CMR feature tracking in cardiac asymptomatic systemic sclerosis: Clinical implications

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Impaired myocardial deformation has been sporadically described in cardiac asymptomatic systemic sclerosis (SSc). We aimed to study myocardial deformation indices in cardiac asymptomatic SSc patients using cardiac magnetic resonance feature tracking (CMR-FT) and correlate these findings to the phenotypic and autoimmune background.

METHODS: Fifty-four cardiac asymptomatic SSc patients (44 females, 56±13 years), with normal routine cardiac assessment and CMR evaluation, including cine and late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) images, were included. SSc patients were compared to 21 sex- and age- matched healthy controls (17 females; 54±19 years). For CMR-FT analysis, a mid-ventricular slice for LV peak systolic radial and circumferential strain and a 4-chamber view for LV/RV peak systolic longitudinal strain were used.

RESULTS: Twenty-four patients had diffuse cutaneous SSc and 30 limited cutaneous SSc. Thirteen patients had digital ulcers. Median disease duration was 3.6 years. LV ejection fraction was higher in SSc patients compared to controls (62±6% vs. 59±5%, p = 0.01). Four patients had no LGE examination; in the remaining patients LGE was absent in 74%, while 18% had RV insertion fibrosis and 8% evidence of subendocardial infarction. LV longitudinal strain differed in those with insertion fibrosis (-18.0%) and infarction (-16.7%) compared to no fibrosis (-20.3%, p = 0.04). Patients with SSc had lower RV longitudinal strain and strain rate compared to controls (p<0.001 and p = 0.01, respectively). All other strain and strain rate measurements were non-significant between patients and controls.

CONCLUSIONS: In cardiac asymptomatic SSc patients with normal routine functional indices, CMR-FT identifies subclinical presence of insertion fibrosis and/or myocardial infarction by impaired LV longitudinal strain. RV derived longitudinal indices were impaired in the patient group. CMR FT indices did not correlate to the patients' phenotypic and autoimmune features.


External organisations
  • Naval Hospital
  • Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Athens
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • University of Manchester
  • Laikon General Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Rheumatology and Autoimmunity
  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0221021
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Aug 21
Publication categoryResearch