Myocardial thickness, left ventricular functions, and right heart overloading were investigated in 80 patients with systemic sclerosis by echocardiography. Based on the left ventricular wall thickness, three groups were formed. Fifteen patients with asymmetrical left ventricular wall hypertrophy (Group 1) showed shorter mean disease duration with marked diastolic and mild systolic left ventricular functional impairment. The 25 patients with wall thinning (Group 3) had a slight increase in left ventricular diameters, impaired systolic functions and longer disease duration. Group 2 with normal wall thickness exhibited mixed changes. Patients with increased wall thickness tended to have a shorter disease duration than patients with wall thinning. Patients with systemic sclerosis showed systolic and diastolic function impairment as compared to the 18 control healthy individuals. Pericardial disease was found in 23 cases (28.7%).
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