Cardiac and Muscular Involvement in Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathies: Noninvasive Diagnostic Assessment and the Role of Cardiovascular and Skeletal Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Petros P. Sfikakis,
George D. Kitas.
Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIMs) are rare autoimmune diseases and include dermatomyositis,
polymyositis, necrotizing myopathy and inclusion body myositis; they are characterized by inflammation of skeletal
muscle and other internal organs and may potentially lead to irreversible damage and death. Only a small percentage of
IIM has clinically overt cardiac disease; however, heart involvement is one of the leading causes of death and therefore,
early detection remains a challenge.
Biochemical markers and non-invasive methods such as the electrocardiogram and echocardiography have a role in
diagnosis, but lack sensitivity in identifying patients with early, sublinical cardiac abnormalities. Endomyocardial and
skeletal muscle biopsies are very useful, but invasive techniques and cannot be used for routine follow-up. Cardiac and
skeletal magnetic resonance imaging, due to their capability to perform tissue characterization, has emerged as novel
techniques for the early detection and follow-up of myocardial and skeletal muscle tissue changes (oedema, inflammation,
fibrosis) in IIM. However, the clinical implications of using these approaches and their cost /benefit ratio require further
Keywords: Heart failure, inflammatory myopathies, magnetic resonance imaging, myocarditis.
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