Software Aims to Make Diagnosing Scleroderma Easier, Faster

Patricia Inácio, PhD avatar

by Patricia Inácio, PhD |

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capillaroscopy and scleroderma

A new computer software, called, uses artificial intelligence (AI) to aid in diagnosing scleroderma at early disease stages.

The tool, developed in partnership with the Sociedad Española de Medicina Interna (SEMI), was designed specifically to improve a non-invasive, highly sensitive and inexpensive technique — called nailfold capillaroscopy — used by clinicians to closely examine the small blood vessels (called capillaries) under the fingernails.

This approach is widely accepted for the diagnosis of autoimmune conditions that include scleroderma.

Degeneration or inflammatory damage in capillaries, collectively known as microvasculopathy, is an early feature of scleroderma. is intended to boost the effectiveness of nailfold capillaroscopy by using AI to automatically detect, measure, and classify the size and shape of the tiny capillaries.

According to, which describes itself as a “collaborative project,” the new software allows for quicker analysis than manual nailfold capillaroscopy. It also provides an analysis of several key parameters, including whether a capillary is dilated or not, and how the blood flows in these small vessels — which is harder to perform with the current approach.

“This tool allows us to speed up, improve and facilitate the performance and usefulness of capillaroscopy, systematizing and analyzing the clinical information obtained,” Patricia Fanlo, MD, with the Hospital de Navarra, in Spain, said in a press release.

“We can obtain reports with clinical parameters quickly and easily that guide us in the diagnosis, for example, of diseases such as scleroderma, by studying the microcirculation of the capillaries near the base of the patient’s nail,” added Fanlo, who is also  coordinator of the Grupo de Enfermedades Autoinmunes Sistémicas of SEMI.

The software requires a computer running on Microsoft Windows 7 or a newer version. A digital USB-microscope can be used to take pictures of the capillaries indicating the finger and nail sector in each photo.

Using the CapillaryScope, the pictures can be uploaded either to a computer or directly to the’s website, where they are stored, and an analysis performed of nailfold capillaries, including the detection, measurement, and classification of these blood vessels and of bleedings.

Separate monthly pricing plans are offered for individual users and for organizations.