Dramatic improvement of left ventricular function after cytotoxic therapy in lupus patients with acute cardiomyopathy: report of 6 cases.

The Journal of rheumatology

PubMedID: 10529151

Naarendorp M, Kerr LD, Khan AS, Ornstein MH. Dramatic improvement of left ventricular function after cytotoxic therapy in lupus patients with acute cardiomyopathy: report of 6 cases. J Rheumatol. 1999;26(10):2257-60.
Although lupus cardiomyopathy is thought to be clinically uncommon, we encountered 6 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) over a 10 year period who had severe left ventricular dysfunction and showed remarkable improvement in their cardiac function after cytotoxic therapy. All patients met the American College of Rheumatology criteria for classification of SLE and presented with signs of severe biventricular failure relatively early in their disease. Concurrent manifestations of SLE at the time of cardiomyopathy included rash, arthritis, myalgias, pleuritis, pericarditis, and nephritis. Four of the 6 patients were taking prednisone 20 mg/day at the time heart failure developed. In all cases the CPK were normal. Evaluation of cardiac function by echocardiogram and/or radionuclide gated blood pool scintigraphy revealed a severe depression of ventricular function with initial left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ranging from 11 to 34% (mean 19%). Within 6 months of initiation of cytotoxic treatment all patients showed a dramatic response: the post-treatment LVEF ranged from 25 to 55%. This series of patients suggests that cardiomyopathy may be a more common complication of SLE than previously reported. Cardiomyopathy occurs relatively early in the course of SLE, may lead to severe cardiac dysfunction despite corticosteroid therapy, and appears to be responsive to cytotoxic therapy.