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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2006 Oct;45 Suppl 4:iv14-7.

Primary myocardial involvement in systemic sclerosis.

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Paris 5 René Descartes University, Department of Rheumatology A, Cochin Hospital, AP-HP, Paris, France.


Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a connective tissue disease characterized by diffuse vascular lesions and fibrosis. Primary myocardial involvement is common in SSc and, when clinically evident, appears as a poor prognostic factor. An increasing body of evidence suggests that myocardial involvement is due, at least in part, to microcirculation impairment with abnormal vasoreactivity, with or without associated structural abnormalities of the small coronary arteries or arterioles. Using conventional methods, myocardial perfusion impairment, systolic and diastolic left ventricular dysfunction and right ventricular dysfunction have been reported in SSc. Recently, tissue Doppler echocardiography and magnetic resonance imaging have confirmed these results. Vasodilators, such as calcium channel blockers and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, improve both myocardial perfusion and function abnormalities.

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