In a total of 100 healthy subjects (36 males, 64 females) aged between 5 and 58 years, capillary microscopy of the nailfold was performed in all the fingers of both hands. The aim of this study was to determine whether capillary abnormalities, hitherto regarded as pathological, were to be found, and if so, to establish their frequency and nature. Capillary branchings – on average 4-5/person – were seen in 78% of the subjects investigated, and proved to be most common in digits IV and V of both hands. Of the subjects investigated, 94% showed meanderings, 64% tortuous loops, 25% hemorrhagic extravasations, and 19% apical dilatations of the capillaries. Only a single case of a giant loop was seen. Neither avascular fields, stasis nor reversion of blood flow were seen. Maricq’s venule index was increased in 3 subjects. These findings clearly indicate that the significance of deviating capillary patterns need to be reconsidered, for branchings or hemorrhagic extravasations can certainly be found in healthy subjects.

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