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Volume 27, Issue 3, September 2016

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Mediterr J Rheumatol 2016; 27(3): 23-25
Assessment of cardiovascular involvement in Connective Tissue Disease: Let’s open Pandora’s box
Authors Information
Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Athens, Greece
Abstract

Connective Tissue Disease (CTD) is characterized by autoimmune activation and systemic inflammatory response, affecting several internal organs. Cardiac involvement represents one of the most severe complications associated with higher rates of death and reduced life expectancy in this population. Cardiovascular abnormalities occurring in CTD encompass different aspects of cardiac disease, such as pericarditis, myocarditis, coronary artery disease, heart failure due to systolic and diastolic dysfunction and valvular disease. Considering the increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in CTD, early assessment and diagnosis of cardiovascular involvement is of utmost importance. However, CVD in CTD has often an atypical clinical presentation, and traditional diagnostic approaches such as transthoracic echocardiography have low sensitivity in the early stages. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging can identify subtle morphological changes of the myocardium and contribute to earlier diagnosis of CVD in patients with CTD.