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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2001 Apr;40(4):453-9.

Pulmonary hypertension in systemic sclerosis: risk factors for progression and consequences for survival.

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  • 1Department of Rheumatology, Royal Free Hospital, Pond Street, London NW3 2QG, UK.



To assess the rate of progression of pulmonary hypertension (PHT) in systemic sclerosis (SSc) and its bearing on mortality.


A retrospective record review of 930 patients with SSc attending a specialist centre was carried out. Those at risk for both idiopathic and secondary PHT were assessed by serial Doppler echocardiography. Mortality data were reviewed.


The cumulative prevalence of PHT was 13%. Pressures remained static in most cases. The mortality among those with a single pressure reading of 30 mmHg or higher was 20% at 20 months. An increased mortality risk was associated with high initial pressures and rising pressures. Rapid pressure rises occurred more frequently in limited than in diffuse SSC.


The prevalence of PHT in SSc is high and the detection of PHT at any time in the disease course is associated with substantial mortality. These results demonstrate the value of echocardiographic screening for PHT in all patients with SSC.

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