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

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: Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

Max Planck researchers revel the nano-structure of molecular trains and the reason for smooth transport in cellular antennas.

Moving around, sensing the extracellular environment, and signaling to other cells are important for a cell to function properly. Responsible for those tasks...

Im Focus: UNH scientists help provide first-ever views of elusive energy explosion

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.

Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Optical Coherence Tomography: German-Japanese Research Alliance hosted Medical Imaging Conference

19.11.2018 | Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nonstop Tranport of Cargo in Nanomachines

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Researchers find social cultures in chimpanzees

20.11.2018 | Life Sciences

When AI and optoelectronics meet: Researchers take control of light properties

20.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>