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Open access

Gowsini Joseph, Tomas Zaremba, Martin Berg Johansen, Sarah Ekeloef, Einar Heiberg, Henrik Engblom, Svend Eggert Jensen and Peter Sogaard

The aim of this study was to investigate if there was an association between infarct size (IS) measured by cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) and echocardiographic global longitudinal strain (GLS) in the early stage of acute myocardial infarction in patients with preserved left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). Patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction who underwent primary percutaneous coronary intervention were assessed with CMR and transthoracic echocardiogram within 1 week of hospital admission. Two-dimensional speckle tracking was performed using a semi-automatic algorithm (EchoPac, GE Healthcare). Longitudinal strain curves were generated in a 17-segment model covering the entire left ventricular myocardium. GLS was calculated automatically. LVEF was measured by auto-LVEF in EchoPac. IS was measured by late gadolinium enhancement CMR in short-axis views covering the left ventricle. The study population consisted of 49 patients (age 60.4 ± 9.7 years; 92% male). The study population had preserved echocardiographic LVEF with a mean of 45.8 ± 8.7%. For each percent increase of IS, we found an impairment in GLS by 1.59% (95% CI 0.57–2.61), P = 0.02, after adjustment for sex, age and LVEF. No significant association between IS and echocardiographic LVEF was found: −0.25 (95% CI: −0.61 to 0.11), P = 0.51. At the segmental level, the strongest association between IS and longitudinal strain was found in the apical part of the LV: impairment of 1.69% (95% CI: 1.14–2.23), P < 0.001, for each percent increase in IS. In conclusion, GLS was significantly associated with IS in the early stage of acute myocardial infarction in patients with preserved LVEF, and this association was strongest in the apical part of the LV. No association between IS and LVEF was found.

Open access

Brian Campbell, Shaun Robinson and Bushra Rana

At its inception, transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) was employed as a basic screening tool for the diagnosis of heart valve disease and as a crude indicator of left ventricular function. Since then, echocardiography has developed into a highly valued non-invasive imaging technique capable of providing extremely complex data for the diagnosis of even the subtlest cardiac pathologies. Its role is now pivotal in the diagnosis and monitoring of heart disease. With the evolution of advanced practice and devolving care, ordinarily performed by senior doctors, to the cardiac physiology workforce in the UK, significant benefits in terms of timely patient care and cost savings are possible. However, there needs to be appropriate level of accountability. This accountability is achieved in the UK with statutory regulation of healthcare professionals and is a crucial element in the patient protection system, particularly for professions in patient facing roles. However, statutory regulation for staff practising echocardiography is not currently mandatory in the UK, despite the level of responsibility and influence on patient care. Regulators protect the public against the risk of poor practice by setting agreed standards of practice and competence and registering those who are competent to practice. Regulators take action if professionals on their register do not meet their standards. The current cardiac physiology workforce can be recognised as registered clinical scientists using equivalence process through the Academy for Healthcare Science, and this review aims to describe the process in detail.

Open access

Kawa Haji, Chiew Wong, Christopher Neil, Nicholas Cox, Andrew Mulligan, Leah Wright, Sara Vogrin and Thomas H Marwick

Background

Handheld ultrasound could provide sufficient information to satisfy the clinical questions underlying ‘rarely appropriate’ echo requests, but there are limited data about its use as a gatekeeper to standard echocardiography. We sought to determine whether the use of handheld ultrasound could improve the appropriate use of echocardiography.

Method

A prospective study comparing handheld ultrasound strategy to standard echocardiography for studies deemed rarely appropriate, using a questionnaire based on appropriate use criteria was conducted across two hospitals, from October 2017 to April 2018.

Results

Groups undergoing Handheld ultrasound (n = 76, 58 (46.5–72.5) years, 53 males, 78% outpatients) and standard echocardiography (n = 72, 61 (49.0–71.5) years, 42 males, 76% outpatients) were comparable. There was a significant decrease in the time to scan from just over 1 month in standard group to a median of 12 days in handheld ultrasound group (P < 0.001). This difference was small for inpatients (from 1 day to a median of 10 min in handheld ultrasound, P = 0.014), but prominent in outpatients (from 1.5 months in the standard group to median of 2 weeks in the handheld ultrasound group, P < 0.001). There was no increase in the need for follow-up scan within 6 months and no significant differences in length of hospital stay for inpatients.

