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Semin Arthritis Rheum. 1989 Dec;19(3):191-200.

Heart disease in systemic sclerosis.

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Division of Rheumatology, St. Louis University School of Medicine, MO 63104.


Primary cardiovascular manifestations of SSc include pericardial disease, myocardial disease, conduction abnormalities, and cardiac arrhythmias. Significant cardiac abnormalities are present in more than half of SSc patients at autopsy. As the frequency of subclinical cardiac involvement is now appreciated and noninvasive cardiac diagnostic modalities continue to improve, the ability to detect early asymptomatic involvement in SSc has improved. Two-dimensional echocardiography, radionucleotide imaging, and ambulatory ECG allow recurrent serial testing with virtually no morbidity. The current treatment of cardiac involvement in SSc is emperic and primarily directed at symptomatology. Large prospective randomized trials are needed to determine if preventive therapy is effective. With the advent of new immunological and cardiotropic agents and a better understanding of the primary disease process, our ability to alter the pathogenesis and final outcome of cardiac involvement in SSc should improve.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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