Objectives: To delineate the cardiac magnetic resonance (MR) appearances of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), in comparison with trans-thoracic echocardiographs (TTE).
Methods: Cardiac MR was performed on 22 patients with SLE, including 11 with previous CVD and 11 matched controls, using late gadolinium contrast enhancement (LGE) to identify areas of myocardial scarring. TTE was performed on the same day as the MR.
Results: Twenty female and two male patients participated. LGE was seen in 5/11 subjects in the CVD group and 1/11 in the control group. LGE was seen in 4/5 patients with previous myocardial infarction. One patient with previous stroke but no cardiac history had multiple areas of patchy LGE in the myocardium. One patient with antiphospholipid syndrome had LGE suggestive of a previous silent infarct. TTE detected myocardial abnormalities in 2 of the 6 patients with LGE.
Conclusion: The cardiac MR appearance of CVD in this small group of patients with SLE was suggestive of coronary disease, rather than cumulative inflammatory muscle damage. Cardiac MR detected more abnormalities than TTE. Further studies of cardiac MR in patients with SLE are warranted to investigate these preliminary findings.