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Open access

Bo Xu, Serge C Harb and Allan L Klein

Disorders of the pericardium represent a diverse range of conditions that traditionally may not have received the same level of attention by cardiologists and physicians, owing partly to a lack of research into advanced diagnostic modalities, and limited, evidence-based treatment options. In recent years, there has been a timely resurgence of interest in pericardial diseases, in particular pericarditis. This is attributable to advances in multimodality cardiovascular imaging, in particular cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR), which may help guide treatment decisions for patients with pericardial syndromes. Additionally, increased research and understanding of the pathophysiological basis of pericarditis have shed light on the role of inflammation in pericarditis. This knowledge may help identify potential specific treatment targets. This article aims to provide a practical review of the role of multimodality cardiovascular imaging (echocardiography, multi-detector cardiac computed tomography (MDCT), CMR) in pericardial conditions, focusing on the strengths and potential limitations of each imaging modality.

Open access

Rienzi Díaz-Navarro and Petros Nihoyannopoulos

A 54-year-old male developed a left ventricular pseudoaneurysm (Ps) along the lateral wall of the left ventricle (LV), which was diagnosed incidentally by two-dimensional transthoracic echocardiography (2DTTE) 6 months after an acute myocardial infarction. Color flow imaging (CFI) showed blood flow from the LV into the aneurysmal cavity and invasive coronary angiography revealed sub-occlusion of the circumflex artery. A complementary study using cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) confirmed a dilated left ventricle with depressed ejection fraction, thin dyskinetic anterolateral and inferolateral walls, a Ps adjacent to the lateral wall of the LV contained by the pericardium and blood passing in and out through a small defect in the LV mid-anterolateral wall. Late gadolinium-enhanced imaging demonstrated transmural myocardial infarction in the lateral wall and delayed enhancement of the pericardium, which formed the walls of the Ps. A conservative approach was adopted in this case, optimizing the patient’s heart failure medications, including cardioselective beta-blocker agents, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, spironolactone and chronic anticoagulation therapy because of a high risk of ischemic stroke in these patients. At the 13-month follow-up, the patient remained stable with New York Heart Association class II heart failure. In conclusion, 2DTTE and CFI seem to be suitable initial methods for diagnosing Ps of the LV, but CMR is an excellent complementary method for characterizing further this cardiac entity. Furthermore, the long-term outcome of patients with Ps of the LV who are treated medically appears to be relatively benign.

Learning points:

  • Left ventricular pseudoaneurysms are uncommon but severe complications of acute myocardial infarction.

  • Transthoracic two-dimensional echocardiography and CFI are suitable non-invasive diagnostic methods for diagnosing left ventricular pseudoaneurysms.

  • Cardiac magnetic resonance is an excellent complementary method, as it offers additional information for further characterization of this cardiac complication.

  • Despite the fact that surgery is the treatment of choice to avoid a risk of fatal rupture, the long-term outcome of patients with left ventricular pseudoaneurysm who are treated medically appears to be relatively benign.

Open access

Aleksandra Trzebiatowska-Krzynska, Mieke Driessen, Gertjan Tj Sieswerda, Lars Wallby, Eva Swahn and Folkert Meijboom

Aim

Assessment of right ventricular (RV) function is a challenge, especially in patients with congenital heart disease (CHD). The aim of the present study is to assess whether knowledge-based RV reconstruction, used in the everyday practice of an echo-lab for adult CHD in a tertiary referral center, is accurate when compared to cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) examination.

Subjects and methods

Adult patients who would undergo CMR for assessment of the RV were asked to undergo an echo of the heart for further knowledge-based reconstruction (KBR). Echocardiographic images were acquired in standard views using a predefined imaging protocol. RV volumes and ejection fraction (EF) calculated using knowledge-based technology were compared with the CMR data of the same patient.

Results

Nineteen consecutive patients with congenital right heart disease were studied. Median age of the patients was 28 years (range 46 years). Reconstruction was possible in 16 out of 19 patients (85%). RV volumes assessed with this new method were smaller than with CMR. Indexed end diastolic volumes were 114±17 ml vs 121±19 ml, P<0.05 and EFs were 45±8% vs 47±9%, P<0.05 respectively. The correlation between the methods was good with an intraclass correlation of 0.84 for EDV and 0.89 for EF, P value <0.001 in both cases.

Conclusion

KBR enables reliable measurement of RVs in patients with CHDs and can be used in clinical practice for analysis of volumes and EFs.

