EPISODIC vasospasm with discoloration of the digits was first described in 1862 by the French physician Maurice Raynaud (1834 to 1881 ).1,2 A typical attack, as noted by Raynaud, consists of a cyclic discoloration of the skin, proceeding from white to blue to red.3 At present, these attacks are usually referred to as "Raynaud's disease" if they occur in isolation; if they accompany another disorder, such as cryoglobulinemia, the term "Raynaud's phenomenon" is used.
Raynaud postulated that the transient discoloration of the digits is due to a disturbance in the sympathetic nervous system, and sympathectomy was later introduced as a treatment for the condition. The success of this operation has led to a better understanding of the autonomic nervous system and has promoted the use of sympathectomy in the management of a variety of vascular disorders.4-8
RAYNAUD'S PHENOMENON—WILKINS & BRODY
ON LOCAL ASPHYXIA and SYMMETRICAL GANGRENE
Wilkins RH, Brody IA. Raynaud's Phenomenon. Arch Neurol. 1969;20(6):668. doi:10.1001/archneur.1969.00480120114012
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