Assessment of aortic stiffness among patients with systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis by magnetic resonance imaging

  • Galia Karp
  • Arik Wolak
  • Yael Baumfeld
  • Nina Bar-Am
  • Victor Novack
  • Talya Wolak
  • Lior Fuchs
  • Aryeh Shalev
  • Ilan Shelef
  • Mahmoud Abu-Shakra
Original Paper


To evaluate aortic stiffness by MRI in female patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in comparison to controls. We measured aortic strain, distensibility and pulse wave velocity (PWV) by MRI in 30 SLE patients, 31 RA patients and 53 matched controls. Mean PWV in SLE and RA patients were higher in comparison to controls (9.2 ± 4.4 vs. 7.6 ± 3.0 m/s, p = 0.04) and (6.2 ± 2.3 vs. 5.4 ± 1.7, p = 0.04) respectively. Aortic distensibility among RA patients was significantly lower in comparison to controls (4.4 ± 4.6 vs. 5.8 ± 4.9 kPa−1 × 10−3, p = 0.04). A significant correlation was found between PWV and age (r = 0.67, p < 0.001), Framingham risk score (r = 0.61, p < 0.001), waist to hip ratio (r = 0.45, p < 0.001), systolic blood pressure (r = 0.37, p = 0.01), diabetes (r = 0.32, p = 0.001) and dyslipidemia (r = 0.32, p = 0.001). In multivariate analysis for the prediction of PWV, variables which were found significant included: RA (p = 0.01), age (p < 0.001) and hypertension (p = 0.01) for patients with RA and SLE (p = 0.02), waist to hip ratio (p < 0.001) and total cholesterol (p < 0.001) for patients with SLE. Arterial stiffness, characterized by metrics of aortic distensibility and pulse wave velocity derived from MRI, is increased in SLE and RA female patients.


Systemic lupus erythematosus Rheumatoid arthritis Aortic distensibility Pulse wave velocity Magnetic resonance imaging 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest


Ethical standard

All authors state that all procedures performed in the study were in accordance with ethical standards of the Soroka Medical Center and Ben-Gurion University Research Committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participant included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Galia Karp
    • 1
  • Arik Wolak
    • 2
  • Yael Baumfeld
    • 3
  • Nina Bar-Am
    • 4
  • Victor Novack
    • 3
  • Talya Wolak
    • 1
  • Lior Fuchs
    • 1
  • Aryeh Shalev
    • 2
  • Ilan Shelef
    • 4
  • Mahmoud Abu-Shakra
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Medicine, Soroka University Medical CenterBen Gurion UniversityBeer-ShevaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Cardiology, Cardiac Imaging Unit, Soroka University Medical CenterBen Gurion UniversityBeer-ShevaIsrael
  3. 3.Clinical Research Center, Soroka University Medical CenterBen Gurion UniversityBeer-ShevaIsrael
  4. 4.Radiology Division, Soroka University Medical CenterBen Gurion UniversityBeer-ShevaIsrael
  5. 5.Rheumatic Disease Unit, Soroka Medical CenterBen Gurion UniversityBeer-ShevaIsrael

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