Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new method for the early diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension, the main cause of death in patients with scleroderma

14.11.2007
Researchers at the University of Granada (UGR) from the Systemic Autoimmune Diseases Unit and the Cardiology Service of the Hospital Clínico San Cecilio in Granada have developed an innovative system which will help doctors make the earliest diagnosis of pulmonary hypertension possible, which is the main cause of death for patients suffering from scleroderma, a rare disease which affects approximately 1,200 out of every million people.

Until now, the only method to identify pulmonary hypertension was to perform a cardiac catheterization, an invasive technique consisting of the insertion of a hollow and flexible tube (a catheter) through the jugular vein directly into the right side of the heart. This technique is not advisable for all patients because of its complexity and risk.

The new technique was developed by doctor Lourdes López Pérez, and directed by lecturers Norberto Ortego Centeno and José Luis Callejas Rubio, from the Systemic Autoimmune Diseases Unit of the Medicine Department, at the University of Granada.

They worked in collaboration with the cardiologists Eduardo Moreno Escobar and Pilar Martín de la Fuente. The great advantage of this system, which is based on the ultrasound technique, is that it allows specialists to measure the pulmonary artery systolic pressure so that pulmonary hypertension can be diagnosed earlier.

A destructive disease
Scleroderma is a systemic autoimmune disease, that is to say, it affects various organs of the body, and it is due to an alteration of the immune system. This disease is specially characterised by colour changing of the hands when exposed to cold, which is known as Raynaud’s phenomenon, and causes skin swelling from fingers to wrists. Scleroderma is also characterised by damage in the skin of hands, neck and face. This damage resembles little spider veins known as telangiectasias. In addition to this, other organs such as the oesophagus, the kidneys or the lungs may be affected.

Lung damage is one of the most significant and serious symptoms, being the leading cause of death among patients suffering from scleroderma. The research team from the University of Granada maintained detailed medical records of each of the 41 patients included in order to accomplish this study. They also included data from both blood and respitatory tests. An echocardiogram was performed on all patients while they were resting and after physical effort on a special bicycle, called a bicycle ergometer.

From the results of this study, it has been concluded that there is a group of patients who present a serious pathological increase of pulmonary artery systolic pressure when exercising. Therefore, these findings are very early evidence of scleroderma. Thanks to this early diagnosis a suitable treatment can be started to modify the scleroderma cycle, thus improving patient’s prognosis significantly.

Early diagnosis
Given that pulmonary hypertension is a very serious complication of scleroderma, Lourdes López stresses the importance of diagnosing it as soon as possible in order to foresee the appearance of symptoms ascribed to it, such as breathing difficulty while partaking in physical activity or dyspnea.

She also states that using the bicycle ergometer to measure pulmonary artery systolic pressure of the patient after physical activity and performing an echocardiogram are very reliable methods, since they may help to identify scleroderma earlier.

The results of this new research confirms the importance of performing an echocardiogram on patients suffering from scleroderma, since this fatal complication may be indentified before it becomes irreversible. Some of the results of this pioneering research have already been published in prestigious international journals, such as the European Journal of Echocardiography, the official publication of the European Association of Echocardiography (EAE), and Chest, a publication of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP).

Antonio Marín Ruiz | alfa
Further information:
http://prensa.ugr.es/prensa/research/index.php

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht When the eyes move, the eardrums move, too
24.01.2018 | Duke University

nachricht Deaf children learn words faster than hearing children
24.01.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists have learned to change the wavelength of Tamm plasmons

24.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

When the eyes move, the eardrums move, too

24.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Deaf children learn words faster than hearing children

24.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>