Introduction: To evaluate cardiac involvement in myeloproliferative disorders (MPD), two-dimensional and Doppler echocardiographic studies were performed in 30 patients with MPD.
Patients and methods: There were 18 women and 12 men, with an age range from 35 to 76 years. Eighteen patients had polycythemia vera (PV), 8 had essential thrombocythemia (ET), and 4 had agnogenic myeloid metaplasia (AMM).
Results: Echocardiography revealed valvular lesions in 19 of 30 patients (63%) compared with only 1 of 22 patients (4.5%) in a control group of patients referred for echocardiography to exclude a cardiac source for idiopathic systemic thromboembolism (chi 2 = 13.39, p < 0.001, by chi 2 test with Yates' correction). Valvular lesions were found in 77% of patients with PV, 50% with ET, and 25% with AMM (p = NS). The aortic and mitral valves were the most commonly involved valves, and the most common echocardiographic lesion was leaflet thickening, which was found in 12 patients (40%), followed by vegetations, which were observed in 5 patients (16%). In their past history, 14 of 30 (47%) MPD patients had arterial or venous thrombosis or embolism. Twelve of 19 (63%) patients with valvular lesions had thromboembolism compared with only 2 of 11 (18%) patients without evidence of valvular lesions (chi 2 = 3.99, p < 0.05, by chi 2 test with Yates' correction). Pulmonary hypertension, unrelated to the severity of valvular disease and probably resulting from pulmonary venous occlusion, was found in four patients (13%).
Conclusions: We conclude that the heart is frequently involved in patients with MPD, particularly when their past history is complicated by a thromboembolic event. Some patients have clinically significant valvular disease. Pulmonary hypertension is another relatively common finding in MPD patients. Echocardiography provides information of clinical significance in MPD patients. A larger number of patients is needed to determine whether the presence of valvular lesions is of prognostic significance and may herald future thromboembolic events.