Systemic sclerosis (SSc) heart involvement (SHI) is a leading cause of SSc-associated mortality and once clinically overt, carries a very poor prognosis. There remain no established diagnostic criteria for SHI. This study aimed to systematically review the literature regarding the role of cardiac troponin (cTn) and B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) or N-terminal B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) in the diagnosis of SHI.
A comprehensive search of the MEDLINE (Ovid), EMBASE and Pubmed databases was performed to identify adult human studies of at least 10 SSc patients with a primary focus of SHI that included data on cTn and BNP or NT-proBNP results. Only cohort studies and case-controlled studies were identified and the quality of the evidence presented in each study was assessed according to the Newcastle-Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale.
Of the 2742 studies identified by the database search, 12 articles fulfilled the study inclusion criteria. Three out of four studies evaluating SHI using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging found no association between cardiac biomarkers and imaging changes. By comparison echocardiographic abnormalities, cardiac arrhythmias and congestive cardiac failure were more likely to be associated with elevated cardiac biomarkers. Comparison of results between studies was limited by the highly heterogenous definitions of SHI and inclusion criteria employed across studies.
There are insufficient data to draw definitive conclusions about the role of cTn and BNP / NT-proBNP in the diagnosis of SHI. Currently available literature suggests that cardiac biomarkers may have some role, in conjunction with other diagnostic modalities, in identifying SHI; however, this remains a much-needed area of clinical research.

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