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Valvular Heart Disease in the Primary Antiphospholipid Syndrome

Enrique Galve, MD; Josep Ordi, MD; Jordi Barquinero, MD; Arturo Evangelista, MD; Miquel Vilardell, MD; and J. Soler-Soler, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

This paper was presented in part at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, Dallas, Texas, November 1990, and results were reported in abstract form in Circulation (1990;82[III]:397).

Requests for Reprints: Enrique Galve, MD, Servicio de Cardiología, Departamento de Medicine, Hospital General Universitari Vall d'Hebron, Paseo Vall d'Hebron s/n, 08035 Barcelona, Spain.

Current Author Addresses: Drs. Galve, Ordi, Barquinero, Evangelista, Vilardell, and Soler-Soler: Servicio de Cardiología y Departamento de Medicina, Hospital General Universitari Vall d'Hebron, Paseo Vall d'Hebron s/n, 08035 Barcelona, Spain.


©1992 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1992;116(4):293-298. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-116-4-293
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Objective: To determine the prevalence of cardiac valvular involvement in patients with the primary antiphospholipid syndrome.

Design: Cross-sectional study with evaluation of case patients and control patients by Doppler echocardiography. The mean follow-up for case patients was 21 months.

Setting: University-based tertiary medical center.

Patients: Twenty-eight consecutive patients who were diagnosed with the primary antiphospholipid syndrome during a 10-year period; 28 age- and sex-matched healthy controls.

Measurements and Main Results: Ten patients (36%; 95% Cl, 19% to 56%) with the primary antiphospholipid syndrome had cardiac valvular involvement: Four patients had mitral valve involvement; four patients, aortic valve involvement; and two patients, both mitral and aortic valve involvement; no patients had tricuspid or pulmonary valve disease. Eight of 10 patients had a regurgitant murmur. None of the control patients had valvular disease. The mean mitral valve thickness in patients with mitral valve involvement was 7.0 ± 1.6 mm, compared with 2.7 ± 0.8 mm in patients with normal valves and 3.2 ± 0.9 mm in the control group. The mean aortic valve thickness in patients with aortic valve involvement was 3.8 ± 0.5 mm compared with 1.4 ± 0.3 mm in patients with normal valves and 1.4 ± 0.5 mm in the control group. Stenotic lesions were not found. Regurgitation was severe in two patients (one required surgery), moderate in three patients, and mild in three patients.

Conclusions: Valvular involvement is frequently found in patients with the primary antiphospholipid syndrome. The lesions are left-sided, causing regurgitation that may be clinically important.

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