Doppler echocardiographic evaluation of ventricular function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Clin Rheumatol. 2003 May;22(2):84-8. doi: 10.1007/s10067-002-0677-y.


Cardiac involvement in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been reported previously. However, evaluation of ventricular function in this disease by the use of recently proposed Doppler echocardiographic methods has not been reported before. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate ventricular function by measurement of myocardial performance index (MPI) and transmitral flow propagation velocity (TFPV). Thirty-two patients with long-standing RA and 32 control subjects (mean ages 52 +/- 11 and 50 +/- 10 years, respectively) participated in this study. Systolic function was assessed by subjective evaluation of wall motion for both ventricles and by fractional shortening for the left ventricle (LV). LV diastolic function was evaluated by standard pulsed-wave Doppler echocardiography, MPI and TFPV. Right ventricular (RV) function was evaluated by MPI. No subject had signs or symptoms of clinically overt heart failure. Systolic function was normal in all subjects. Among the echocardiographic indices of LV diastolic function the peak E velocity, E velocity/A velocity ratio, isovolumetric relaxation time, MPI and TFPV in the RA group were significantly different from those of the controls ( P < 0.05). However, we did not observe a significant difference in RV echocardiographic indices between the two groups. Our results show that there is LV diastolic dysfunction in patients with long-standing RA. The lack of a history of cardiotoxic antirheumatic drug use among our patients suggests that this abnormality is due to RA itself.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / complications*
  • Echocardiography, Doppler / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / etiology*
  • Ventricular Function / physiology*