A recent study appearing in the International Journal of Cardiology found that patients who suffer from Raynaud’s phenomenon also have reduced blood flow to heart tissue. The study found that, in addition to the typical symptoms experienced by those with Raynaud’s phenomenon, these patients also experienced a decrease in blood flow to heart tissue. This reduced blood flow could account for the increase in heart disease cases in Raynaud’s patients.
A group of researchers at The Onassis Cardiac Surgery Centre in Greece held a study with 20 patients suffering from primary Raynaud’s syndrome, as well as an equal number of those with secondary Raynaud’s and a control group. Those in the secondary group also had a variety of auto-immune disorders ranging from lupus to rheumatoid arthritis.
Using heart magnetic resonance imaging in combination with a procedure that makes the heart arteries dilate — the researchers evaluated blood flow in the heart muscles. They measured the myocardial perfusion reserve index, otherwise known as an indicator of how well blood is delivered to the heart. What they found was that each patient, suffering from either primary or secondary Raynaud’s, experienced lower blood perfusion measures in the heart muscle compared to the control group.
There was no link found between how well blood reached the heart and disease duration or inflammation as a result. However, it is interesting that patients with Raynaud’s experienced a decrease in blood flow to heart tissue. More research needs to be completed, but this study is a great start at exploring the issues surrounding Raynaud’s syndrome.