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Rheumatology International

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 85–95 | Cite as

A critical view on cardiovascular risk in systemic sclerosis

  • Antonios Psarras
  • Stergios Soulaidopoulos
  • Alexandros Garyfallos
  • George Kitas
  • Theodoros DimitroulasEmail author
Pathology Review

Abstract

Systemic Sclerosis (SSc) is an autoimmune disorder characterized by microvascular injury and diffuse fibrosis of the skin and internal organs. While macrovascular disease and higher risk for cardiovascular events are well documented in other systemic rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, the presence and extent of atherosclerosis among patients with SSc is yet to be established. Primary cardiac involvement, due to impairment of coronary microvascular circulation and myocardial fibrosis, considerably affects prognosis and life expectancy of individuals with SSc, representing one of the leading causes of death in this population. On the other hand the existence and prevalence of atherosclerotic coronary disease remains an issue of debate as studies comparing structural and morphological markers of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular events between SSc patients and the general population have yielded controversial results. The aim of this review is to summarize recent literature about the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in SSc, review the surrogate markers of CVD that have been evaluated and examine whether common pathogenic mechanisms exist between SSc and macrovascular disease.

Keywords

Systemic sclerosis CVD Atherosclerosis 

Notes

Authors contributions

Review concept and design: Antonios Psarras, Theodoros Dimitroulas. Drafting of the manuscript: Antonios Psarras, Stergios Soulaidopoulos. Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: George Kitas, Alexandros Garyfallos, Theodoros Dimitroulas.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leeds Institute of Rheumatic and Musculoskeletal MedicineUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.Fourth Department of Internal Medicine, Hippokration University Hospital, Medical SchoolAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece
  3. 3.Arthritis Research UK Epidemiology UnitUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK

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