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Rheumatology (Oxford). 2013 Apr;52(4):642-50. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kes155. Epub 2012 Jul 5.

Churg-Strauss syndrome cardiac involvement evaluated by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging and positron-emission tomography: a prospective study on 20 patients.

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Department of Cardiology, Hôpital Cochin, AP-HP, Université Paris Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Paris, France.



Churg-Strauss syndrome (CSS) cardiac involvement is associated with a poor prognosis. Recently cardiac MRI (CMRI) has emerged as a promising technique to detect early CSS cardiac involvement. However, CMRI-detected myocardial delayed enhancement (MDE) could correspond to fibrosis or inflammation. Fluoro-2-deoxyglucose PET (FDG-PET) was previously used in other systemic diseases to distinguish between them. To determine whether the CMRI-MDE detected in CSS patients reflected fibrosis or myocardial inflammation, patients in CSS remission underwent FDG-PET.


Twenty consecutive CSS patients in remission (BVAS = 0) were recruited. Fourteen patients [eight men, six women; mean (S.D.) age 49 (9) years; mean disease duration 3.5 (2.9) years] with CMRI-detected MDE, and six patients [four men, two women; mean (S.D.) age 44 (15) years; mean disease duration 3.5 (5.3) years] with normal CMRI underwent FDG-PET. Segments with MDE on CMRI were analysed on FDG-PET images, with myocardial FDG hypofixation defining fibrosis and hyperfixation corresponding inflammation.


Among the 14 patients with MDE on CMRI, FDG-PET showed 10 had hypofixation, 2 had hyperfixation and 2 had normal scans. CSS duration at the time of CMRI was shorter for patients with myocardial inflammation than in those with fibrosis. The six patients with normal CMRI had normal FDG-PET images.


For CSS patients in remission, CMRI detected subclinical active myocardial lesions and could be recommended to assess cardiac involvement. However, because CMRI-detected MDE can reflect fibrosis or inflammation, FDG-PET might help to distinguish between the two.

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