The intersection of global broadband technology and miniaturized high-capability computing devices has led to a revolution in the delivery of healthcare and the birth of telemedicine and mobile health (mHealth). Rapid advances in handheld imaging devices with other mHealth devices such as smartphone apps and wearable devices are making great strides in the field of cardiovascular imaging like never before. Although these technologies offer a bright promise in cardiovascular imaging, it is far from straightforward. The massive data influx from telemedicine and mHealth including cardiovascular imaging supersedes the existing capabilities of current healthcare system and statistical software. Artificial intelligence with machine learning is the one and only way to navigate through this complex maze of the data influx through various approaches. Deep learning techniques are further expanding their role by image recognition and automated measurements. Artificial intelligence provides limitless opportunity to rigorously analyze data. As we move forward, the futures of mHealth, telemedicine and artificial intelligence are increasingly becoming intertwined to give rise to precision medicine.
Karthik Seetharam, Nobuyuki Kagiyama and Partho P Sengupta
Arturo Evangelista, Giuliana Maldonado, Domenico Gruosso, Laura Gutiérrez, Chiara Granato, Nicolas Villalva, Laura Galian, Teresa González-Alujas, Gisela Teixido and Jose Rodríguez-Palomares
Acute aortic syndrome (AAS) comprises a range of interrelated conditions caused by disruption of the medial layer of the aortic wall, including aortic dissection, intramural haematoma and penetrating aortic ulcer. Since mortality from AAS is high, a prompt and accurate diagnosis using imaging techniques is paramount. Both transthoracic (TTE) and transoesophageal echocardiography (TEE) are useful in the diagnosis of AAS. TTE should be the first imaging technique to evaluate patients with thoracic pain in the emergency room. Should AAS be suspected, contrast administration is recommended when images are not definitive. TEE allows high-quality images in thoracic aorta. The main drawback of this technique is that it is semi-invasive and the presence of a blind area that limits visualisation of the distal ascending aorta near. TEE identifies the location and size of the entry tear, secondary communications, true lumen compression and the dynamic flow pattern of false lumen. Although computed tomography (CT) is the most used imaging technique in the diagnosis of AAS, echocardiography offers complementary information relevant for its management. The best imaging strategy for appropriately diagnosing and assessing AAS is to combine CT, mainly ECG-gated contrast-enhanced CT, and TTE. Currently, TEE tends to be carried out in the operating theatre immediately before surgical or endovascular therapy and in monitoring their results. The aims of this review are to establish the current role of echocardiography in the diagnosis and management of AAS based on its advantages and limitations.
Victoria Pettemerides, Thomas Turner, Conor Steele and Anita Macnab
The 2016 NICE clinical guideline 95 (CG95) demoted functional imaging to a second-line test following computed tomography coronary angiography (CTCA). Many cardiac CT services in the UK require substantial investment and growth to implement this. Chest pain services like ours are likely to continue to use stress testing for the foreseeable future. We share service evaluation data from our department to show that a negative stress echocardiogram can continue to be used for chest pain assessment.
1815 patients were referred to rapid access chest pain clinic (RACPC) between June 2013 and March 2015. 802 patients had stress echocardiography as the initial investigation. 446 patients had normal resting left ventricular (LV) systolic function and a negative stress echocardiogram. At least 24 months after discharge, a survey was carried out to detect major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) (cardiac death, myocardial infarction, admission to hospital for heart failure or angina, coronary artery disease at angiography, revascularisation by angioplasty or coronary artery bypass grafting) within 2 years.
Overall, 351 patients were successfully followed up. The mean Diamond-Forrester (D-F) score and QRISK2 suggested a high pre-test probability (PTP) of coronary artery disease (CAD). There were nine deaths (eight non-cardiac deaths and one cardiac death). MACE occurred in four patients with a mean time of 17.5 months (11.6–23.7 months). The annual event rate was 0.6%.
A negative stress echocardiogram can reliably reassure patients and clinicians even in high PTP populations with suspected stable angina. It can continue to be used to assess stable chest pain post CG95.
Jack Parnell, Mehak Tahir and Benoy N Shah
Richard P Steeds, Richard Wheeler, Sanjeev Bhattacharyya, Joseph Reiken, Petros Nihoyannopoulos, Roxy Senior, Mark J Monaghan and Vishal Sharma
Stress echocardiography is an established technique for assessing coronary artery disease. It has primarily been used for the diagnosis and assessment of patients presenting with chest pain in whom there is an intermediate probability of coronary artery disease. In addition, it is used for risk stratification and to guide revascularisation in patients with known ischaemic heart disease. Although cardiac computed tomography has recently been recommended in the United Kingdom as the first-line investigation in patients presenting for the first time with atypical or typical angina, stress echocardiography continues to have an important role in the assessment of patients with lesions of uncertain functional significance and patients with known ischaemic heart disease who represent with chest pain. In this guideline from the British Society of Echocardiography, the indications and recommended protocols are outlined for the assessment of ischaemic heart disease by stress echocardiography.
