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Am J Cardiol. 2007 Aug 1;100(3):496-502. Epub 2007 Jun 14.

Characterization of valvular heart disease in rheumatoid arthritis by transesophageal echocardiography and clinical correlates.

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1
University of New Mexico School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. carlos.roldan2@med.va.gov

Abstract

Valvular heart disease (VHD) associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has not been well characterized and its clinical predictors are undefined. Therefore, 34 volunteers with RA with a mean age of 50 +/- 10 years underwent clinical evaluation and transesophageal echocardiography. Findings on transesophageal echocardiography were compared with those of 34 gender-matched healthy volunteers with a mean age of 42 +/- 6 years. Twenty patients (59%) had mainly (97%) left-sided VHD (valve nodules in 11, 32%; valve thickening in 18, 53%; valve regurgitation in 7, 21%; and valve stenosis in 1, 3%) compared with 5 controls (15%; [nodules in 1, 3%; thickening in 4, 12%; and regurgitation in 1, 3%; p < or =0.05 for all vs patients). Valve nodules were generally single and small (4 to 12 mm); were oval with regular borders and had homogenous echocardiographic reflectance; were typically located at the leaflets' basal or mid portions; and equally affected the aortic and mitral valves. Valve thickening was equally diffuse or localized; when localized affected any leaflet portion; was usually mild (89%); involved similarly the mitral and aortic valves (47% and 32%, respectively); and rarely (6%) involved the annulus and subvalvular apparatus. Valve regurgitation manifested as mild aortic regurgitation in 4 patients, moderate mitral regurgitation in 4 patients, and moderate tricuspid regurgitation in 1 patient. Mitral and aortic valve stenoses occurred in 1 patient (3%). No correlation was found between VHD and duration, activity, severity, pattern of onset and course, extra-articular disease, serology, or therapy of RA. In conclusion, RA-associated VHD is common, valve nodules and thickening are its distinctive features, and it is not associated with clinical variables of RA.

PMID:
17659935
DOI:
10.1016/j.amjcard.2007.03.048
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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