Author(s): Roldan CA, DeLong C, Qualls CR, Crawford MH
Abstract Share this page
Abstract Valvular heart disease (VHD) associated with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has not been well characterized and its clinical predictors are undefined. Therefore, 34 volunteers with RA with a mean age of 50 +/- 10 years underwent clinical evaluation and transesophageal echocardiography. Findings on transesophageal echocardiography were compared with those of 34 gender-matched healthy volunteers with a mean age of 42 +/- 6 years. Twenty patients (59\%) had mainly (97\%) left-sided VHD (valve nodules in 11, 32\%; valve thickening in 18, 53\%; valve regurgitation in 7, 21\%; and valve stenosis in 1, 3\%) compared with 5 controls (15\%; [nodules in 1, 3\%; thickening in 4, 12\%; and regurgitation in 1, 3\%; p < or =0.05 for all vs patients). Valve nodules were generally single and small (4 to 12 mm); were oval with regular borders and had homogenous echocardiographic reflectance; were typically located at the leaflets' basal or mid portions; and equally affected the aortic and mitral valves. Valve thickening was equally diffuse or localized; when localized affected any leaflet portion; was usually mild (89\%); involved similarly the mitral and aortic valves (47\% and 32\%, respectively); and rarely (6\%) involved the annulus and subvalvular apparatus. Valve regurgitation manifested as mild aortic regurgitation in 4 patients, moderate mitral regurgitation in 4 patients, and moderate tricuspid regurgitation in 1 patient. Mitral and aortic valve stenoses occurred in 1 patient (3\%). No correlation was found between VHD and duration, activity, severity, pattern of onset and course, extra-articular disease, serology, or therapy of RA. In conclusion, RA-associated VHD is common, valve nodules and thickening are its distinctive features, and it is not associated with clinical variables of RA.
This article was published in Am J Cardiol
and referenced in Rheumatology: Current Research