Unique Abnormalities in Right Ventricular Longitudinal Strain in Systemic Sclerosis Patients

Monica Mukherjee, Shang En Chung, Von Khue Ton, Ryan J. Tedford, Laura K. Hummers, Fredrick M. Wigley, Theodore P. Abraham, Ami A. Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Background - Cardiac involvement in systemic sclerosis (scleroderma [SSc]) adversely affects long-term prognosis, often remaining undetectable despite close clinical examination and 2-dimensional echocardiographic monitoring. Speckle-derived strain of the right ventricle (RV) was utilized to detect occult abnormalities in regional and global contractility in SSc patients. Methods and Results - A total of 138 SSc patients with technically adequate echocardiograms was studied and compared with 40 age- and sex-matched healthy non-SSc controls. Standard assessment of RV chamber function included tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion and fractional area change. RV longitudinal systolic speckle-derived strain was assessed in the basal, mid, and apical free wall. Tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion was not different between groups (P=0.307). Although fractional area change was lower in SSc patients than in controls (mean, 48.9 versus 55; P=0.002), the mean fractional area change was still within the normal range (>35). In contrast, RV longitudinal systolic speckle-derived strain measures were significantly different between groups, both globally (-20.4% versus -17.7%; P=0.005) and regionally: they were decreased in the apex (-8.5% versus -17.1%; P<0.0001) and mid segments (-12.4% versus -20.9%; P<0.0001), and increased in the base (-32.2% versus -23.3%; P=0.0001) for the SSc group. The regional difference in the base compared with the apex was significantly greater for SSc than for controls (P<0.0001 for interaction). The differences observed in regional strain between SSc and control were unchanged after adjusting for RV systolic pressure. Conclusions - Speckle-derived strain reveals a heterogenous pattern of regional heart strain in SSc that is not detected by conventional measures of function, suggestive of occult RV myocardial disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere003792
JournalCirculation: Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • cardiomyopathies
  • heart ventricles
  • hypertension, pulmonary
  • scleroderma, systemic
  • ventricular function, right

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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