Capillaroscopy

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Capillaroscopy

 

an intravitam method of study involving the examination, under magnification, of capillaries of the epithelial or endothelial integuments of animals and man (skin, mucous membranes).

In man, the capillaries are examined in the skin fold of the nail bed, where they can be viewed most conveniently. A microscope or a special instrument, the capillaroscope, is used for this purpose. The use of the microscope (20–100 power magnification) after the application of a drop of clarifying oil to the skin and good oblique illumination provide good visibility. Changes are observed in the capillaries with disturbances of the peripheral blood circulation of a variety of etiologies (in vascular neuroses, the early stages of cardiac insufficiency, end arteritis obliterans). The changes observed during capillaroscopy are not strictly specific to a given pathological condition; they arise as an adaptive mechanism to any disturbance of the general blood flow. There-fore, capillaroscopy is used only as a supplementary diagnostic method in general clinical examinations.