Open access

Philip McCall, Alvin Soosay, John Kinsella, Piotr Sonecki and Ben Shelley

Right ventricular (RV) dysfunction occurs following lung resection and is associated with post-operative complications and long-term functional morbidity. Accurate peri-operative assessment of RV function would have utility in this population. The difficulties of transthoracic echocardiographic (TTE) assessment of RV function may be compounded following lung resection surgery, and no parameters have been validated in this patient group. This study compares conventional TTE methods for assessing RV systolic function to a reference method in a lung resection population. Right ventricular index of myocardial performance (RIMP), fractional area change (FAC), tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (TAPSE) and S′ wave velocity at the tricuspid annulus (S′), along with speckle tracked global and free wall longitudinal strain (RV-GPLS and RV-FWPLS respectively) are compared with RV ejection fraction obtained by cardiovascular magnetic resonance (RVEFCMR). Twenty-seven patients undergoing lung resection underwent contemporaneous CMR and TTE imaging; pre-operatively, on post-operative day two and at 2 months. Ability of each of the parameters to predict RV dysfunction (RVEFCMR <45%) was assessed using the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROCC). RIMP, FAC and S′ demonstrated no predictive value for poor RV function (AUROCC <0.61, P > 0.05). TAPSE performed marginally better with an AUROCC of 0.65 (P = 0.04). RV-GPLS and RV-FWPLS demonstrated good predictive ability with AUROCC’s of 0.74 and 0.76 respectively (P < 0.01 for both). This study demonstrates that the conventional TTE parameters of RV systolic function are inadequate following lung resection. Longitudinal strain performs better and offers some ability to determine poor RV function in this challenging population.

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

Sothinathan Gurunathan and Roxy Senior

Summary

We present the case of a 32-year-old man who presented with a remote history of chest pain and was diagnosed with non-compaction cardiomyopathy on echocardiography. On presentation, he was relatively asymptomatic with normal cardiac function. Unfortunately, he presented 1 year later with a catastrophic embolic stroke.

Learning points:

  • Left ventricular non-compaction (LVNC) is a myocardial disorder characterised by prominent left ventricular (LV) trabeculae, a thin compacted layer and deep intertrabecular recesses.

  • Two-dimensional echocardiography with colour Doppler is the study of choice for diagnosis and follow-up of LVNC. CMR serves an important role where adequate echocardiographic imaging cannot be obtained.

  • LVNC is associated with high rates of mortality and morbidity in adults, including heart failure, thromboembolic events and tachyarrhythmias.

Open access

Real Lebeau, Karim Serri, Maria Di Lorenzo, Claude Sauvé, Van Hoai Viet Le, Vicky Soulières, Malak El-Rayes, Maude Pagé, Chimène Zaïani, Jérôme Garot and Frédéric Poulin

Background

Simpson biplane method and 3D by transthoracic echocardiography (TTE), radionuclide angiography (RNA) and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) are the most accepted techniques for left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) assessment. Wall motion score index (WMSI) by TTE is an accepted complement. However, the conversion from WMSI to LVEF is obtained through a regression equation, which may limit its use. In this retrospective study, we aimed to validate a new method to derive LVEF from the wall motion score in 95 patients.

Methods

The new score consisted of attributing a segmental EF to each LV segment based on the wall motion score and averaging all 16 segmental EF into a global LVEF. This segmental EF score was calculated on TTE in 95 patients, and RNA was used as the reference LVEF method. LVEF using the new segmental EF 15-40-65 score on TTE was compared to the reference methods using linear regression and Bland–Altman analyses.

Results

The median LVEF was 45% (interquartile range 32–53%; range from 15 to 65%). Our new segmental EF 15-40-65 score derived on TTE correlated strongly with RNA-LVEF (r = 0.97). Overall, the new score resulted in good agreement of LVEF compared to RNA (mean bias 0.61%). The standard deviations (s.d.s) of the distributions of inter-method difference for the comparison of the new score with RNA were 6.2%, indicating good precision.

Conclusion

LVEF assessment using segmental EF derived from the wall motion score applied to each of the 16 LV segments has excellent correlation and agreement with a reference method.

Open access

Sara Di Michele, Francesca Mirabelli, Domenico Galzerano and Sunil Mankad

Summary

We present a 74-year-old male with a chondrosarcoma, who presented with chest pain. The history, electrocardiogram (ECG), and biomarkers established the diagnosis of myocardial infarction (MI); angiography did not show coronary atherosclerosis and, both initial transthoracic echocardiogram and chest computed tomography (CT), did not demonstrate any cardiac abnormalities. A second echocardiogram following a routine ECG showed presence of a mass involving the right ventricle and the cardiac apex that was confirmed by chest CT scan. We underline the importance of considering cardiac tumors in the clinical arena of MI management.

Learning points

  • Cardiac tumors cause ECG changes similar to ischemic heart diseases.

  • Keep in mind cardiac tumors when performing transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) in the setting of suspected MI.

  • TTE is the technique of choice in detecting cardiac tumors.

Open access

Victoria Pettemerides, Thomas Turner, Conor Steele and Anita Macnab

Introduction

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.

Methods

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.

Results

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%.

Conclusion

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.

Open access

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.