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Reserpine in Raynaud's Disease and Phenomenon: Short-Term Response to Intra-arterial Injection

JAMES T. WILLERSON, M.D.; RONALD H. THOMPSON, PH.D.; PERRY HOOKMAN, M.D.; JEAN HERDT, M.D.; and JOHN L. DECKER, M.D., F.A.C.P.
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▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. James T. Willerson, Bdg. 10, Rm. 9N218, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. 20014


Washington, D.C., and Bethesda, Maryland


Ann Intern Med. 1970;72(1):17-27. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-72-1-17
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Nineteen patients had Raynaud's disease or Raynaud's phenomenon. A heat-loss measuring device showed marked differences in superficial digital blood flow between the control patients and the patients both at rest and during exposure to cold. Short-term improvement in superficial blood flow followed intra-arterial reserpine in 7 of the 13 patients treated. Those patients not responding to intra-arterial reserpine probably had such extensive intrinsic or extrinsic obstructive disease that lessening of the autonomic nervous system control was of no appreciable benefit. Esophageal motility was abnormal in several patients, especially upon direct measurement. Abnormal peristalsis was replaced by normal motility after intra-arterial reserpine in two of the five patients studied. Whether the improvement in esophageal motility was spontaneous or was related to the reserpine treatment is not clear. Seven brachial arteriograms were abnormal. Pulmonary hypertension was found in one young girl with systemic lupus erythematosus and Raynaud's phenomenon.

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