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Open access

Mohammad Qasem, Victor Utomi, Keith George, John Somauroo, Abbas Zaidi, Lynsey Forsythe, Sanjeev Bhattacharrya, Guy Lloyd, Bushra Rana, Liam Ring, Shaun Robinson, Roxy Senior, Nabeel Sheikh, Mushemi Sitali, Julie Sandoval, Richard Steeds, Martin Stout, James Willis, and David Oxborough

Introduction

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is an inherited pathology that can increase the risk of sudden death. Current task force criteria for echocardiographic diagnosis do not include new, regional assessment tools which may be relevant in a phenotypically diverse disease. We adopted a systematic review and meta-analysis approach to highlight echocardiographic indices that differentiated ARVC patients and healthy controls.

Methods

Data was extracted and analysed from prospective trials that employed a case–control design meeting strict inclusion and exclusion as well as a priori quality criteria. Structural indices included proximal RV outflow tract (RVOT1) and RV diastolic area (RVDarea). Functional indices included RV fractional area change (RVFAC), tricuspid annular systolic excursion (TAPSE), peak systolic and early diastolic myocardial velocities (S′ and E′, respectively) and myocardial strain.

Results

Patients with ARVC had larger RVOT1 (mean ± s.d.; 34 vs 28 mm, P < 0.001) and RVDarea (23 vs 18 cm2, P < 0.001) compared with healthy controls. ARVC patients also had lower RVFAC (38 vs 46%, P < 0.001), TAPSE (17 vs 23 mm, P < 0.001), S′ (9 vs 12 cm/s, P < 0.001), E′ (9 vs 13 cm/s, P < 0.001) and myocardial strain (−17 vs −30%, P < 0.001).

Conclusion

The data from this meta-analysis support current task force criteria for the diagnosis of ARVC. In addition, other RV measures that reflect the complex geometry and function in ARVC clearly differentiated between ARVC and healthy controls and may provide additional diagnostic and management value. We recommend that future working groups consider this data when proposing new/revised criteria for the echocardiographic diagnosis of ARVC.

Open access

Kevin Emery Boczar, Olexiy Aseyev, Jeffrey Sulpher, Christopher Johnson, Ian G Burwash, Michele Turek, Susan Dent, and Girish Dwivedi

Background

Cardiotoxicity from anthracycline-based chemotherapy is an important cause of early and late morbidity and mortality in breast cancer patients. Left ventricular (LV) function is assessed for patients receiving anthracycline-based chemotherapy to identify cardiotoxicity. However, animal studies suggest that right ventricular (RV) function may be a more sensitive measure to detect LV dysfunction. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine if breast cancer patients undergoing anthracycline-based chemotherapy experience RV dysfunction.

Methods

Forty-nine breast cancer patients undergoing anthracycline-based chemotherapy at the Ottawa Hospital between November 2007 and March 2013 and who had 2 echocardiograms performed at least 3months apart were retrospectively identified. Right atrial area (RAA), right ventricular fractional area change (RV FAC) and RV longitudinal strain of the free wall (RV LSFW) were evaluated according to the American Society of Echocardiography guidelines.

Results

The majority (48/49) of patients were females with an average age of 53.4 (95% CI: 50.1–56.7years). From baseline to follow-up study, average LV ejection fraction (LVEF) decreased from 62.22 (95% CI: 59.1–65.4) to 57.4% (95% CI: 54.0–60.9) (P=0.04). During the same time period, the mean RAA increased from 12.1cm2 (95% CI: 11.1–13.0cm2) to 13.8cm2 (95% CI: 12.7–14.9cm2) (P=0.02), mean RV FAC decreased (P=0.01) from 48.3% (95% CI: 44.8–51.74) to 42.1% (95% CI: 38.5–45.6%), and mean RV LSFW worsened from −16.2% (95% CI: −18.1 to −14.4%) to −13.81% (95% CI: −15.1 to −12.5%) (P=0.04).

Conclusion

This study demonstrates that breast cancer patients receiving anthracycline-based chemotherapy experience adverse effects on both right atrial size and RV function. Further studies are required to determine the impact of these adverse effects on right heart function and whether this represents an earlier marker of cardiotoxicity.

Open access

Apostolos Vrettos, David Dawson, Chrysanthos Grigoratos, and Petros Nihoyannopoulos

Background

In this study, we investigate the correlation between reduced global longitudinal peak systolic strain (GLPSS) and the SYNTAX score (SS) in patients undergoing coronary angiography.

