Background Myocardial involvement is a common finding in patients with systemic sclerosis. It is also present in rheumatoid arthritis, but very rarely. Different alterations can be revealed by an electrocardiographic examination.
Objectives Aim of this study was to evaluate and to compare the frequency and type of electrocardiographic alteration in patients with systemic sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Methods In the study group of 40 pts with SSc (38 female, 2 male mean age 52,85 ± 12,44) and 22 pts with RA (20 female,2 male; mean age 51,45 ± 11,41) clinical, laboratory and ECG examination were done. All the patients with SSc were divided into two subgroup: with diffuse (dSSc) and localised (lSSc) SSc. The electrocardiographic data of each of these subgroup were compared. The existance of the next ECG abnormalities we were investigated: ventricular premature beats (VPB), supraventricular premature beats (SVPB), arrhythmia absoluta, left bundle branch block (LBBB), left anterior fascicular block (LAFB), complete right bundle branch block (CRBBB), atrioventricular block (AV block), infarct or pseudounfarct, ST depression.
Results Electrocardiographic alterations were found in 65% of SSc patients, but only in 18,19% of RA patients. The difference was significant (p < 0,001) Table 1. In the dSSc group, ECG alterations were found in 6 pts (15%)- not significant compared to the lSSc group (5 pts, 12,5%). p = o,220. ST depression was found in 2 pts (5%) with dSSc, but only in 1 pts (4,5%) with RA. Infarct or pseudoinfarct were found in 9 pts (22,5%) with SSc (6 in dSSc, 3 in lSSc).
Conclusion The results of our study showed a significant prevalence of ECG alterations in SSc, but low prevalence in RA. Differences between a presence of alterations in two subgroup (dSSc, lSSc) of SSc is not significant (p = 0,220).
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