Conclusion

Handheld ultrasound can be an effective gatekeeper to standard echocardiography for requests deemed rarely appropriate, reducing time to echocardiography significantly and potentially decreasing the need for standard echocardiography by up to 20%.

Open access

David Messika-Zeitoun, Ian G Burwash and Thierry Mesana

Valvular heart disease (VHD) is responsible for a major societal and economic burden. Incidence and prevalence of VHD are high and increase as the population ages, creating the next epidemic. In Western countries, the etiology is mostly degenerative or functional disease and strikes an elderly population with multiple comorbidities. Epidemiological studies have shown that VHD is commonly underdiagnosed, leading to patients presenting late in their disease course, an excess risk of mortality and morbidity and a missed opportunity for intervention. Once diagnosed, VHD is often undertreated with patients unduly denied intervention, the only available curative treatment. This gap between current recommendations and clinical practice and the marked under-treatment is at least partially related to poor knowledge of current National and International Societies Guidelines. Development of a Valvular Heart Team involving multidisciplinary valve specialists including clinicians, imaging specialists, interventional cardiologists and surgeons is expected to fill these gaps and to offer an integrated care addressing all issues of patient management from evaluation, risk-assessment, decision-making and performance of state of the art surgical and transcatheter interventions. The Valvular Heart Team will select the right treatment for the right patient, improving cost-effectiveness and ultimately patients’ outcomes.

Open access

Andaleeb Abrar Ahmed, Robina Matyal, Feroze Mahmood, Ruby Feng, Graham B Berry, Scott B Gilleland and Kamal R Khabbaz

Objective: Due to its circular shape, the area of the proximal left ventricular tract (PLVOT) adjacent to aortic valve can be derived from a single linear diameter. This is also the location of flow acceleration (FA) during systole and pulse wave Doppler (PWD) sample volume in the PLVOT can lead to overestimation of velocity (V1) and the aortic valve area (AVA). Therefore, it is recommended to derive V1 from a region of laminar flow in the elliptical shaped distal LVOT(DLVOT). Besides being inconsistent with the assumptions of continuity equation (CE), spatial difference in location of flow and area measurement can result in an inaccurate AVA by CE. We evaluated the impact of FA in the PLVOT on the accuracy of AVA by continuity-equation (CE) in patients with aortic stenosis (AS).

Methods: AVA was calculated in patients with AS with CE once with PWD derived velocity time integral (VTI) in the DLVOT (VTILVOT) and then in the PLVOT to obtain a FA velocity profile (FA-VTILVOT) for each patient. A paired sample T-TEST (p<0.05) was conducted to compare the impact of FA-VTILVOT and VTILVOT on the calculation of AVA.

Result: There were 46 patients in the study. There was a 30.3% increase in the peak FA-VTILVOT as compared to the peak VTILVOT and AVA obtained by FA-VTILVOT was 29.1% higher than obtained by VTILVOT.

Conclusion: Accuracy of AVA can be significantly impacted by the FA in the PLVOT. LVOT area should be measured with 3D imaging in the DLVOT.

Open access

Norman McDicken, Adrian Thomson, Audrey White, Iqbal Toor, Gillian Gray, Carmel Moran, Robin J Watson and Tom Anderson

A technology based on velocity ratio indices is described for application in the myocardium. Angle-independent Doppler indices, such as the Pulsatility Index, which employ velocity ratios, can be measured even if the ultrasound beam vector at the moving target and the motion vector are not in a known plane. The unknown plane situation is often encountered when an ultrasound beam interrogates sites in the myocardium. The velocities employed in an index calculation must be close to the same or opposite directions. The Doppler velocity ratio indices are independent of angle in 3D space as are ratios indices based on 1D Strain and 1D Speckle Tracking. Angle-independent results with spectral Doppler methods are discussed. Possible future imaging techniques based on velocity ratios are presented. By using indices that involve ratios, several other sources of error cancel in addition to that of angular dependence e.g. errors due to less than optimum gain settings and beam distortion. This makes the indices reliable as research or clinical tools. Ratio techniques can be readily implemented with current commercial blood flow Pulsed Wave Duplex Doppler equipment or with Pulsed Wave Tissue Doppler equipment. In 70 patients where the quality of the real-time B-mode looked suitable for the Doppler velocity ratio technique, there was only one case where clear spectra could not be obtained for both the LV wall and the septum. A reproducibility study of spectra from the septum of the heart show a 12% difference in velocity ratios in the repeat measurements.

