Cardiac dysfunction in mixed connective tissue disease: a nationwide observational study

Rheumatol Int. 2023 Jun;43(6):1055-1065. doi: 10.1007/s00296-023-05308-3. Epub 2023 Mar 18.


We aimed to identify cardiac function in patients with established mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD). This was a cross-sectional case-control study of well-characterised MCTD patients who had previously been included in a nationwide cohort. Assessments comprised protocol transthoracic echocardiography, electrocardiogram and blood samples. In patients only, we evaluated the findings of high-resolution pulmonary computed tomography and disease activity. We assessed 77 MCTD patients (mean age 50.5 ± 12.3 years) with a mean disease duration of 16.4 years, and 59 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (49.9 ± 11.7 years). By echocardiography, measures of left ventricular function, i.e. fractional shortening (38.1 ± 6.4% vs. 42.3 ± 6.6%, p < 0.001), mitral annulus plane systolic excursion (MAPSE) (13.7 ± 2.1 mm vs. 15.3 ± 2.3 mm, p < 0.001) and early diastolic velocity of the mitral annulus (e') (0.09 ± 0.02 m/s vs. 0.11 ± 0.03 m/s, p = 0.002) were subclinical and lower in patients than controls. Right ventricular dysfunction was found in patients assessed by tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (TAPSE) (22.7 ± 4.0 mm vs. 25.5 ± 4.0 mm, p < 0.001). While cardiac dysfunction was not associated with pulmonary disease, e' and TAPSE were found to correlate with disease activity at baseline. In this cohort of MCTD patients, echocardiographic examinations demonstrated a higher frequency of cardiac dysfunction than in matched controls. Cardiac dysfunction was associated with disease activity at baseline, but was independent of cardiovascular risk factors and pulmonary disease. Our study indicates that cardiac dysfunction is part of the multi-organ affliction seen in MCTD.

Keywords: Cardiac disease; Connective tissue diseases; Echocardiography; Mixed connective tissue disease.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Echocardiography
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mixed Connective Tissue Disease*