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.
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.
Hannah Bellsham-Revell and Navroz Masani
Sequential segmental analysis allows clear description of the cardiac structure in a logical fashion without assumptions and confusing nomenclature. Each segment is analysed, and then the connections described followed by any associated anomalies. For the echocardiographer there are several key features of the cardiac structures to help differentiate and accurately describe them.
John B Chambers, Madalina Garbi, Norman Briffa, Vishal Sharma, and Richard P Steeds
Echocardiography plays a vital role in the follow-up of patients with replacement heart valves. However, there is considerable variation in international guidelines regarding the recommended time points after implantation at which routine echocardiography should be performed. The purpose of routine echocardiography is to detect early structural valve deterioration in biological valves to improve the timing of redo interventions. However, the risk of valve deterioration depends on many valve-related factors (valve design and patient prosthesis mismatch) and patient-related factors (age, diabetes, systemic hypertension, renal dysfunction and smoking). In this statement, the British Heart Valve Society and the British Society of Echocardiography suggest practical guidance. A plan should be made soon after implantation, but this may need to be modified for individual patients and as circumstances change. It is important that patients are managed in a multidisciplinary valve clinic.
Michael Roshen, Sophia John, Selda Ahmet, Rajiv Amersey, Sandy Gupta, and George Collins
The British Society of Echocardiography (BSE) highlights the importance of patient questionnaires as part of the quality improvement process, To this end, we implemented a novel system whereby paired surveys were completed by patients and physiologists for transthoracic echocardiography scans, allowing for parallel comparison of the experiences of service providers and end users. Anonymised questionnaires were completed for each scan by the patient and physiologist for outpatient echocardiographic scans in a teaching hospital. In 26% of the responses, patient found the scans at least slightly painful, and in 24% of scans physiologists were in discomfort. The most common reason given by physiologists for technically difficult or inadequate scans was patient discomfort. In 38% of the scans at least one person (the patient or the physiologist) was in at least some discomfort. Comparative data showed that the scans reported as most painful by patients were also reported by the physiologists as difficult and uncomfortable. In summary, these results demonstrate the feasibility of implementing paired surveys. Patient information leaflets by the BSE and National Health Service (NHS) describe echocardiography as painless but the results here indicate this is not always the case.
H C Sinclair, P Russhard, C H Critoph, and C D Steadman
A 70-year-old female with exertional dyspnoea was found to have basal septal hypertrophy (BSH), or a ‘basal septal bulge’, with evidence of mild left ventricular outflow tract obstruction (LVOT) at rest on her initial echocardiogram. She was usually fit and well with no significant past medical history. She had no history of hypertension. She had never smoked. There was no family history of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). A cardiac MRI did not demonstrate any typical features of HCM. ECG showed sinus tachycardia with a rate of 101 bpm but was otherwise unremarkable. She was referred for exercise echocardiography to assess for latent LVOT obstruction. Prior to commencing exercise, her LVOT gradient was re-assessed at rest. Her LVOT gradients were 30 mmHg at rest, 49 mmHg during Valsalva and 91 mmHg on standing. A diagnosis of significant latent LVOT obstruction was made and the patient was started on bisoprolol, a cardioselective beta-blocker. Bisoprolol was slowly uptitrated from 1.25 mg to 5 mg once daily, following which the patient reported a significant improvement in her symptoms with an improved exercise capacity. Follow-up echocardiography demonstrated a dramatic reduction in LVOT gradient, with a maximum of 11 mmHg assessed both with Valsalva and on standing. This case is a reminder that patients with a ‘common’ basal septal bulge can develop significant LVOT obstruction, the symptoms of which may respond to pharmacological therapy. Orthostatic assessment of LVOT gradient using echocardiography should be considered during standard LVOT obstruction provocation manoeuvres such as a Valsalva.
Differentiation between basal septal hypertrophy (BSH) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) may be challenging. Key factors favouring HCM include a positive family history of HCM or sudden cardiac death, septal thickness >15 mm/posterior wall thickness >11 mm, systolic anterior motion of the anterior mitral valve (SAM), late gadolinium enhancement on cardiac MRI, a causative genetic mutation associated with HCM and an abnormal ECG.
Significant LVOT obstruction may develop in patients with BSH and is potentially responsive to pharmacotherapy.
Standing reduces venous return, resulting in decreased LV volume. Compensatory mechanisms to maintain cardiac output involve sympathetic nervous system activation leading to increased LV contractility and subsequent increased LVOT gradient.
Significant LVOT obstruction may be unmasked by an orthostatic posture.
Orthostatic LVOT gradient assessment should be part of the routine echocardiographic assessment of all patients with an increased LVOT gradient at rest.
The post-prandial state has been associated with increased LVOT gradient due to splanchnic dilatation and the consequent increased cardiac output required to maintain blood pressure. Post-prandial status should therefore be considered when assessing LVOT gradient.
Bushra S Rana, Shaun Robinson, Rajeevan Francis, Mark Toshner, Martin J Swaans, Sharad Agarwal, Ravi de Silva, Amer A Rana, and Petros Nihoyannopoulos
Tricuspid regurgitation natural history and treatment remains poorly understood. Right ventricular function is a key factor in determining prognosis, timing for intervention and longer-term outcome. The right ventricle is a thin walled chamber with a predominance of longitudinal fibres and a shared ventricular septum. In health, the low-pressure pulmonary circulation results in a highly compliant RV well equipped to respond to changes in preload but sensitive to even small alterations in afterload. In Part 1 of this article, discussion focuses on key principles of ventricular function assessment and the importance of right ventricular chamber size, volumes and ejection fraction, particularly in risk stratification in tricuspid regurgitation. Part 2 of this article provides an understanding of the causes of tricuspid regurgitation in the contemporary era, with emphasis on key patient groups and their management.