Background The main cause of death in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Speckle Tracking Echocardiography (STE) is an imaging technique that analyses the local and global myocardial function by assessing the myocardial deformation (strain). This technique is useful in addressing early alterations in ischemic pathologies (1,3).
Objectives The aim of this study was to analyze if longitudinal strain abnormalities correspond with vascular territories, and compare the results between RA-patients and matched controls.
Methods An observational cross-section case-control study was designed. Patients that fulfilled the 1987 ACR and/or 2010 ACR/EULAR classification criteria for RA, were 40–75 years old, with no overlap syndromes and no history of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease were included. The control group was integrated by age- and sex-matched subjects, with no rheumatologic or cardiovascular diseases. A standard transthoracic echocardiogram was performed by a board-certified echocardiographer. Affection of coronary territories was compared between groups using longitudinal strain by speckle tracking according to the European Society of Cardiology and the American Society of Echocardiography recommendations.
Results A total of 53 RA-patients and 24 control subjects were included. Demographic characteristics for each group are shown in table 1. There was no statistical difference in global longitudinal strain between RA-patients and controls (-20.86±2.82 vs -21.19±2.46, p=0.62). Comparison of longitudinal strain values of the three vascular territories evaluated between RA-patients and controls did not reach statistical difference (Table 2).
Conclusions Contrary to previous published evidence (1, 2), there was no statistical difference in global longitudinal strain between RA patients and controls. Coronary territories are not affected in RA patients in comparison with controls. Further studies with a larger cohort are necessary to determine the usefulness of strain in the evaluation of subclinical cardiovascular disease.
Fine et al. Evaluation of myocardial function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis using strain imaging by speckle-tracking echocardiography, Ann Rheum Dis. 2014 Oct;73(10):1833–9.
Sitia S, Tomasoni L, Cicala S, et al. Detection of preclinical impairment of myocardial function in rheumatoid arthritis patients with short disease duration by speckle tracking echocardiography. Int J Cardiol 2012;160:8–14.
Batir et al, Herz. 2015 Jun;40(4):669–74. Preclinical impairment of myocardial function in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Detection of myocardial strain by speckle tracking echocardiography.
Disclosure of Interest None declared