Left ventricular (LV) diastolic dysfunction in patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) is associated with increased mortality. However, its mechanisms are not well known, preventing the development of effective therapies. We hypothesized that patients with SCD have altered aortic properties despite normal blood pressure, which may contribute towards the development of diastolic dysfunction. We studied 31 stable adult patients with SCD (32 ± 7 years) and 12 healthy controls of similar age (29 ± 10 years) who underwent echocardiography and cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging on the same day. Echocardiographic measurements of mitral inflow and mitral annulus velocities were used to evaluate LV diastolic function. CMR imaging included standard LV function evaluation and myocardial tissue characterization as well as velocity-encoded images of the ascending aorta to measure aortic diastolic cross-sectional area, distensibility, as well as peaks and volumes of the global, forward and backward blood flow rate. Compared to controls, SCD patients had increased aortic diastolic area, global stroke volume, and both forward and backward flow, while aortic distensibility and peripheral blood pressure were similar. Furthermore, peak backward flow rate and volume were able to discriminate between patients with and without diastolic dysfunction. Our findings show that some aortic properties are altered in SCD patients and may be associated with diastolic dysfunction despite normal systolic blood pressure. If confirmed in larger studies, these aortic changes could be a novel therapeutic target to prevent or delay the development of LV diastolic dysfunction in SCD and thus potentially improve outcomes in these patients.
- Diastolic function
- Left ventricle
- Sickle cell disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine