Ankylosing spondylitis and heart abnormalities: do cardiac conduction disorders, valve regurgitation and diastolic dysfunction occur more often in male patients with diagnosed ankylosing spondylitis for over 15 years than in the normal population?
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The objective of this study was to determine the rate of selected cardiac pathologies (conduction disorders, valve regurgitation and diastolic dysfunction) in patients with long-standing ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and compare the results with the prevalence in the normal population. A rheumatologic (structured questionnaire interview) and cardiac evaluation (resting electrocardiography and echocardiography) was performed in 100 male subjects with AS and a disease duration of more than 15 years. The rates for conduction disorders, aortic and mitral valve regurgitation and diastolic dysfunction were compared with the corresponding results in the literature among the normal population. In patients with long-standing AS there was no increased rate for valve regurgitation (mitral and aortic valve) and for arrhythmia. Diastolic dysfunction occurred more often in patients with long-standing AS. However, this might be caused by the presence of other cardiovascular risk factors such as age and hypertension. According to these results, a cardiologic evaluation with echocardiography should not be recommended routinely in patients with long-standing AS. To confirm these results, a large prospective study with patients with long-standing AS and with a matched control group should be performed in the future.