Cardiovascular involvement in systemic autoimmune diseases

Simona Sitia, Fabiola Atzeni, Piercarlo Sarzi-Puttini, Vitantonio Di Bello, Livio Tomasoni, Luigi Delfino, Francesco Antonini-Canterin, Giovanni Di Salvo, Vito De Gennaro Colonna, Salvatore La Carrubba, Scipione Carerj, Maurizio Turiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), primary antiphospholipid syndrome (APS), systemic sclerosis and systemic vasculitis, affect a large number of people in whom one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality is cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is associated with the development of accelerated atherosclerosis. It seems to occur at a younger age than in the general population, is often asymptomatic and, in addition to traditional risk factors, also involves specific risk factors as chronic inflammation, the duration and activity of the autoimmune disease, and immunosuppressive therapy. The early phases of cardiovascular involvement in patients with autoimmune diseases may be clinically silent, with only a microcirculation disorder present. There are various means of detecting morphological cardiac damage: coronary angiography remains the gold standard for diagnosing coronary stenosis, but new, non invasive and more reliable methods have been introduced into clinical practice in order to detect subclinical microcirculation abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-286
Number of pages6
JournalAutoimmunity Reviews
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009


  • Coronary angiography
  • Microcirculation abnormalities
  • Non-invasive diagnostic tools
  • Systemic autoimmune diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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