Right heart function in systemic lupus erythematosus: insights from myocardial Doppler tissue imaging

Pei-Lan Gin, Wen-Chin Wang, Shu-Hsin Yang, Shih-Hung Hsiao, Jui-Cheng Tseng
Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography 2006, 19 (4): 441-9
The purpose of this study was to use Doppler tissue imaging to evaluate heart function and to investigate the correlation between Doppler imaging and pulmonary artery systolic pressure (PASP) and right ventricular (RV) ejection fraction (EF) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Standard echocardiography and 2-dimensional and color Doppler imaging were used to assess cardiac function in patients given the diagnosis of SLE (n = 40) and healthy control subjects (n = 45). Half of the patients with SLE also presented with pulmonary hypertension (PH). Significant differences in PASP and RV EF (RVEF) were found between the control and SLE groups. The peak systolic velocity of tricuspid annulus was significantly lower in patients with SLE than in the control group. The calculated myocardial performance index of the RV, septum, and left ventricular lateral wall were significantly higher in patients with SLE than in the control group. Bivariate correlation analysis revealed a significant correlation among PASP, RVEF, and systolic tricuspid annular velocity. There was a significant correlation between each of these 3 parameters and the 6-minute walk distance in patients with SLE. Patients with SLE and PH had a significantly shorter 6-minute walk distance than patients with SLE without PH. Furthermore, in patients with SLE and PH, RVEF and systolic tricuspid annular velocity were lower than in the control subjects and patients with SLE without PH. Patients with SLE and PH had a longer isovolumic relaxation time and a higher myocardial performance index of RV than those without PH. Finally, by simple linear regression analysis, we found a significant positive relation between RVEF and systolic tricuspid annular velocity, but a negative relationship between PASP and systolic tricuspid annular velocity. These findings demonstrate that in patients with SLE, systolic tricuspid annular velocity determined by echocardiography and Doppler imaging can be used to assess RV function and PASP. Furthermore, systolic tricuspid annular velocity reflects exercise tolerance in patients with SLE and the length of the isovolumic relaxation time represents the progression of PH.

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