Research into early detection of heart problems in scleroderma will save lives
For National Patient Participation Week in June here is one of the case studies SRUK has had input.
Systemic sclerosis is a complex autoimmune disorder affecting internal organs. Each person will experience systemic sclerosis differently, so some people will have heart and lung involvement and some will only have lung involvement.
Heart involvement is very serious and is one of the biggest causes of death for people with the condition. If heart involvement can be detected earlier, then better treatment can be given to help people with the condition. Current methods of detecting heart involvement, like echocardiograms and electrocardiograms, don't constantly monitor the heart and so can miss any early signs of heart problems.
Dr Maya Buch at the University of Leeds is carrying out a long-term study to see whether an implantable cardiac monitor can detect early heart problems in people with systemic scleroderma. Any signs of involvement that she can detect can then be used to help other people with systemic scleroderma who may not have heart involvement yet, as they can be monitored to determine whether they present with the early signs of heart involvement.
It's research like this that breaks ground and means that we come a step closer to finding a cure for scleroderma and Raynaud's, but it wouldn't be possible without people with the condition taking part in the study.