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04.03.2019 | Ausgabe 4/2019

Heart Failure Reviews 4/2019

Pathophysiology and imaging of heart failure in women with autoimmune rheumatic diseases

Heart Failure Reviews > Ausgabe 4/2019
Sophie I. Mavrogeni, George Markousis-Mavrogenis, Loukia Koutsogeorgopoulou, Theodoros Dimitroulas, Vasiliki Vartela, Angelos Rigopoulos, Michel Noutsias, Genovefa Kolovou
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Autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARDs) affect 8% of the population, and approximately 78% of them are women. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) in ARDs encompasses different pathophysiologic processes, such as endothelial dysfunction, myocardial/vascular inflammation and accelerated atherosclerosis with silent clinical presentation, leading to heart failure (HF), usually with preserved ejection fraction. Echocardiography and cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) are the two most commonly used noninvasive imaging modalities for the evaluation of HF in patients with ARDs. Echocardiography currently represents the main diagnostic tool for cardiac imaging in clinical practice. However, the demand for more efficient and prompt diagnostic and therapeutic approach in this specific population necessitates the implementation of modalities capable of providing a more detailed and quantified information from the point of tissue characterization. Furthermore, echocardiography is an operator and acoustic window depended modality, with relatively low reproducibility and unable to perform tissue characterization. CMR is a noninvasive modality without radiation that can give reproducible and operator-independent information about both myocardial function and tissue characterization. By providing quantification of oedema, stress perfusion defects and fibrosis, CMR can diagnose myocardial inflammation, micro–macro-vascular myocardial ischemia and replacement or diffuse fibrosis, respectively. Tissue characterization allows for moving beyond the cardiac function to the assessment of intra- and inter-cellular alterations and promotes the development of personalized cardiac and anti-rheumatic treatment in ARDs with HF. ARDs are mainly female diseases. Cardiac involvement leading in HF is not unusual in ARDs and remains the main cause of death. Noninvasive, nonradiating imaging modalities such as echocardiography and CMR represent the main diagnostic tools. Specifically, echocardiography represents the first diagnostic approach; however, it is CMR that gives information about the pathophysiologic background behind HF in ARDs.

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