BACKGROUND: Pulmonary involvement in systemic sclerosis (SS) is a frequent complication and is associated with a poor prognosis. Pulmonary hypertension may or may not develop, however, its recognition is usually possible only in advanced stages. METHODS: In this study we noninvasively evaluated the pulmonary artery systolic pressure in 31 patients with SS using Doppler echocardiography. Pulmonary hypertension was detected in 48.4% of the patients. RESULTS: The prevalence of pulmonary hypertension was similar in patients with limited SS and diffuse SS (42.9% and 52.9%, respectively; p = NS). No differences were observed in pulmonary artery systolic pressure between patients with limited or diffuse SS and pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension was usually mild, and only in two cases was pulmonary systolic pressure higher than 50 mmHg (63 and 107 mmHg, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: Pulmonary hypertension is frequently observed in patients with SS. The patients with diffuse or limited SS are equally affected by this complication. Doppler echocardiography has proved to be the technique of choice for the evaluation of pulmonary involvement in patients with SS because it is noninvasive, inexpensive and allows serial examinations. Early recognition of pulmonary hypertension may favor the use of therapeutical strategies to prevent the progression to advanced forms.
[Pulmonary hypertension and systemic sclerosis] / Morelli, Sergio; P., De Marzio; Valesini, Guido; M. S., Bonavita. - In: GIORNALE ITALIANO DI CARDIOLOGIA. - ISSN 0046-5968. - STAMPA. - 23:9(1993), pp. 871-876.