Open access

Jonathan Hinton, George Hunter, Madhava Dissanayake and Rob Hatrick

Summary

Pseudo-aneurysms are a rare, potentially life-threatening complication of a myocardial infarction. We present the case of a 45-year-old male who was brought to the emergency department in extremis and had a previous history of a late presentation inferior ST-elevation myocardial infarction treated percutaneously. Clinical examination revealed evidence of cardiogenic shock, pulmonary edema and a pulsatile epigastric mass. Chest X-ray demonstrated marked cardiomegaly and pulmonary edema. Urgent echocardiography confirmed the presence of a huge basal inferior wall pseudo-aneurysm with bi-directional flow. This was also associated with severe mitral regurgitation, due to posterior mitral annular involvement. The patient was transferred to the local cardiothoracic surgical unit where he underwent emergency repair of the pseudo-aneurysm and mitral valve replacement. Despite the surgery being complex he made a full recovery.

Open access

Hannah R Bellsham-Revell, Antigoni Deri, Silvia Caroli, Andrew Durward, Owen I Miller, Sujeev Mathur, Jelena Saundankar, David R Anderson, B Conal Austin, Caner Salih, Kuberan Pushparajah and John M Simpson

Background

The Technical Performance Score (TPS) developed by Boston Children’s Hospital showed surgical outcomes correlate with adequacy of technical repair when implemented on pre-discharge echocardiograms. We applied this scoring system to intraoperative imaging in a tertiary UK congenital heart surgical centre.

Methods

After a period of training, intraoperative TPS (epicardial and/or transesophageal echocardiography) was instituted. TPS was used to inform intraoperative discussions and recorded on a custom-made database using the previously published scoring system. After a year, we reviewed the feasibility, results and relationship between the TPS and mortality, extubation time and length of stay.

Results

From 01 September 2015 to 04 July 2016, there were 272 TPS procedures in 251 operations with 208 TPS recorded. Seven patients had surgery with no documented TPS, three had operations with no current TPS score template available. Patients left the operating theatre with TPS optimal in 156 (75%), adequate 34 (16%) and inadequate 18 (9%). Of those with an optimal score on leaving theatre, ten had more than one period of cardiopulmonary bypass. All four deaths <30 days after surgery (1.9%) had optimal TPS. There was a statistically significant difference in extubation times in the RACHS category 4 patients (3 days vs 5 days, P < 0.05) and in PICU and total length of stay in the RACHS category three patients (2 and 8 days vs 12.5 and 21.5 days respectively) if leaving theatre with an inadequate result.

Conclusions

Application of intraoperative TPS is feasible and provides a way of objectively recording intraoperative imaging assessment of surgery. An ‘inadequate’ TPS did not predict mortality but correlated with a longer ventilation time and longer length of stay compared to those with optimal or adequate scores.

Open access

V D Mathiasen, C A Frederiksen, C Wejse and S H Poulsen

Summary

Tuberculous pericarditis is a rare diagnosis seen among as few as 1% of tuberculosis (TB) patients in developed countries. We present a case of a 60-year-old male suffering from a transient constrictive pericarditis and subclinical involvement of the myocardium in a clinical case of tuberculous pericarditis with corresponding improvement after the initiation of anti-tuberculous treatment. We suggest monitoring of myocardial function using global longitudinal strain by myocardial speckle tracking strain analysis as supplement to routine left ventricular ejection fraction to assess clinical improvement in patients at risk of developing constrictive pericarditis.

Open access

Daniel X Augustine, Lindsay D Coates-Bradshaw, James Willis, Allan Harkness, Liam Ring, Julia Grapsa, Gerry Coghlan, Nikki Kaye, David Oxborough, Shaun Robinson, Julie Sandoval, Bushra S Rana, Anjana Siva, Petros Nihoyannopoulos, Luke S Howard, Kevin Fox, Sanjeev Bhattacharyya, Vishal Sharma, Richard P Steeds, Thomas Mathew and the British Society of Echocardiography Education Committee