Systemic Lupus Erythematosus Predicts Increased Left Ventricular Mass
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Background— Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is associated with premature atherosclerosis and vascular stiffening. Whether SLE alters left ventricular (LV) structure and function in the absence of valvular and clinical coronary artery disease is unknown.
Methods and Results— SLE patients without clinical or echocardiographic evidence of valvular or coronary disease were age and gender matched to a reference group (n=173 in both groups). Subjects underwent echocardiography to quantify LV structure and function and carotid ultrasonography to detect atherosclerosis. Disease characteristics and radial applanation tonometry to measure arterial stiffness were evaluated in SLE patients. The 2 groups were similar in subjects’ body size, hypertension and diabetes status, smoking status, and cholesterol levels. LV mass (38.3 versus 32.8 g/m2.7), ejection fraction (71% versus 67%), and prevalence of LV hypertrophy (17.9% versus 6.4%) were higher in SLE patients than in referent subjects (all P<0.001). The combination of SLE and hypertension further increased LV mass. In multivariable analysis, LV mass was associated with SLE (P<0.001) in addition to body mass index, diabetes mellitus, and hypertension. Among SLE patients, LV mass was associated with arterial stiffness (P<0.001). Carotid atherosclerosis, SLE duration, damage index, serum creatinine, and homocysteine were significantly related to LV mass in univariate but not multivariable analyses.
Conclusions— SLE predicts increased LV mass, possibly because of inflammation-related arterial stiffening. Excess LV hypertrophy may contribute to the increased cardiac morbidity and mortality observed in SLE patients.
Received October 31, 2006; accepted June 1, 2007.