2016 Volume 55 Issue 3 Pages 237-243
Objective We sought to detect the presence of left ventricular regional dysfunction and myocardial abnormalities in systemic sclerosis (SSc) patients without cardiac symptoms using a complementary cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging approach.
Methods Consecutive patients with SSc without cardiac symptoms and healthy controls underwent CMR on a 1.5 T scanner. The peak systolic regional function in the circumferential and radial strain (Ecc, % and Err, %) were calculated using a feature tracking analysis on the mid-left ventricular slices obtained with cine MRI. In addition, we investigated the myocardial characteristics by contrast MRI. Pharmacological stress and rest perfusion scans were performed to assess perfusion defect (PD) due to micro- or macrovascular impairment, and late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) images were obtained for the assessment of myocarditis and/or fibrosis.
Results We compared 15 SSc patients with 10 healthy controls. No statistically significant differences were observed in the baseline characteristics between the patients and healthy controls. The mean peak Err and Ecc of all segments was significantly lower in the patients than the controls (p=0.011 and p=0.003, respectively). Four patients with LGE (28.6%) and seven patients with PD (50.0%) were observed. PD was significantly associated with digital ulcers (p=0.005). Utilizing a linear regression model, the presence of myocardial LGE was significantly associated with the peak Ecc (p=0.024). After adjusting for age, the association between myocardial LGE and the peak Ecc was strengthened.
Conclusion A subclinical myocardial involvement, as detected by CMR, was prevalent in the SSc patients without cardiac symptoms. Regional dysfunction might predict the myocardial abnormalities observed in SSc patients without cardiac symptoms.