Cardiac involvement in the Churg-Strauss syndrome

Am J Cardiol. 2006 May 15;97(10):1519-24. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2005.11.088. Epub 2006 Mar 31.


Churg-Strauss syndrome (CSS) is a rare systemic disease characterized by necrotizing vasculitis and peripheral eosinophilia. Cardiac involvement is considered common and is given a high rank among the causes of morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study was an update on the cardiac manifestations of this syndrome using a noninvasive approach. Sixteen patients with CSS were compared with a gender- and age-matched group of 20 healthy subjects. All patients but 1 were receiving treatment (steroids and/or immunosuppressive drugs). According to the Birmingham vasculitis activity score, 12 patients were in an active phase, and 4 were in drug-induced remission. All subjects underwent M-B-mode echocardiography and Doppler tissue echocardiography. Heart failure, life-threatening arrhythmias, and other prominent manifestations of heart disease were not observed. No differences were found in left ventricular diameter, volume, mass, or ejection fraction. The 2 groups did not differ in right ventricular diameter and pulmonary pressure. Few and nonspecific changes were detected by 2-dimensional echocardiography, including subclinical pericardial effusion and mitral regurgitation, in fewer than half the subjects. Subjects with CSS showed an impairment of ventricular relaxation. Changes were more prominent in the right ventricle. The peak velocity (PV) of early diastolic tricuspid inflow (E) was about 8% less than in controls, and the velocity of late diastolic inflow (A) was 35% greater. The E/A(PV) ratio was, on average, 33% less. In the left ventricle, E(PV) was 11% less and A(PV) 11% greater. The E/A ratio was decreased by 22%. Doppler analysis of tissue kinetics confirmed these indications. In the right ventricle, E(PV) was decreased by 10% and A(PV) was increased by 20% in the patient group. The E/A(PV) ratio was decreased by 29%. In the left ventricle, in which different sites were sampled, the average changes were -15%, +1%, and -23%, respectively. In the left ventricle, the velocity of systolic contraction was also decreased by 12%. Because of the small group size, only some of these differences were statistically significant. In conclusion, these moderate changes, devoid of clinical correlates, contrast with early reports emphasizing cardiac morbidity and poor prognosis in this syndrome.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Churg-Strauss Syndrome / complications*
  • Churg-Strauss Syndrome / diagnostic imaging
  • Churg-Strauss Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Echocardiography, Doppler
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Diseases / etiology*
  • Heart Diseases / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Statistics, Nonparametric