Objectives: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disorder primarily involving the peripheral joints. Systemic involvement can occur, including myocardial dysfunction. Speckle tracking echocardiography (STE) is a novel diagnostic study which is recently being used to detect subclinical cardiac dysfunction. Global longitudinal strain (GLS) by STE is more sensitive than standard echocardiographic parameters to detect occult cardiac dysfunction. Methods: A systematic search of PUBMED, EMBASE, Cochrane, and Google Scholar databases was performed to identify studies comparing the STE parameters between RA and non-RA patients. Results: Left ventricular (LV) GLS was significantly lower in patients with RA compared to non-RA patients with a standard mean difference (SMD) of −1.09 (−1.48–−0.70, P < 0.001). LV Global Circumferential Strain (GCS) was reported in five studies, and it was found to be lower in RA patients with an SMD of −1.25 (−2.59–−0.10; P < 0.0010). Meta regression analysis studies failed to show any significant impact of disease duration, activity, age, sex and BMI on LV GLS and RV GLS. Conclusions: RA patients have lower LV GLS and LV GCS compared to controls suggesting impaired myocardial dysfunction. Further studies need to be done to delineate the importance of lower GLS in asymptomatic rheumatoid patients to guide disease management and risk factor modification in this selected population.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging