Decreased global myocardial perfusion at adenosine stress as a potential new biomarker for microvascular disease in systemic sclerosis: A magnetic resonance study

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Background: Patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) have high cardiovascular mortality even though there is no or little increase in prevalence of epicardial coronary stenosis. First-pass perfusion on cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) have detected perfusion defects indicative of microvascular disease, but the quantitative extent of hypoperfusion is not known. Therefore, we aimed to determine if patients with SSc have lower global myocardial perfusion (MP) at rest or during adenosine stress, compared to healthy controls, quantified with CMR. Methods: Nineteen SSc patients (17 females, 61 ± 10 years) and 22 controls (10 females, 62 ± 11 years) underwent CMR. Twelve patients had limited cutaneous SSc and 7 patients had diffuse cutaneous SSc. One patient had pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). MP was quantified using coronary sinus flow (CSF) measurements at rest and during adenosine stress, divided by left ventricular mass (LVM). Results: There was no difference in MP at rest between patients and controls (1.1 ± 0.5 vs. 1.1 ± 0.3 ml/min/g, P = 0.85) whereas SSc patients showed statistically significantly lower MP during adenosine stress (3.1 ± 0.9 vs. 4.2 ± 1.3 ml/min/g, P = 0.008). Three out of the 19 SSc patients showed fibrosis in the right ventricle insertion points despite absence of PAH. None had signs of myocardial infarction. Conclusions: Patients with SSc have decreased MP during adenosine stress compared to healthy controls. Thus hypoperfusion at stress may be a sensitive marker of cardiac disease in SSc patients possibly signifying microvascular myocardial disease.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems


  • Cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging, Coronary sinus flow, Microvascular disease, Scleroderma, Systemic sclerosis
Original languageEnglish
Article number16
JournalBMC Cardiovascular Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 30
Publication categoryResearch