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Objective: To evaluate the prevalence of myocardial perfusion abnormalities and the possible association between myocardial perfusion defects and traditional coronary artery disease (CAD) risk factors as well as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) related risk factors.
Patients and methods: Female patients with SLE, disease duration >5 years, age 18–55 years, who had used steroids for at least one year were enrolled. Traditional CAD risk factors evaluated were arterial hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia, postmenopausal status, smoking, obesity, and premature family CAD profile. Myocardial perfusion scintigraphy was evaluated by single photon emission computed tomography with technetium 99m-sestamibi at rest and after dipyridamole induced stress.
Results: Eighty two female patients with SLE without angina pectoris with mean (SD) age 37 (10) years, disease duration 127 (57) months, SLE Disease Activity Index (SLEDAI) score 6 (5), and SLICC/ACR-DI score 2 (2) were evaluated. Myocardial perfusion abnormalities were found in 23 patients (28%). The mean (SD) number of CAD risk factors was 2.2 (1.6). There was a significant positive correlation between age and number of CAD risk factors. Lower high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol level showed a significant association with abnormal scintigraphy. Logistic regression analysis showed that lower HDL cholesterol level and diabetes mellitus were associated with myocardial perfusion abnormalities. Current vasculitis was also associated with abnormal scintigraphy.
Conclusions: Lower HDL cholesterol level and diabetes mellitus have a significant influence on abnormal myocardial perfusion results found in asymptomatic patients with SLE. Current vasculitis was associated with abnormal myocardial scintigraphy. These data suggest that abnormal myocardial scintigraphy may be related to subclinical atherosclerosis.