerge. In the late phase we witness the complete subversion of the architecture, the capillaries are reduced in number with the presence of areas of desertification and phenomena of neoangiogenesis.