Prevalence of pulmonary hypertension in patients with systemic sclerosis and mixed connective tissue disease

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Abstract

Systemic sclerosis (SSc) and mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD) are 2 conditions in which pulmonary hypertension (PH) can develop.

We retrospectively analyzed the probability of PH in case of 83 patients (69 SSc and 14 MCTD). The European Society of Cardiology/European Respiratory Society (ESC/ERS) echocardiographic guidelines of 2015 were used for the evaluation.

On the basis of an echocardiography, the patients were divided into 2 subgroups: patients with elevated probability of PH (EP) (n = 16) versus the group with a low probability of PH (LP) (n = 67). Of the 16 patients in the EP group, 15 were SSc patients and 1 was an MCTD patient, respectively, that is, 21.7% and 7.1% of all patients. Of the 16 patients with EP, 10 with SSc had right-heart catheterization, which excluded PH in 7 patients; hence, PH was estimated to be 11.6% in the SSc group. The distribution of the individual causes of PH was arterial PH 2.9%, PH associated with interstitial lung disease 4.3%, PH associated with left ventricular disease 1.5%, and PH of unknown origin 2.9%. Further, there was a significant difference between EP and LP in the incidence of the right bundle branch block in standard electrocardiography, left atrial and right ventricular dimension, tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion, and Doppler-derived tricuspid lateral annular systolic velocity (S’) in echocardiography.

Echocardiography, particularly those evaluating the parameters included in the ESC/ERS guidelines of 2015, appears to be a useful tool in the detection of patients with a high PH probability. Additional tissue Doppler echocardiography seems to be a good option.

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