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  1. Lachner, Kelly Denise


Systemic scleroderma (systemic sclerosis) is a rare, autoimmune, collagen-vascular disease of unknown etiology that affects the connective tissues of the skin, internal organs, as well as the small blood vessels. There are 3 subclasses of systemic scleroderma: limited cutaneous, diffuse cutaneous, and sine scleroderma. Prognosis depends on the extent of organ involvement. Complications of systemic scleroderma can involve the cardiovascular, pulmonary, gastrointestinal, renal, integumentary, and the skeletal-muscular systems. Because systemic scleroderma is not common, many orthopaedic nurses may be unfamiliar with how to best provide care. This article provides information about the complexity of the different types of this disease and the basic nursing care of the patient with the most common subclass of systemic scleroderma, limited cutaneous systemic scleroderma.