David Platts, Kenji Shiino, Jonathan Chan, Darryl J Burstow, Gregory M Scalia and John F Fraser
Background: Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) plays a fundamental role in management of patients supported with extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). In light of fluctuating clinical states, serial monitoring of cardiac function is required. Formal quantification of ventricular parameters and myocardial mechanics offer benefit over qualitative assessment. The aim of this research was to compare unenhanced (UE) versus contrast-enhanced (CE) quantification of myocardial function and mechanics during ECMO in a validated ovine model.
Methods: 24 sheep were commenced on peripheral veno-venous ECMO. Acute smoke induced lung injury was induced in 21 sheep (3 controls). CE-TTE with Definity using Cadence Pulse Sequencing was performed. 2 readers performed image analysis with TomTec Arena. End diastolic area (EDA-cm2), end systolic area (ESA-cm2), fractional area change (FAC-%), endocardial global circumferential strain (EGCS-%), myocardial global circumferential strain (MGCS-%), endocardial rotation (ER-degrees) and global radial strain (GRD-%) were evaluated for UE-TTE and CE-TTE.
Results: Full data sets available in 22 sheep (92%). Mean CE EDA and ESA were significantly larger than in unenhanced images. Mean FAC was almost identical between the two techniques. No significant difference between UE and CE EGCS, MGCS and ER. There was significant difference in GRS between imaging techniques. Unenhanced inter-observer variability was from 0.48-0.70 but significantly improved to 0.71-0.89 for contrast imaging in all echocardiographic parameters.
Conclusion: Semi-automated methods of myocardial function and mechanics using CE-TTE during ECMO was feasible and similar to UE-TTE for all parameters except ventricular areas and global radial strain. Addition of contrast significantly decreased inter-observer variability of all measurements.
Takahide Ito and Michihiro Suwa
Spontaneous echo contrast (SEC) is known as a precursor of thrombus formation reflecting blood stasis in cardiac chambers and major vessels. Transesophageal echocardiography plays a pivotal role in detecting and grading SEC in the left atrial (LA) cavity. Assessing LA SEC can identify patients at increased risk for thromboembolic events. LA SEC also develops in patients who have sinus rhythm, especially in those with heart failure. Detection of LA SEC is not uncommon in subjects who have multiple cardiovascular comorbidities, although mechanisms behind this association are not fully understood. In patients with atrial fibrillation, a role of mitral regurgitation exerting against occurrence of LA SEC and subsequent thromboembolism is controversial. Moreover, alterations of blood coagulability and elevated certain biological markers in the blood contribute to occurrence of LA SEC. This review describes the pathogenesis of and assessment of SEC, in addition to the relationship between LA SEC and clinical, biological and echocardiographic parameters.
Richard P Steeds, Craig E Stiles, Vishal Sharma, John B Chambers, Guy Lloyd and William Drake
This is a joint position statement of the British Society of Echocardiography, the British Heart Valve Society and the Society for Endocrinology on the role of echocardiography in monitoring patients receiving dopamine agonist (DA) therapy for hyperprolactinaemia. (1) Evidence that DA pharmacotherapy causes abnormal valve morphology and dysfunction at doses used in the management of hyperprolactinaemia is extremely limited. Evidence of clinically significant valve pathology is absent, except for isolated case reports around which questions remain. (2) Attributing change in degree of valvular regurgitation, especially in mild and moderate tricuspid regurgitation, to adverse effects of DA in hyperprolactinaemia should be avoided if there are no associated pathological changes in leaflet thickness, restriction or retraction. It must be noted that even where morphological change in leaflet structure and function may be suspected, grading is semi-quantitative on echocardiography and may vary between different machines, ultrasound settings and operators. (3) Decisions regarding discontinuation of medication should only be made after review of serial imaging by an echocardiographer experienced in analysing drug-induced valvulopathy or carcinoid heart disease. (4) A standard transthoracic echocardiogram should be performed before a patient starts DA therapy for hyperprolactinaemia. Repeat transthoracic echocardiography should then be performed at 5 years after starting cabergoline in patients taking a total weekly dose less than or equal to 2 mg. If there has been no change on the 5-year scan, repeat echocardiography could continue at 5-yearly intervals. If a patient is taking more than a total weekly dose of 2 mg, then annual echocardiography is recommended.
R Bedair and X Iriart
Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is the most common cyanotic congenital heart defect, affecting 3 in 10,000 live births. Surgical correction in early childhood is associated with good outcomes, but lifelong follow-up is necessary to identify the long-term sequelae that may occur. This article will cover the diagnosis of TOF in childhood, the objectives of surveillance through adulthood and the value of multi-modality imaging in identifying and guiding timely surgical and percutaneous interventions.