Myocardial Perfusion Abnormalities in Young and Premenopausal Women with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, Detected with 99MTC MIBI Myocardial Perfusion Scintigraphy – Prevalence and Correlation with Proatherogenic Factors

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Introduction: Atherosclerosis in young and premenopausal women with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is frequent, premature and progressive. Although asymptomatic or with atypical clinical presentation, the patients are at high risk of cardiac events. Aim of this study is to estimate the risk profile for atherogenesis and the prevalence of myocardial perfusion abnormalities with 99mTc myocardial perfusion scintigraphy (MPS) in young and premenopausal women.

Material and methods: Sixty female patients, aged 30-72 years (divided into two subgroups - patients under 45 years of age and patients over 45 years), diagnosed with SLE for over of 5 years, in active phase of the disease were analyzed for disease activity scores (SLEDAI), the immunologic status of the disease (ANA and a-DNA antibodies in the serum), procoagulant tendency (antiphospholipid antibodies-APhL and lupus-anticoagulant-LAC), the activity of the inflammatory process (hsCRP), the anti-SLE therapeutic approach and the presence of traditional risk factors for atherosclerosis (BMI, smoking, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and familial history for the CAD). Using one-day Dipyridamol – Rest 99mTc SPECT Gated MPS SPECT the extent, severity and reversibility of myocardial perfusion abnormalities were estimated, along with summed scores at stress, rest and summed difference scores and left ventricle volumes and ejection fraction.

Results: Abnormal MPS SPECT were detected in 27/60 or in 45% of patients, with one vessel affection of 66.7% (18/27pts) of LAD and 14.8% (4/27pts) o RCA and with two vessel disease of LAD/RCA in 2/27 pts (7.4%) and LAD/Cx in 3/27pts (11.1%). Myocardial perfusion abnormalities were equally prevalent in subgroups of patients younger than 45 years (44,4%) and in patients older than 45 years (45.5%) (ns). The subgroups did not differ significantly concerning the extent of perfusion abnormalities (9,8±3.2% of LV myocardial mass vs. 9,8±7.1%,ns), their severity (with predominance of mild perfusion defects, 48,6% vs. 51,3%,ns) and reversibility (reversible in 41.3% and 58.6%, ns). The differences between the summed scores of severity and the extent of ischemia in the two subgroups were statistically nonsignificant. Younger patients had significantly higher end-diastolic, end-systolic and stroke volumes during stress and rest conditions, compared to older patients (p<0,01) although there were no differences in systolic function, which was not affected in either of the groups as expressed threw ejection fraction.

Although nonsignificant, younger patients had higher values of hsCRP and higher procoagulant activity (positive aPhL, LAC) while they were with more active disease activity, with higher SLEDAI score compared to older patients (p=0.028). Higher SLEDAI score and LV volumes, especially EDV at stress were identified as predictor of abnormal MPS in younger groups and more aggressive multidrug anti SLE treatment as predictor of normal MPS.

Conclusion: The prevalence and characteristics of myocardial perfusion abnormalities in young SLE are equal as the same in older SLE patients, which indicates the presence of premature, accelerated atherosclerosis in young cohort of patients with SLE. Younger SLE patients with pure disease control (higher SLEDAI score, less aggressive treatment, high hsCRP values and pronounced procoagulant tendency) should undergo screening for myocardial perfusion abnormalities s using 99mTc MIBI MPS)

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