Antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) may cause coronary thrombosis. This study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of silent myocardial disease in patients with APS, using late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMRI).
Twenty-seven consecutive patients with APS and 81 control subjects without known cardiovascular disease underwent CMRI. The prevalence of occult myocardial ischemic disease, as revealed by LGE, was compared between patients with APS and controls, and factors associated with myocardial disease were identified in patients with APS.
Myocardial ischemic disease, as characterized by LGE on CMRI, was present in 8 (29.6%) of 27 patients with APS, and imaging with LGE showed a typical pattern of myocardial infarction (MI) in 3 patients (11.1%). The myocardial scarring revealed on CMRI was not detected by electrocardiography or echocardiography. Although both patients with APS and control subjects shared a low risk of cardiovascular events, as calculated with the Framingham risk equation (mean ± SD 5.1 ± 8.2% and 6.5 ± 7.6%, respectively, for the absolute risk within the next 10 years; P = 0.932), the prevalence of myocardial ischemia was more than 7 times higher in patients with APS (P = 0.0006 versus controls). No association was found between myocardial disease in patients with APS and classic coronary risk factors. The presence of myocardial scarring tended to be more closely associated with specific features of APS, such as duration of the disease, presence of livedo, and positivity for anti–β2-glycoprotein I antibodies.
The finding of a significant and unexpectedly high prevalence of occult myocardial scarring in patients with APS indicates the usefulness of CMRI with LGE for the identification of silent myocardial disease in such patients.