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CAP study

Laatste wijziging: 24 January 2022

Capillaroscopical changes during pregnancy: a multicenter prospective study


Principal investigator: prof. dr. Wilfred Gyselaers, Researcher: dr. Kristof Thevissen


Background: In the Limburg preeclampsia study the macrovasculature (major blood vessels and heart) and the moisture are monitored in pregnant women using indirect measurements (including blood pressure, ECG, bioimpedance,…). What is missing during the evaluation of pregnant women is the information regarding the microcirculation (smallest blood vessels in the body). Microcirculation can be assessed in different ways, with the capillaries at the cuticles being the most accessible. Measurements can be done by using capillaroscopy. This is a painless and easy to perform method. Only one drop of oil needs to be applied on the cuticles of the finger and with a capillaroscope (electronic lens with 200x magnification) linked to a computer, the capillaries can be imaged. By using specific software the number, the diameter and morphology of the capillaries can be determined. This technique is widely used in rheumatology and has already been described in the literature on gynecological. However, the technique described here is outdated compared to the current technology, which will be used in this study. Especially the field of integrated imaging and taking screenshots on one and the same time point (using the microscopic images collected with VCR earlier) is innovative.


Methodology: The study will be conducted in two centers in Belgium, namely the AZ Alma Eeklo & Sijsele and ZOL Genk. In this study, we want to investigate if by using a relatively simple technique (namely capillaroscopy, see above), changes in the capillaries during pregnancy can be determined. It has already been shown that persons with essential hypertension (high blood pressure) have a reduced number of capillaries compared to persons with a normal blood pressure. A similar observation was done with small numbers of pregnant women with pre-eclampsia . This study wants to confirm these results in a larger group of pregnant women. To this end,  healthy pregnant women, high-risk pregnant women and pregnant women with (pre-)eclampsia will be included in the study. The normal pregnancies will serve as a reference group against which the other groups will be compared to. The capillaroscopy data will be linked to a serological outcome for autoimmunity.


Inclusion criteria: at least 10 weeks pregnant. Both singleton pregnancies as multiple pregnancies are allowed. There is no restriction on materna  fetal pathology in this study.

Exclusion criteria: <10 weeks pregnant.