Scleroderma and the Heart
Symptoms of heart involvement in scleroderma are varied. Heart issues depend on the location within the heart and the presence of any underlying conditions. The heart muscle can become thickened and fibrous scar tissue may accumulate. This can cause contractions of the heart to decrease and may ultimately, in rare cases, lead to heart failure.
Coronary artery disease and abnormal heart rhythms can also occur. Other scleroderma-related heart conditions can be caused by the involvement of renal (kidney) crisis and pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Both can affect the heart. These conditions require careful evaluation and treatment by a physician.
Watch for These Signs and Symptoms of Scleroderma Heart Issues
- Shortness of breath. This can be a sign of heart failure
- Night-time breathing difficulty
- Swollen feet and legs
- Liver enlargement
- Chest pain
In addition, some cardiac symptoms may not be recognized. They might be thought to be caused by pulmonary, musculoskeletal, or esophageal involvement.