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עמוד בית
Sun, 25.09.22

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October 2021
Udi Nussinovitch MD PhD, Omer Gendelman MD, Shiri Rubin MD, Yair Levy MD, Vicktoria Vishnevskia-Dai MD, Avi Livneh MD, and Merav Lidar MD

Background: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a connective tissue disease that may affect the heart and the autonomic nervous system (ANS). There is little knowledge regarding the degree of ANS involvement in SSc patients with unknown cardiac disease.

Objectives: To evaluate cardiac and pupillary autonomic functions in patients before cardiac involvement has emerged.

Methods: The study comprised 19 patients with SSc and 29 healthy controls. Heart rate variability (HRV) analysis for time and frequency domains, as well as deep breathing test and Ewing maneuvers, were performed in all patients. Automated pupillometry for the evaluation of pupillary diameter and pupillary light reflex was completed in 8 SSc patients and 21 controls.

Results: Both groups had similar characteristics, except for medications that were more commonly or solely prescribed for SSc patients. Compared with control subjects, the SSc patients had significantly lower HRV parameters of NN50 (15.8 ± 24.4 vs. 33.9 ± 33.1, P = 0.03), pNN50 (4.9 ± 7.4% vs.10.8 ± 10.8%, P = 0.03), and triangular index (11.7 ± 3.4 vs. 15.7 ± 5.8, P = 0.02). Abnormal adaptive responses in heart rate changes were recorded during deep breathing tests and Ewing maneuvers. There was no significant difference in any of the pupillometric indices or other HRV parameters within groups.

Conclusions: SSc patients may manifest cardiac autonomic dysfunction, while their autonomic pupillary function is seemingly spared. The role of certain medications, the significance of differential organ involvement, as well as the prognostic value of our findings should be evaluated in future studies

June 2021
Naim Mahroum MD, Magdi Zoubi MD, Abdulla Watad MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Josef Haik MD MPH, and Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR

Surgical interventions in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), in particular plastic procedures, might cause undesired consequences. Notably, liposuction seems to possess greater risk as adipose tissue has been shown to play an important role in treating wounds and ulcers in patients with SSc. While anticentromere antibodies were found to be correlated with vasculopathy in SSc, patients with SSc and anticentromere antibodies might be more vulnerable to surgical wound complications following liposuction. A 46-year-old female patient, who had been diagnosed with SSc at the age of 31 years, had antinuclear as well as anticentromere antibodies. She underwent abdominoplasty with liposuction and developed severe skin necrosis of the abdomen following the procedure and at the site of liposuction. The correlation with anticentromere and the role of liposuction in skin necrosis in SSc are presented.

April 2021
Fabiola Atzeni MD PhD, Francesca Marino MD, Mariateresa Cirillo MD, Elisabetta Gerratana MD, Fausto Salaffi MD PhD, and Alessandra Alciati MD
November 2020
Katya Dolnikov MD, Gai Milo MD, Suheir Assady MD, Robert Dragu MD, Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD, and Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD
February 2020
Doron Rimar MD, Yonatan Butbul Aviel MD, Aharon Gefen MD, Neta Nevo MD, Shai S. Shen-Orr PhD, Elina Starosvetsky PhD, Itzhak Rosner MD, Michael Rozenbaum MD, Lisa Kaly MD, Nina Boulman MD, Gleb Slobodin MD and Tsila Zuckerman MD

Background: Autologous hematological stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is a novel therapy for systemic sclerosis (SSc) that has been validated in three randomized controlled trials.

Objectives: To report the first Israeli experience with HSCT for progressive SSc and review the current literature.

Methods: Five SSc patients who were evaluated in our department and were treated by HSCT were included. Medical records were evaluated retrospectively. Demographic, clinical, and laboratory data were recorded. Continuous data are presented as the mean ± standard deviation. Categorical variables are presented as frequencies and percentages.

