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Ann Rheum Dis 59:39-43 doi:10.1136/ard.59.1.39
  • Extended report

Macrovascular disease and systemic sclerosis

Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine if macrovascular disease is more prevalent in systemic sclerosis (SSc) compared with unaffected subjects.

METHODS 54 patients with SSc (both limited and diffuse disease) and 43 unaffected control subjects of similar age and sex were recruited. All subjects underwent a basic screen for conventional atherosclerotic disease risk factors. All had non-invasive vascular assessments—that is, carotid duplex scanning and measurement of ankle brachial blood pressure index—to identify the presence of asymptomatic peripheral vascular disease.

RESULTS 33 of 52 (64%) patients had carotid artery disease compared with only 15 of 42 (35%) controls (p=0.007). Eleven (21%) of these patients had moderate disease compared with only two (5%) controls (NS). Nine of 53 (17%) SSc patients had evidence of peripheral arterial disease compared with no controls. This result was also statistically significant (p=0.003). There were no significant differences in the basic risk factor profile, which included cigarette smoking, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, cholesterol, trigyceride and glucose concentrations.

CONCLUSION Macrovascular disease is more common in SSc. Screening of these patients may allow identification of “at risk” patients at an early stage and allow the study of treatments to attenuate the high rate of cardiovascular mortality in these patients.

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