Methods

We examined 71 patients undergoing both echocardiogram and coronary angiography within 15 days. All patients had normal global and/or regional wall motion on resting echocardiogram. We calculated GLPSS using two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography. SS was calculated for each group of patients based on the presence and/or the severity of coronary artery disease (CAD): no CAD on angiogram (n=10, control group), low SS (n=36, SS<22) and high SS (n=25, SS≥22). We hypothesised that GLPSS at rest is inversely correlated with the angiographically derived SS.

Results

Age, sex and most of the risk factors were equally distributed among the groups. There was a significant inverse correlation between GLPSS and SS values (r 2=0.3869, P<0.001). This correlation was weaker in the low-SS group (r 2=0.1332, P<0.05), whereas it was lost in the high-SS group (r 2=0.0002, P=NS). Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis identified that the optimal cut-off for the detection of high-SS patients was 13.95% (sensitivity=71%, specificity=90%, P<0.001).

Conclusions

The results of our study suggest that GLPSS might be promising for the detection of patients with high SYNTAX score on coronary angiogram. There is an inverse correlation between resting GLPSS and SS as assessed by coronary angiography. In patients with the highest SS, however, the correlation with GLPSS was less significant.

Open access

Garvan C Kane, Arun Sachdev, Hector R Villarraga, Naser M Ammash, Jae K Oh, Michael D McGoon, Patricia A Pellikka, and Robert B McCully

Aim

It is not well known if advancing age influences normal rest or exercise pulmonary artery pressures. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the association of increasing age with measurements of pulmonary artery systolic pressure at rest and with exercise.

Subjects and methods

A total of 467 adults without cardiopulmonary disease and normal exercise capacity (age range: 18–85 years) underwent symptom-limited treadmill exercise testing with Doppler measurement of rest and exercise pulmonary artery systolic pressure.

Results

There was a progressive increase in rest and exercise pulmonary artery pressures with increasing age. Pulmonary artery systolic pressures at rest and with exercise were 25±5mmHg and 33±9mmHg, respectively, in those <40 years, and 30±5mmHg and 41±12mmHg, respectively, in those ≥70 years. While elevated left-sided cardiac filling pressures were excluded by protocol design, markers of arterial stiffness associated with the age-dependent effects on pulmonary pressures.

Conclusion

These data demonstrate that in echocardiographically normal adults, pulmonary artery systolic pressure increases with advancing age. This increase is seen at rest and with exercise. These increases in pulmonary pressure occur in association with decreasing transpulmonary flow and increases in systemic pulse pressure, suggesting that age-associated blood vessel stiffening may contribute to these differences in pulmonary artery systolic pressure.

Open access

Cátia Costa, Teresa González-Alujas, Filipa Valente, Carlos Aranda, José Rodríguez-Palomares, Laura Gutierrez, Giuliana Maldonado, Laura Galian, Gisela Teixidó, and Artur Evangelista

Background

Left atrial deformation (LAD) parameters are new markers of atrial structural remodelling that seem to be affected in atrial fibrillation (AF) and atrial flutter (AFL). This study aimed to determine whether LAD can identify patients with a higher risk of thrombosis and unsuccessful electrical cardioversion (ECV).

Methods

Retrospective study including 56 patients with AF or AFL undergoing ECV, with previous transthoracic (TTE) and transoesophageal echocardiography (TEE) studies. Echocardiographic parameters analysed were as follows: left ventricle function, left atrium (LA) dimensions, LAD parameters (positive and negative strain peaks), left atrial appendage (LAA) filling and emptying velocities and the presence of thrombi. Strain values were analysed according to thrombotic risk and success of ECV.

Results

Lower mean values of peak-positive strain (PPS) in patients with prothrombotic velocities (<25 cm/s) and a higher incidence of thrombi in LAA were observed compared with those with normal velocities. Multivariate analysis revealed PPS normalised by LA maximum volume indexed by body surface area (BSA) to be associated with prothrombotic risk (odds ratio 0.000 (95% CI: 0.000–0.243), P 0.017), regardless of CHADs2VASC score. Peak-negative strain normalised by LA volumes indexed by BSA were associated with unsuccessful ECV.

