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A case of lupus erythematosus preceded by right heart failure due to pulmonary hypertension

A case of lupus erythematosus preceded by right heart failure due to pulmonary hypertension

Kokyu to Junkan. Respiration & Circulation 39(10): 1037-1041

A 40-year-old woman was admitted because of increasing exertional dyspnea. Right heart failure was suggested by the presence of hepatomegaly, pretibial endema and also echocardiographic findings. Physical examination and echocardiography showed no evidence of valvular disease or congenital heart disease except for right ventricular dilatation and tricuspid regurgitation. The ventricular septum deviated toward the left ventricle throughout the cardiac cycle, but left ventricular function was preserved. Severe pulmonary hypertension averaging 44mmHg was revealed by cardiac catheterization. Digital subtraction angiography and pulmonary blood flow scintigraphy showed no evidence of pulmonary artery embolism, and no interstitial pulmonary lesions that might have caused pulmonary hypertension were recognized. Hypergammaglobulinemia suggested an autoimmune disorder, and signs of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), such as pleural effusion, proteinuria, lymphocytopenia, LE cell phenomenon and antinuclear antibodies were present. Several autoimmune diseases are known to be causative factors of pulmonary hypertension. However, only ten cases of SLE complicated by pulmonary hypertension have been reported the present one. These cases were characterized by a high incidence of Raynaud's phenomenon and positivity for anti-RNP antibody. In our present case, SLE activity was suppressed using prednisolone, but pulmonary hypertension persisted and the patient eventually died due to right cardiac failure. Judging from the clinical course of the ten reported cases of SLE-pulmonary hypertension, there seems to be no hope of improving the pulmonary hypertension once it has become established. Therefore it is important to detect and cure pulmonary hypertension as early as possible.

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Accession: 006932756

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PMID: 1745869

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