Tests You May Experience

Tests: Reasons and Expectations

Below, you will find a list of some common testing used to diagnose and manage scleroderma. 

Please look at the complete resource on the National Scleroderma Foundation website. Click the button below to go to the webpage.

ANA: Antinuclear Antibody Assay

Antinuclear antibody (ANA) testing is the most important blood test to screen for scleroderma and other connective tissue diseases.

Skin Tests

Skin thickening, especially on the skin over your large knuckles, is one of the scleroderma symptoms that doctors look for to help confirm diagnosis. Your skin’s thickness can be measured and scored with the Modified Rodnan skin score test (MRSS).

Pulmonary Function Test (PFT)

Scleroderma may affect your lungs, causing symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, or other respiratory problems. The PFT measures how well your lungs work as you breathe in and out. Lung function tests may include spirometry, the six-minute walking test, and CT scans.


Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is another potential complication of scleroderma. PAH is relatively rare, but it can be serious and worsen over time. It’s important to have tests such as an echocardiogram that screen for and diagnose PAH very early because it’s easier to treat it in its early stages. An echocardiogram is just an ultrasound scan of your heart muscle and blood flow. It is non-invasive and painless. 

Gastrointestinal (GI) Testing

Scleroderma may cause gastrointestinal (GI) complications like ulcers, infections, acid reflux, heartburn and GERD, constipation, diarrhea, intestinal bleeding, or growths and blockages. Upper endoscopy, 24-hour GI test, Esophageal dilation, Colonoscopy, Hydrogen breath test, or Gastric emptying study are some of the tests you may experience.