Conclusions

Atrial deformation parameters identify AF and AFL patients with a high risk of thrombosis and unsuccessful ECV. Therefore, these new parameters should be included in anticoagulation management and rhythm vs rate control strategies.

Open access

Mehdi Eskandari and Mark Monaghan

Open access

Ashley Miller and Justin Mandeville

Echocardiography is ideally suited to guide fluid resuscitation in critically ill patients. It can be used to assess fluid responsiveness by looking at the left ventricle, aortic outflow, inferior vena cava and right ventricle. Static measurements and dynamic variables based on heart–lung interactions all combine to predict and measure fluid responsiveness and assess response to intravenous fluid resuscitation. Thorough knowledge of these variables, the physiology behind them and the pitfalls in their use allows the echocardiographer to confidently assess these patients and in combination with clinical judgement manage them appropriately.

Open access

Ingeborg H F Herold, Salvatore Saporito, Massimo Mischi, Hans C van Assen, R Arthur Bouwman, Anouk G W de Lepper, Harrie C M van den Bosch, Hendrikus H M Korsten, and Patrick Houthuizen

Background

Pulmonary transit time (PTT) is an indirect measure of preload and left ventricular function, which can be estimated using the indicator dilution theory by contrast-enhanced ultrasound (CEUS). In this study, we first assessed the accuracy of PTT-CEUS by comparing it with dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI). Secondly, we tested the hypothesis that PTT-CEUS correlates with the severity of heart failure, assessed by MRI and N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP).

Methods and results

Twenty patients referred to our hospital for cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) were enrolled. DCE-MRI, CEUS, and NT-proBNP measurements were performed within an hour. Mean transit time (MTT) was obtained by estimating the time evolution of indicator concentration within regions of interest drawn in the right and left ventricles in video loops of DCE-MRI and CEUS. PTT was estimated as the difference of the left and right ventricular MTT. Normalized PTT (nPTT) was obtained by multiplication of PTT with the heart rate. Mean PTT-CEUS was 10.5±2.4s and PTT-DCE-MRI was 10.4±2.0s (P=0.88). The correlations of PTT and nPTT by CEUS and DCE-MRI were strong; r=0.75 (P=0.0001) and r=0.76 (P=0.0001), respectively. Bland–Altman analysis revealed a bias of 0.1s for PTT. nPTT-CEUS correlated moderately with left ventricle volumes. The correlations for PTT-CEUS and nPTT-CEUS were moderate to strong with NT-proBNP; r=0.54 (P=0.022) and r=0.68 (P=0.002), respectively.

Conclusions

(n)PTT-CEUS showed strong agreement with that by DCE-MRI. Given the good correlation with NT-proBNP level, (n)PTT-CEUS may provide a novel, clinically feasible measure to quantify the severity of heart failure.

Clinical Trial Registry: NCT01735838

Open access

John Fryearson, Nicola C Edwards, Sagar N Doshi, and Richard P Steeds

Transcatheter aortic valve implantation is now accepted as a standard mode of treatment for an increasingly large population of patients with severe aortic stenosis. With the availability of this technique, echocardiographers need to be familiar with the imaging characteristics that can help to identify which patients are best suited to conventional surgery or transcatheter aortic valve implantation, and what parameters need to be measured. This review highlights the major features that should be assessed during transthoracic echocardiography before presentation of the patient to the ‘Heart Team’. In addition, this review summarises the aspects to be considered on echocardiography during follow-up assessment after successful implantation of a transcatheter aortic valve.

Open access

Benoy N Shah and Roxy Senior

The incidence of significant obesity is rising across the globe. These patients often have a clustering of cardiovascular risk factors and are frequently referred for noninvasive cardiac imaging tests. Stress echocardiography (SE) is widely used for assessment of patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease (CAD), but its clinical utility in morbidly obese patients (in whom image quality may suffer due to body habitus) has been largely unknown. The recently published Stress Ultrasonography in Morbid Obesity (SUMO) study has shown that SE, when performed appropriately with ultrasound contrast agents (whether performed with physiological or pharmacological stress), has excellent feasibility and appropriately risk stratifies morbidly obese patients, including identification of patients who require revascularization. This article reviews the evidence supporting the use of echocardiographic techniques in morbidly obese patients for assessment of known or suspected CAD and briefly discusses other noninvasive modalities, including magnetic resonance and nuclear techniques, comparing and contrasting these techniques against SE.