Valvular heart disease associated with systemic lupus erythematosus - The tygerberg hospital experience
Background. Valvular heart disease is the most important cardiac manifestation of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). We performed a study to determine the presence of valvular heart disease in our patients with SLE. Methods. We performed clinical, electrocardiographic, transthoracic echocardiographic and laboratory evaluations in 24 patients with SLE. The echocardiographic findings were compared with those of 10 age- and sex-matched volunteers. Results. None of the 24 patients had obvious symptoms of cardiac origin. Valvular abnormalities were common. Valvular thickening was the most predominant finding (more than 50%), followed by mitral valvular regurgitation (12.5%) and pericardial effusions (12.5%). Valvular abnormalities were uncommon in the control group. Conclusion. Valvular heart disease is common in our patient population with SLE, although haemodynamically significant valvular dysfunction is rare.