Results: Five SSc patients were treated with HSCT. Four patients were adults (mean age 53 ± 12 years) and one was a 12-year-old pediatric patient. All patients were female. HSCT was initiated 1.4 ± 0.8 years after diagnosis. Two patients were RNA POLIII positive, two were anti-topoisomerase 1 positive, and one only antinuclear antibodies positive. All patients had skin and lung involvement. The mean modified Rodnan Skin Score was 29 ± 4.7 before HSCT, which improved to 10.4 ± 9.6 after HSCT. The forced vital capacity improved from 68 ± 13% to 90 ± 28%. Diffusing capacity of the lungs for carbon monoxide increased by 6%. Among severe adverse events were cyclophosphamide-related congestive heart failure, antithymocyte globulin-related capillary leak syndrome, and scleroderma renal crisis. All symptoms completely resolved with treatment without sequela. No treatment related mortality was recorded.

Conclusions: HSCT is an important step in the treatment of progressive SSc in Israel. Careful patient selection reduces treatment related morbidity and mortality.

July 2019
Paola Di Benedetto PhD, Piero Ruscitti MD, Vasiliki Liakouli MD PhD, Paola Cipriani MD PhD and Roberto Giacomelli MD PhD

Microvascular damage, clinically expressed by Raynaud’s phenomenon, is generally the first symptom of the disease and the injured vascular cells, both endothelial and perivascular, may transdifferentiate to myofibroblasts, thus leading to collagen deposition in the tissue and consequent fibrosis. Systemic sclerosis (SSc, scleroderma) is complex disease characterized by autoimmunity, vasculopathy, and fibrosis. It has been shown that microvascular damage may be the first symptom of SSc. Injured endothelial cells and pericytes may transdifferentiate into myofibroblasts, the cells responsible for fibrosis and collagen deposition in the tissue. Based on these factors, the process of myofibroblast generation may link two pivotal events of SSc: microvascular damage and fibrosis. Understanding the development, differentiation, and function of myofibroblasts is therefore crucial to individuate early pathogenetic events and develop new therapeutic target for SSc, a condition in which no disease-modifying agents are available. The aim of this review was to discuss the possible origins of myofibroblasts in SSc, highlighting the process of endothelial mesenchymal transition and pericytes to myofibroblast transition and to show how these events may contribute to pathogenesis of the disease.

Daniela Rossi MD, Savino Sciascia MD PhD and Dario Roccatello MD
Doron Rimar MD, Ori Rimar MD, Itzhak Rosner MD, Michael Rozenbaum MD, Lisa Kaly MD, Nina Boulman MD and Gleb Slobodin MD
March 2019
Ana Rita Nogueira MD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR and Howard Amital MD MHA
January 2019
Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD, Vika Shataylo BSc and Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD

Background: The aggregation of autoimmune diseases in relatives (AID-R) of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) has been reported.

Objectives: To analyze the prevalence of autoimmune diseases in SSc relatives and to compare their features to those of SSc patients without AID-R (controls).

Methods: A case-control analysis compared SSc patients with AID-R to those without AID-R (25 patients) with similar disease duration.

Results: Among 322 patients, 25 (7.7%; 21 females, 41.4 ± 15.6 years of age, disease duration 11 ± 8.6 years) had AID-R (21 had a first-degree relative, 4 had a second-degree relative, and 2 had both). Fourteen patients (56%) and five controls (20%) had an additional autoimmune disease (P < 0.009). Diffuse SSc (48% vs. 24%) and arthritis (72% vs. 28%) were more frequent among the patients with AID-R than the controls (P < 0.05). No significant differences were found regarding lung, heart, vascular, and digestive system involvement. The mean number of additional autoimmune diseases was 0.84 ± 0.94 in AID-R vs. 0.24 ± 0.52 in controls (P < 0.038). The mean number of autoantibodies was 2.8 ± 1.5 and 2.2 ± 0.9 (P < 0.047). Five patients died during follow-up, four of whom had AID-R. Relatives of SSc patients had diverse autoimmune diseases; the prevalence of SSc in scleroderma relatives was 1.86% (2 in first-degree and 6 in second-degree relatives). SSc patients with AID-R had an obvious tendency to polyautoimmunity.

