Determinants of left ventricular structure, filling and long axis function in systemic sclerosis

Roger E. Peverill, Gene-Siew Ngian, Catherine Mylrea, Joanne Sahhar

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Background Abnormalities of left ventricular (LV) structure, filling and long-axis function have all been reported in subjects with systemic sclerosis (SSc) and a normal LV ejection fraction (EF), but previous study findings have not been consistent. The aim of this study was to identify factors which could have confounded the analyses in previous studies of SSc, and in particular to consider the variables of body surface area (BSA), sex, age, heart rate, blood pressure (BP), disease duration (DD), disease type (limited versus diffuse) and interstitial lung disease (ILD). Methods Echocardiography was performed on 100 subjects with SSc (79 women; age 56±15 years) with a LVEF ≥50% and free of pulmonary arterial hypertension, coronary artery disease, more than mild valvular heart disease and atrial fibrillation. Measurements were performed of the LV end-diastolic dimension (LVEDD) and septal wall thickness (SWT), the transmitral Doppler E, A and deceleration time (DT), and the peak systolic (s’) and early diastolic (e’) LV long-axis velocities. Multivariate analyses were performed to investigate correlations of the above LV variables with BSA, sex, age, heart rate, BP, DD, disease type, and the presence of ILD. Results DD varied between 0.1 and 41.2 years, 25% had diffuse and 75% had limited disease, and 37% had ILD. SWT and LVEDD were positively correlated with BSA, SWT was also positively correlated with age and larger in males, and LVEDD was larger in diffuse disease. Age was positively correlated with A and DT, and inversely correlated with E and E/A, and heart rate was inversely correlated with E and E/A. None of E, A, E/A, or DT were independently associated with DD or disease type. Septal and lateral LV wall s’ and e’ were all inversely correlated with age, and there was a small independent contribution to the prediction of lateral s’ from DD, but no association of either s’ or e’ with disease type. The presence of ILD was not a predictor of any of the LV variables. Conclusion In SSc there are associations of sex, body size, age and disease type with LV structural variables, of age and heart rate with E/A, and of age with both systolic and early diastolic LV long-axis velocities. Appropriate adjustment for these variables could help to resolve current uncertainties regarding SSc effects on the left ventricle.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0258593
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

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