1980 Systemic Sclerosis (Scleroderma) Classification Criteria

These criteria were established in 1980 by the American Rheumatism Association (now known as the American College of Rheumatology). 


  • Either the sole major criterion or ≥2 of the minor criteria. 

Major Criterion

  • Proximal scleroderma: symmetrical thickening, tightening and induration of the skin of the fingers and the skin proximal to the metacarpophalangeal or metatarsophalangeal joints.  These changes can involve the entire limb, face, neck and trunk.

Minor Criteria

  • Sclerodactyly: induration and tightening of the skin of the fingers
  • Digital ischemia: as manifested by digital pitting scars or atrophy of finger pads.
  • Bibasilar pulmonary fibrosis: reticular or reticulonodular densities most pronounced in the basilar areas of the lungs on CXR.  This may produce the appearance of “honeycomb lung” and must not be due to a primary pulmonary disease.


  • Fails to include some patients with limited scleroderma or CREST Syndrome
  • Does not include subtle features of the disease
  • Does not include serological markers

Adapted from: Masi AT, Rodnan GP, Medsger et al.  Preliminary criteria for the classification of systemic sclerosis (scleroderma). Arthritis Rheum 1980;23:581-590.