Cutaneous blood flow in dermatomyositis and its association with disease severity

Aerlyn Dawn, Suganthi Thevarajah, Kimberly A. Cayce, Christie L. Carroll, Maria L. Duque, Yiong Huak Chan, Joseph L. Jorizzo, Gil Yosipovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Several studies using nailfold capillary microscopes have demonstrated capillary changes in patients with dermatomyositis (DM); however, no previous study has examined cutaneous blood flow in this disease. Purpose: To determine cutaneous blood flow in involved and non-involved skin surfaces of patients with DM and to assess possible correlation with clinical measures of disease severity. Methods: Using a Laser Doppler perfusion imager, cutaneous blood flow was measured at six targeted sites of involved and apparently non-involved skin of 13 DM patients and the corresponding non-involved sites of 13 healthy controls. Overall disease severity of DM patients was determined by physician's global assessment (PGA), creatinine phosphokinase (CPK) levels, medical research council (MRC) scores, and the DM skin severity index (DSSI). Results: Skin blood flow was significantly elevated in involved vs. non-involved skin of DM patients at all anatomic sites measured: periungual (P=0.001), knuckle (P=0.001), elbow (P=0.013), periorbital (P=0.015), chest (P=0.028), and back (P=0.001). Blood flow was also higher in apparently non-involved skin of DM patients vs. skin of healthy controls at all anatomic sites, although statistical significance was not achieved. A significant negative correlation was observed between the DSSI and blood flow in involved skin of the chest (P=0.003), back (P=0.002), and knuckle (P=0.026). Conclusion: DM isassociated with significantly increased cutaneous blood flow, even at sites where no erythema is evident. This suggests significant involvement of the skin vasculature in this disease process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-292
Number of pages8
JournalSkin Research and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Amyopathic dermatomyositis
  • Dermatomyositis
  • Laser doppler perfusion imager
  • Skin blood flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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