Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with increased mortality and morbidity because of accelerated atherosclerosis. The study assessed the prevalence of left and right ventricle diastolic and systolic dysfunction in outpatients with RA.
Methods: The study included 93 outpatients with RA. In all patients and control group, echocardiographic conventional and tissue Doppler (TDI) studies were conducted.
Results: In the group of RA patients, we found high prevalence of left ventricular systolic and diastolic dysfunction and right diastolic dysfunction compared with controls (13.5% vs 5.5 %, 76.3% vs 48.8% and 41.9% vs 6.6%, respectively; P < 0.001).
Rheumatoid arthritis patients and controls showed significant differences about mitral, tricuspid, and pulmonary flow velocity curves; tissue Doppler curves of the lateral and the septal myocardial walls of the left ventricle; and basal myocardial free wall of the right ventricle. There were not any correlations between inflammatory and functional disease parameters and variables of systolic and diastolic function.
Conclusions: Our study shows a high prevalence of left ventricular systolic and diastolic dysfunction in a population of outpatients affected by rheumatoid arthritis.