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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2006 February;54(1):151-8


language: Italian

Cardiovascular disease in early connectivitis

Manes M. T., Guzzo D., Rizzo M., Balsano M., Serafini O., Russo F., Venneri N.

1 Unità Operativa di Cardiologia Azienda Ospedaliera di Cosenza, Cosenza 2 Unità Operativa di Medicina Interna Azienda Ospedaliera di Cosenza, Cosenza


Aim. The purpose of this paper was to verify whether there is any sign of involvement of the cardiovascular system in the early stages of connectivitis.
Methods. Seventeen patients (10 female and 7 male, average age 41.35±9.85 years) (group A) recruited at the Ambulatorio di Medicina Interna for suspected connectivitis with period of onset of the symptomatology less than 6 months, were analyzed. Ten patients were excluded from the study: 8 had been suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) for a number of years, 2 were older than 80 and were suffering from concomitant pathologies (diabetes mellitus and hypertension) which would have invalidated the evaluation of valvular changes like thickening. The patients were followed up for 2 years. Clinical diagnosis was made in many cases many months after the observation using the criteria of the American Rheumatic Association (ARA). All patients were subjected to titration of the following autoantibodies by means of the immunofluorimetric method: ANA, anti-ENA (SSA, SSB, SM, SM-RNP, SCL-70, Jo-1), anti-nDNA, anti-histones. The cardiological evaluation was carried out by echography (Cardioline 12 leads) and echocardiographic examinatioin (Aloka 2000 and HP sonos 5500 with 2.5 and 3.5 MHz probe) looking for thickening of both valvular flaps (>3 mm for the mitral and >2 mm for the aorta), myocardial involvement by studying global and regional kinesis of the left ventricle; pericardial involvement. The control group consisted of 17 healthy subjects with the same sex and age distribution (10 male, 7 female, average age 40.35±9.80 years) (group B).
Results. Eleven patients (64%) proved to be suffering from SLE, 3 (17%) from mixed connectivitis (MC), 3 (17%) from systemic sclerosis (SS). Cardiac anomalies were observed in 12 patients: in 3 (17%) mitralic thickening was observed (2 with SLE, 1 with SS), in 2 (11%) thickening associated with mitralic insufficiency (with MC), in 1 (5%) isolated mitralic insufficiency (with SLE), in 1 (5%) thickening and slight aortic insufficiency (with SLE), in 1 (5%) mitralic vegetations (with SLE), in 2 (11%) pericardial effusion (with SLE), in 2 (11%) diastolic changes (with SS). The parameters relative to wall thickness between the 2 groups showed statistically significant differences (mitral 3.1± 0.7 vs 2.3±0.4 P= 0.0005; aorta 1.7±0.2 vs 1.5± 0.3 P =0.03).
Conclusion. In patients observed in the early stages of connectivitis, cardiac involvement was observed in 70% of cases, but the data require confirmation in a larger sample. The authors, however, believe that the early identification of such involvement is useful from both the diagnostic point of view and from the point of view of patient treatment.

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