Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
Clin Med Insights Arthritis Musculoskelet Disord. 2011;4:77-86. doi: 10.4137/CMAMD.S7667. Epub 2011 Sep 28.

Asymptomatic pulmonary hypertension in systemic lupus erythematosus.

Author information

  • 1Department of Rheumatology and Rehabilitation, Minia University, Egypt.



Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a serious and often fatal complication of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Because the diagnosis of PAH often is made years after symptom onset, early diagnostic strategies are essential. Doppler echocardiography currently is considered the noninvasive screening test of choice for evaluating pulmonary hypertension.


Screening for asymptomatic pulmonary hypertension in systemic lupus erythematosus patients using Doppler echocardiography, and correlating it with inflammatory parameters of the disease.


Doppler echocardiography was performed in 74 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus over one year (66 adult and 8 juvenile), adult SLE included 57 patients with adult-onset and 9 patients with childhood-onset. Pulmonary hypertension was diagnosed if the peak systolic pressure gradient at the tricuspid valve was more than 30 mmHg. All patients were subjected to full history taking, rheumatological examination, laboratory studies and chest x-ray.


In seventy four SLE patients, the pulmonary hypertension was detected in 8 patients (10.8%), 7 adult-onset SLE patients (aged from 19 to 30 years) and 1 juvenile SLE (aged 12 years). The range of pulmonary artery systolic pressure was 34-61.2 mmHg (43.19 ± 9.28). No significant differences between patients with and those without pulmonary hypertension as regard clinical features. Significantly higher frequencies of rheumatoid factor and anti-cardiolipin antibodies were found in patients with pulmonary hypertension versus those without (P = 0.02, P = 0.008 respectively). Positive rheumatoid factor and ACL were significantly associated with occurrence of PAH in SLE (P = 0.007, P = 0.006 respectively). No significant correlations were found between pulmonary artery pressure, disease duration, SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI), ESR, and anti-ds DNA.


Patients with SLE have an increased risk of pulmonary arterial hypertension. Echocardiography should be used as a screening tool in patients at high risk for development of pulmonary hypertension. Positive anti-cardiolipin antibodies and rheumatoid factor were significant predictors of pulmonary hypertension in our study.


echocardiography; pulmonary hypertension; screening; systemic lupus erythematosus

Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (1)Free text

Figure 1
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Libertas Academica Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk