Objective. Pulmonary hypertension is a severe and rapidly progressive disease, particularly frequent in patients with rheumatic diseases. The aims of this study were the following: to determine the prevalence of pulmonary hypertension in Italian patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases, and to evaluate if the presence of a rheumatic disease in general, or of a specific autoimmune rheumatic disease, is a risk factor for the development of pulmonary hypertension. Patients and Methods. One hundred and thirteen Italian patients with connective tissue diseases (105 females, 8 males), aged 19 to 83 yrs, entered the study. Fifty-one had systemic sclerosis (SSc): 49 were females, 2 males, aged 34 to 83 yrs; 41 had limited cutaneous SSc, 8 diffuse cutaneous SSc, and 2 SSc sine scleroderma. Thirty-three patients had systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE): all but one were females, their age ranged from 19 to 82 yrs. Twenty-five had rheumatoid arthritis (RA): 21 females, 4 males, aged 26 to 45 yrs. Three females and one male, 51-77 yrs, had mixed con-nective tissue disease (MCTD). Systolic pulmonary arterial pressure (SPAP) was assessed by Doppler echocardiography. Results. Twenty three patients had pulmonary hypertension, which was more frequent in MCTD than in SLE (75% vs 6.1%, p=0.0002) or in AR (20%, p=0.0313). Pulmonary hypertension was more frequent in SSc than in SLE (25.5% vs 6.1%, p=0.0028) and in limited than in diffuse SSc(21.6% vs 3.9%). SPAP was significanly related to age (R=0.35, P=0.0275), with patients with pulmonary hypertension older than patients with normal SPAP (66±13 vs 52±16 yrs, p=0.0003). Conclusions. These data show a significant association between pulmonary hypertension and autoimmune rheumatic diseases. Therefore pulmonary hypertension assessment seems mandatory, at least in MCTD and SSc. However, more studies are needed to clarify the relationship between age and pulmonary hypertension and to verify whether the low prevalence of pulmonary hypertension we found in our SLE patients is related or not to their lower age.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 2005|
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