Takayasu's arteritis (TA) is primary vasculitis. Cardiac involvements in TA is due to the consequences of the vascular lesions as well as the primary pathology of the heart. The disease activity of TA is known to influence the prognosis of TA. We hypothesized that the cardiovascular involvement of TA is related to the disease activity. We evaluated the cardiovascular manifestations of TA, and we assessed their relation to the disease activity of TA. Two hundred four patients were diagnosed with TA from September, 1994 to March, 2009 according to the diagnostic criteria of the 1990 American College of Rheumatology. Their clinical features and the laboratory, angiographic and echocardiographic findings were retrospectively reviewed. The group with active disease activity was defined as satisfying one of the following criteria: i) an elevated ESR or CRP level, ii) thickened arterial wall with mural enhancement on CT or MR angiography, and iii) carotidynia at the time of the initial diagnosis. One hundred thirty nine patients (69.2%) were classified as the active group. The cardiovascular signs and symptoms were not generally different between the active and inactive groups. The active TA patients had more frequent involvement of the ascending aorta and the aortic arch and its main branches than did the inactive group. The active group showed a higher incidence of significant aortic valve regurgitation and pulmonary hypertension, and a higher level of NT-proBNP. These findings suggest that disease activity plays an important role for the cardiovascular manifestations of TA. The TA patients with higher activity have more cardiovascular morbidity compared to the TA patients with low disease activity.
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