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Physiologic abnormalities of cardiac function in progressive systemic sclerosis with diffuse scleroderma

Posted Oct 05 2009 10:03pm
By WP Follansbee and Colleague

To investigate cardiopulmonary function in progressive systemic sclerosis with diffuse scleroderma, we studied 26 patients with maximal exercise and redistribution thallium scans, rest and exercise radionuclide ventriculography, pulmonary-function testing, and chest roentgenography. Although only 6 patients had clinical evidence of cardiac involvement, 20 had abnormal thallium scans, including 10 with reversible exercise-induced defects and 18 with fixed defects (8 had both).

Seven of the 10 patients who had exercise-induced defects and underwent cardiac catheterization had normal coronary angiograms. Mean resting left ventricular ejection fraction and mean resting right ventricular ejection fraction were lower in patients with post-exercise left ventricular thallium defect scores above the median (59 +/- 13 per cent vs. 69 +/- 6 per cent [P less than 0.025], and 36 +/- 12 per cent vs. 47 +/- 7 per cent [P less than 0.025], respectively).

We conclude that in progressive systemic sclerosis with diffuse scleroderma, abnormalities of myocardial perfusion are common and appear to be due to a disturbance of the myocardial microcirculation. Both right and left ventricular dysfunction appear to be related to this circulatory disturbance, suggesting ischemically mediated injury.
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