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MS Patients Tend to Have More Heart Problems, Need Better Exams, Study Shows

February 22, 2018

Researchers found that patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) have increased heart problems suggestive of an intrinsic myocardial disease, and would benefit from cardiovascular examinations using more advanced techniques.

The study, “Impaired Cardiac Function in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis by Comparison with Normal Subjects,” was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
An assessment of cardiovascular function in MS patients is rarely performed, and when it is, it usually relies on conventional imaging techniques, such as 2D-echocardiography and tissue Doppler, that might fail to detect subtle changes.

Therefore, it’s important to deepen our knowledge about the types of heart problems and to what extent they occur in MS patients.

A few studies have shown that MS is associated with an increased risk of hospital admission for stroke, heart attack, and heart failure in the first year of diagnosis, suggesting that early diagnosis of cardiovascular impairments might be crucial to start preventive care in these patients.

Now, researchers undertook a comprehensive cardiovascular assessment in patients with MS. They compared several cardiovascular parameters in 67 people with MS and 36 age- and sex-matched healthy control subjects.

Among the MS patients, about half were on interferon or Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) treatment while the rest were newly diagnosed and had no prior immunomodulatory treatment.

Both MS patients and healthy controls had an equal incidence of cardiovascular risk factors, such as arterial hypertension, high lipids in the blood, smoking habits, and obesity.