Background In connective tissue diseases many systems and organs are involved. Pleural effusion, interstitial pneumonia, pulmonary vasculitis, rheumatoid nodules, obliterative bronchiolitis, pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary fibrosis may be found in patients with connective tissue diseases. Quality of life, effort tolerance and frequency of bronchial or lung infection depends on good pulmonary function.
Objectives The aim of this study was to examinate the spirometry indices in patients with connective tissue diseases.
Methods 80 persons: 40 with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), 11 with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), 8 with diffuse scleroderma, 3 with scleromyositis, 10 with ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and 8 with polymyositis were examined. The following parameters were measured: VC, ERV, FEV1, FVC, FEV1%VC, MEF 25, 50 and 75, MEF 25/75, MVV, MEF 50%FVC. Pulmonary function tests were done on spirometer abcPNEUMO PC in accordance with European Respiratory Society. All patients have normal blood gases values and chest X-ray.
Results In RA patients spirometric indices were in normal ranges, although the lowest values were in FEV1 and FVC. In active RA (elevated ESR and CRP) and long-term diseases maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV) was below the normal ranges. There was no ventilation disturbances in patients long-term treated with methotrexate who are in remission.
In SLE patients, all were in remission, there was no ventilation abnormalities.
AS, diffuse scleroderma and scleromyositis patients produce a restrictive spirometric defect.
The most restrictive disturbances were found in patients with active polymyositis.
MVV was the lowest values in patients with III or IV musculosceletal functional class.
There were more frequency of bronchial or pulmonary infections in patients with long-term diseases. This was not connected with immunosupressive therapy.
Pulmonary function tests allow to early identification of ventilation disturbances in patients with connective tissue diseases.
The long-term diseases have an influence on ventilation disturbances.
Restrictive defect is the main ventilation abnormalities in connective tissue diseases.
The most spirometric indices changes are found in active polymyositis.
Musculosceletal functional status is important in lowering the MVV.
Patients with connective tissue diseases have more frequent respiratory infections.
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