(HealthDay News) – Myocardial strain (S) imaging by echocardiography can be used to detect early abnormalities of cardiac function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Nowell M. Fine, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and colleagues characterized the ventricular myocardial longitudinal S pattern of 100 patients with RA with and without known cardiovascular disease (CVD). Participants were categorized according to left ventricular (LV) diastolic dysfunction (DD): none (40 patients), mild (40 patients), and moderate/severe (20 patients). Measurements were compared with a sample of 50 age- and gender-matched controls with no CVD or risk factors.

The researchers found that, compared with controls, the mean LV and right ventricular (RV) S were impaired in patients with RA. Patients with RA had the preserved strain in the base and the worst strain in the apical segments, in contrast to controls who had uniform LV S. Abnormalities in LV and RV S did not correlate with DD in RA patients and there was no significant difference in global LV and RV S in those with and without CVD. There was a significant correlation between global LV S and measures of RA disease severity in univariate analysis, including health assessment questionnaire disability index, previous use of oral steroids and methotrexate, presence of radiographic damage, and history of foot or ankle swelling.

“These findings suggest that myocardial S imaging by echocardiography may detect early myocardial dysfunction in patients with RA,” the authors conclude.

Abstract No. THU0076
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