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Myocardial dysfunction in ankylosing spondylitis.
  1. B A Gould,
  2. J Turner,
  3. D H Keeling,
  4. P Hickling,
  5. A J Marshall
  1. Department of Cardiology, Plymouth Group of Hospitals, United Kingdom.

    Abstract

    Echocardiographic evidence has suggested abnormalities of the myocardial function in patients with ankylosing spondylitis. In this work the cardiac function in patients with ankylosing spondylitis and in normal volunteers was evaluated. Twenty four normal volunteers and 21 patients with ankylosing spondylitis aged 18-45 were studied. None had overt cardiac disease. Cardiac function was assessed at rest with echocardiography, at rest and during supine bicycle exercise using radionuclide angiography in the left anterior oblique position following equilibration with 740 MBq of technetium-99. The subjects undertook supine bicycle exercise with 30 W increments every three minutes to the point of fatigue. Comparison of data from normal volunteers and patients with ankylosing spondylitis were made using Student's t test for independent samples or the Mann-Whitney non-parametric technique, as appropriate. Subjects were matched for age, sex, height, and weight. There were no echocardiographic differences; however, global nuclide left ventricular function showed several differences between normal volunteers and patients with ankylosing spondylitis. The peak filling rate during exercise was significantly lower in patients with ankylosing spondylitis: normal volunteers 6.5 (SD 1.2); patients with ankylosing spondylitis 5.7 (1.2). The time to reach peak filling during exercise was significantly lower in patients with ankylosing spondylitis: normal volunteers 102 (22); patients with ankylosing spondylitis 120 (23). Regional analysis also showed differences between patients with ankylosing spondylitis and normal volunteers both at rest and during exercise. In the anteroseptal region the filling fraction and peak filling rate were significantly lower in patients with ankylosing spondylitis. Most of the differences (although not all) were in the variables of diastolic function. This study shows that there are subtle abnormalities in cardiac function in patients with ankylosing spondylitis. The major abnormalities are in the diastolic function, suggesting a decrease in left ventricular compliance.

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