Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Controlled trial of plasma exchange in treatment of Raynaud's syndrome.

Br Med J 1979; 1 doi: (Published 28 April 1979) Cite this as: Br Med J 1979;1:1113
  1. M J O'Reilly,
  2. G Talpos,
  3. V C Roberts,
  4. J M White,
  5. L T Cotton


    Twenty-seven patients with Raynaud's syndrome had their digital vessel patency assessed by Doppler ultrasound after different thermal stresses. Digital vessel patency rates differed significantly after stresses at 15 degrees C and 45 degrees C. In a randomised controlled trial placebo and heparin had no effect either on patients' symptoms or on the patency of their digital vessels. Plasma exchange improved both symptoms and vessel patency rates at 15 degrees C and 21 degrees C. Improvement in seven out of eight of these patients has been maintained for six months. Assessing digital vessel patency by Doppler techniques allow continuous, atraumatic, and safe evaluation of the effects of different methods of treatment on the patency of the digital vessels and has helped to indicate that plasma exchange is a useful adjunct in the management of patients with severe Raynaud's syndrome.