Mediterr J Rheumatol 2021;32(1):15-20
Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Reveals Cardiac Pathophysiology in Autoimmune Rheumatic Diseases
Authors Information
1. Onassis Cardiac Surgery Center, Athens, Greece

2. Joint Rheumatology, Laikon Hospital, Athens, Greece

3. Department of Pathophysiology, Laikon Hospital, National Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece

Department of Internal Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece

5. Naval Hospital, Athens, Greece

6. Agia Sophia Children’s Hospital, Athens, Greece

7. Rheumatology Department, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece 

8. Arthritis Research UK Epidemiology Unit, Manchester University, Manchester, United Kingdom

George Markousis-Mavrogenis, Theodoros Dimitroulas, Gikas Katsifis, Paraskevi Voulgari, Genovefa Kolovou, George D. Kitas, Sophie I. Mavrogeni

Background/Aims: The high incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases (ARDs) is the main driver towards increased mortality in this patient group. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) can non-invasively and robustly detect CVD in ARD patients at an early stage of development. The review summarises the diagnostic information provided by CMR in ARD patients. Summary:CMR uses a strong magnetic field combined with radio-frequency pulses (pulse sequences) to generate images. Firstly, balanced steady-state free precession(bSSFP) can be used for evaluating cardiac anatomy, mass, wall motion, atrial/ventricular function. Secondly, T2-weighted imaging (T2-W) can be used for oedema detection, which appears as a high signal intensity area on STIR (short tau inversion recovery) images. T2 mapping is a newer T2-W technique that can provide more optimal identification of myocardial oedema. Lastly, late gadolinium enhanced (LGE) T1-W images, taken 15 min. after injection of contrast agent, allow the detection of myocardial replacement fibrosis, which appears as a bright area in a background of black myocardium. However, LGE has inherent disadvantages for the assessment of diffuse myocardial fibrosis. Therefore, T1 mapping and extracellular volume fraction (ECV) have been developed to quantify diffuse myocardial fibrosis. Results: Although multicentre studies are still missing, the CMR parameters have been extensively applied for the identification of oedema/fibrosis and treatment decision making in ARDs. Conclusions: Tissue characterisation with CMR allows early and robust identification of CVD in ARD patients and contributes to personalized management in the patients.

Article Submitted: 6 Oct 2020; Revised Form: 26 Nov 2020; Article Accepted: 15 Jan 2020; Available Online: 31 Mar 2021


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY). 

©Markousis-Mavrogenis G, Sfikakis PP, Koutsogeorgopoulou L, Dimitroulas T, Katsifis G, Giannakopoulou A, Voulgari P, Kolovou G, Kitas GD, Mavrogeni SI.