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author:("chulla, E")
4.  Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging in systemic sclerosis: a cross-sectional observational study of 52 patients 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2008;68(12):1878-1884.
To assess the prevalence and patterns of cardiac abnormalities as detected by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in systemic sclerosis (SSc).
Fifty-two consecutive patients with SSc underwent cardiac MRI to determine morphological, functional, perfusion at rest and delayed enhancement abnormalities.
At least one abnormality on cardiac MRI was observed in 39/52 patients (75%). Increased myocardial signal intensity in T2 was observed in 6 patients (12%), thinning of left ventricle (LV) myocardium in 15 patients (29%) and pericardial effusion in 10 patients (19%). LV and right ventricle (RV) ejection fractions were altered in 12 patients (23%) and 11 patients (21%), respectively. LV diastolic dysfunction was found in 15/43 patients (35%). LV kinetic abnormalities were found in 16/52 patients (31%) and myocardial delayed contrast enhancement was detected in 11/52 patients (21%). No perfusion defects at rest were found. Patients with limited SSc had similar MRI abnormalities to patients with diffuse SSc. Seven of 40 patients (17%) without pulmonary arterial hypertension had RV dilatation.
This study shows that MRI is a reliable and sensitive technique for diagnosing heart involvement in SSc and for analysing its mechanisms, including its inflammatory, microvascular and fibrotic components. Compared with echocardiography, MRI appears to provide additional information by visualising myocardial fibrosis and inflammation. RV dilatation appeared to be non-specific for pulmonary arterial hypertension but could also reflect myocardial involvement related to SSc. Further studies are needed to determine whether cardiac MRI abnormalities have an impact on the prognosis and treatment strategy.
PMCID: PMC2770106  PMID: 19054830
6.  Evaluation of anti-citrullinated filaggrin antibodies as hallmarks for the diagnosis of rheumatic diseases 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  2004;63(4):415-419.
Background: Anti-filaggrin antibodies (AFA) are among the most specific antibodies for rheumatoid arthritis, so procedures for their detection should be included in early biological diagnoses. AFA can be detected by indirect immunofluorescence (anti-keratin antibodies, AKA) or by new enzyme immunoassays (EIA). Their comparative performance needs to be established.
Objective: To compare these technical procedures to optimise the serological diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis.
Methods: Results obtained using AKA and EIA were compared in 271 sera from 140 patients with rheumatoid arthritis at various stages, 98 patients with other autoimmune diseases, and 33 healthy subjects. EIA were successively undertaken with citrullinated linear filaggrin peptide (home made EIA) or cyclic citrullinated peptide (CCP2, commercial kits). Rheumatoid factor (RF) was assessed by EIA in all patients.
Results: Anti-CCP2 kits showed the best sensitivity and specificity (65% and 96%, respectively). Among the 140 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, those with very recent disease (less than six months' duration, n = 21) were studied as a separate group. In this group, the sensitivity of anti-CCP2 kits decreased to ~50%. Nevertheless this assay remained the most accurate when compared with AKA or home made EIA using linear filaggrin peptides. The combination of anti-CCP2 and RF only slightly increased the sensitivity of the diagnosis of very early rheumatoid arthritis.
Conclusions: Kits using citrullinated cyclic peptides (CCP2) were more suitable than either AKA or EIA using linear filaggrin peptides for the diagnosis of early rheumatoid disease.
PMCID: PMC1754960  PMID: 15020336
9.  Factors associated with Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in Wegener's granulomatosis. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1995;54(12):991-994.
OBJECTIVE--To determine the factors associated with the occurrence of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) in Wegener's granulomatosis (WG). METHODS--We retrospectively compared a group of 12 patients with WG and PCP (PCP group), with 32 WG patients without PCP followed over the same period in the same centres (control group). RESULTS--The mean delay of onset of PCP after the start of the immunosuppressive therapy was 127 (SD 128) days. Before treatment, the clinical and biological features of the two groups were similar, except for the mean lymphocyte count which was lower in the PCP group than in the control group (1060/mm3 v 1426/mm3; p = 0.04). During treatment, both groups were lymphopenic. There was a significant difference between the lowest absolute lymphocyte count in each group (244/mm3 in the PCP group v 738/mm3 in the control group; p = 0.001). During the first three months of treatment, the lymphocyte count was less than 600/mm3 at least once in 10 of the 12 patients in the PCP group and in 11 of the 32 patients in the control group (p < 0.01). The mean cumulative dose of cyclophosphamide was greater in the PCP group than in the control group at the end of both the second (1.55 mg/kg/day v 0.99 mg/kg/day; p = 0.05) and the third (1.67 mg/kg/day v 0.97 mg/kg/day; p = 0.03) months. However, in multivariate analysis, the only two factors independently and significantly associated with the occurrence of PCP were the pretreatment lymphocyte count (p = 0.018) and the lymphocyte count three months after the start of the immunosuppressive treatment (p = 0.014). CONCLUSIONS--The severity of lymphocytopenia before and during immunosuppressive treatment is the factor best associated with PCP in WG.
PMCID: PMC1010066  PMID: 8546533
10.  Labial salivary gland biopsy assessment in rheumatoid vasculitis. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1994;53(10):648-652.
OBJECTIVES--To assess the vascular involvement in labial salivary gland (LSG) from patients with rheumatoid vasculitis (RV). METHODS--Forty seven patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) took part in a prospective study. Among them, 12 had proven RV. LSG biopsy was performed after local anaesthesia. RESULTS--Histological appearance of inflammatory vascular damage was observed in all but one patient with proven RV (92%). Inflammatory vascular involvement was also identified in LSG biopsy of seven patients with RA (20%) and only one patient in the control group (8%). A second specimen of LSG was studied after a mean treatment period of six months and failed to show any feature of inflammatory vascular involvement in three of the five cases that were analysed. CONCLUSIONS--The study emphasises the high incidence of immunopathological features of microvascular damage in patients with RV. LSG biopsy is minimally invasive and may be a potential useful tool for the diagnosis of RV especially when skin lesions are absent or impossible to biopsy. The assessment of the predictive value of positive LSG biopsy in RA requires a long term prospective study.
PMCID: PMC1005430  PMID: 7979576

Results 1-10 (10)