The frequency of Raynaud’s phenomenon, very early diagnosis of systemic sclerosis, and systemic sclerosis in a large Veteran Health Administration database

Tracy M. Frech, Maureen A. Murtaugh, Megan Amuan, Mary Jo Pugh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: We describe Raynauds phenomenon (RP), potential very early diagnosis of systemic sclerosis (VEDOSS), and systemic sclerosis (SSc) in Veterans deployed in support of Post-9/11 operations. We sought to describe the military occupation specialty, clinical features, and vasodilator use across the three diagnoses. Methods: Individual Veterans medical records were assessed for RP (ICD-9443.0), VEDOSS with swelling of hands (ICD-9729.81) and RP (ICD-9443.0), and SSc (ICD-9710.1). The distribution of sociodemographic, military service branch, job classification, vasodilator use, and comorbidities were examined across the three classifications of disease. The chi-squared test and Fisher’s exact compared frequency of these categorical variables. Logistic regression assessed the likelihood of characteristics of the three classifications. Results: In this population of 607,665 individual Veteran medical records, 857 had RP, 45 met possible VEDOSS criteria, and 71 had a diagnosis of SSc. The majority of RP, potential VEDOSS and SSc cases were white males. Those in craftworks, engineering or maintenance, and healthcare had a greater likelihood of RP. Less than half of RP and VEDOSS patients were on vasodilators. The most common comorbidities in this population were the diagnostic code for pain (highest in the potential VEDOSS group [81.6%]), followed by depression in all groups. Conclusion: This is a unique Veteran population of predominately-male patients. Our data suggests that vasodilator medications are potentially being under-utilized for RP and potential VEDOSS. Our data highlights mood and pain management as an important aspect of SSc care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number42
JournalBMC Rheumatology
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Occupational health
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon
  • Scleroderma
  • Systemic sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology

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