Conclusion: A precise family history is an important clue in prognosis and prediction of autoimmune diseases in SSc patients and their relatives.

April 2018
Anne Graham Cummiskey MBBS, Amit Segev MD, Michael Segel MD, Jonathan Buber MD, Victor Guetta MD, Israel M. Barbash MD, Dan Elian MD, Elad Asher MD, Ori Vaturi MD and Paul Fefer MD

Background: Previous studies have demonstrated the utility of exercise hemodynamics during right heart catheterization (RHC) in the diagnosis of diastolic dysfunction (DD). Little data exists regarding exercise hemodynamics during RHC in symptomatic systemic sclerosis (SSc) patients. 

Objectives: To assess the added diagnostic value of using exercise hemodynamics during RHC in assessment of patients with symptomatic SSc.

Methods: We performed 22 RHCs in 17 SSc patients with dyspnea and/or pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Exercise was performed in 15 RHCs using isotonic arm exercises while holding a 1 kg weight in each hand. Measurements of pulmonary arterial pressure (PAP), pulmonary arterial wedge pressure (PAWP), and cardiac output (CO) were taken at rest and during peak exercise. 

Results: Normal resting RHC (PAP 22 ± 3 mmHg, PAWP 11 ± 3 mmHg) was found in seven cases. Of these, exercise induced elevation in PAP was found in three (38 ± 7 mmHg), and exercise induced elevation in PAWP was found in four (24 ± 6 mmHg). Elevated resting PAP was found in 15 (41 ± 11 mmHg) with minor changes in exercise. Of the 22 RHCs, elevation of the PAWP was found in 11 (50%), half of which were in response to exercise. 

Conclusions: In symptomatic SSc patients, exercise hemodynamics provides important information on diastolic dysfunction that is not available with non-invasive testing. Findings on exercise RHC can explain patient symptoms in up to 50% of cases. Earlier and more accurate diagnosis of patient symptoms can aid in tailoring the correct therapy for each.

August 2017
Paola Triggianese MD PhD, Paola Conigliaro MD PhD, Maria Sole Chimenti MD PhD, Carmen Barbato MD, Elisabetta Greco MD, Barbara Kroegler MD, Caterina De Carolis MD and Roberto Perricone, MD

Background: Evidence has shown that pregnancy failure (PF) in women with systemic sclerosis (SSc) consists mainly of preterm delivery (PD) and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). Thyroid dysfunction (TD) and Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT) represent a common feature of SSc. Since TD has been associated with PF, its presence in SSc women may potentially affect pregnancy outcome. 

Objectives: To analyze the interplay between TD and PF in a cohort of SSc women. 

Methods: SSc women (n=77) and age-matched controls from the general obstetric population (n=50) were included. Clinical/biochemical/instrumental data exploring TD and the visceral involvement were collected in the context of a clinical practice setting. Pregnancy outcome was assessed by registering the history of primary infertility, recurrent spontaneous abortion, PD (≤ 37 gestational week), IUGR, and intrauterine fetal death. 

Results: A higher prevalence of PD/IUGR was recorded in the SSc cohort than the controls (P = 0.04). SSc women with PF showed a higher prevalence of diffuse SSc than women without PF (P = 0.03). Scl-70 positive SSc women had a higher prevalence of PF than women with anti-centromere positivity (P = 0.01). A higher prevalence of HT was recorded in SSc women with PF than in patients without (P = 0.04). 

Conclusions: Our findings support the evidence that women with SSc can have successful pregnancies despite a higher prevalence of PD/IUGR. Diffuse SSc and Scl-70 positivity may predispose SSc women to PF. Routine thyroid workup may be included in the multi-specialist monitoring of SSc women for the early detection of thyroid dysfunctions.

 

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