Hidden Heart Problems Can Be Spotted Early In Systemic Sclerosis Patients

By Anne MacLennan

Early cardiovascular dysfunction in systemic sclerosis patients who are without apparent cardiac problems can be detected, non-invasively, by 24-hour Holter monitoring and echocardiography.

An autoimmunological disease, systemic sclerosis is characterised by excess collagen and other connective tissue components in skin and internal organs. Symptoms are often unrecognized because they usually occur relatively late and are nonspecific.

To evaluate cardiac function in SSc patients using non-invasive methods, these authors compared 22 patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) and 22 healthy volunteers.

The researchers did standard EKG, 24-hour Holter monitoring (HM) and echocardiography in all subjects.

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