Importance: Systemic diseases that affect the cardiovascular system constitute a diagnostic and therapeutic challenge for all specialists involved; imaging tools along with clinical suspicion play an essential role in their evaluation. These entities share neurological, immunological, renal, hematologic, oncologic, infectious and endocrine processes, all of which may have associated cardiac involvement.
Observations: Recent advances in cardiac ultrasound, Computed Tomography (CT), cardiac Magnetic Resonance (CMR) and nuclear scintigraphy have impacted the management of these conditions when involving the heart since they provide valuable anatomical and functional information while avoiding the use of invasive techniques.
For this review, bibliographic sources were gathered from diverse databases, including PubMed, Cochrane, EBSCO and Google Scholar, concentrating on English language publications dealing with the clinical use of these tools.
Conclusion: Clinical suspicion should always guide the use of imaging since in many instances, these techniques only play a supportive role rather than representing a diagnostic gold standard. Early diagnosis is critical due to the fact that cardiac manifestations are commonly a late phenomenon.