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Open access

H C Sinclair, P Russhard, C H Critoph and C D Steadman

Summary

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.

Learning points:

  • 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.
Open access

Robert M Cooper, Adeel Shahzad, James Newton, Niels Vejlstrup, Anna Axelsson, Vishal Sharma, OIiver Ormerod and Rodney H Stables

Alcohol septal ablation (ASA) in hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy reduces left ventricular outflow tract gradients. A third of patients do not respond; inaccurate localisation of the iatrogenic infarct can be responsible. Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) using myocardial contrast can be difficult in the laboratory environment. Intra-cardiac echocardiography (ICE) provides high-quality images. We aimed to assess ICE against TTE in ASA. The ability of ICE and TTE to assess three key domains (mitral valve (MV) anatomy and systolic anterior motion, visualisation of target septum, adjacent structures) was evaluated in 20 consecutive patients undergoing ASA. Two independent experts scored paired TTE and ICE images off line for each domain in both groups. The ability to see myocardial contrast following septal arterial injection was also assessed by the cardiologist performing ASA. In patients undergoing ASA, ICE was superior in viewing MV anatomy (P=0.02). TTE was superior in assessing adjacent structures (P=0.002). There was no difference in assessing target septum. Myocardial contrast: ICE did not clearly identify the area of contrast in 17/19 patients due to dense acoustic shadowing (8/19) and inadequate opacification of the myocardium (6/19). ICE only clearly localised contrast in 2/19 cases. ICE does not visualise myocardial contrast well and therefore cannot be used to guide ASA. TTE was substantially better at viewing myocardial contrast. There was no significant difference between ICE and TTE in the overall ability to comment on cardiac anatomy relevant to ASA.

Open access

Kelly Victor, Nicholas A Barrett, Stuart Gillon, Abigail Gowland, Christopher I S Meadows and Nicholas Ioannou

Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) is an advanced form of organ support indicated in selected cases of severe cardiovascular and respiratory failure. Echocardiography is an invaluable diagnostic and monitoring tool in all aspects of ECMO support. The unique nature of ECMO, and its distinct effects upon cardio-respiratory physiology, requires the echocardiographer to have a sound understanding of the technology and its interaction with the patient. In this article, we introduce the key concepts underpinning commonly used modes of ECMO and discuss the role of echocardiography.

Case

A 38-year-old lady, with no significant past medical history, was admitted to her local hospital with group A Streptococcal pneumonia. Rapidly progressive respiratory failure ensued and, despite intubation and maximal ventilatory support, adequate oxygenation proved impossible. She was attended by the regional severe respiratory failure service who established her on veno-venous (VV)-ECMO for respiratory support. Systemic oxygenation improved; however, significant cardiovascular compromise was encountered and echocardiography demonstrated a severe septic cardiomyopathy (ejection fraction <15%, aortic velocity time integral 5.9 cm and mitral regurgitation dP/dt 672 mmHg/s). Her ECMO support was consequently converted to a veno-veno-arterial configuration, thus providing additional haemodynamic support. As the sepsis resolved, arterial ECMO support was weaned under echocardiographic guidance; subsequent resolution of intrinsic respiratory function allowed the weaning of VV-ECMO support. The patient was liberated from ECMO 7 days after hospital admission.

Open access

Robert M Cooper, Adeel Shahzad and Rodney H Stables

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a highly heterogeneous disease with varied patterns of hypertrophy. Basal septal hypertrophy and systolic anterior motion (SAM) of the mitral valve (MV) are the key pathophysiological components to left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) obstruction in HCM. LVOT is associated with higher morbidity and mortality in patients with HCM. Percutaneous septal reduction therapy with alcohol septal ablation (ASA) can lead to a significant improvement in left ventricle haemodynamics, patient symptoms and perhaps prognosis. ASA delivers pure alcohol to an area of myocardium via septal coronary arteries; this creates damage to tissue akin to a myocardial infarction. The basal septal myocardium involved in SAM–septal contact is the target for this iatrogenic infarct. Appropriate patient selection and accurate delivery of alcohol are critical to safe and effective ASA. Securing the correct diagnosis and ensuring suitable cardiac anatomy are essential before considering ASA. Pre-procedural planning and intra-procedural imaging guidance are important to delivering precise damage to the desired area. The procedure is performed worldwide and is generally safe; the need for a pacemaker is the most prominent complication. It is successful in the majority of patients but room for improvement exists. New techniques have been proposed to perform percutaneous septal reduction. We present a review of the relevant pathophysiology, current methods and a summary of available evidence for ASA. We also provide a glimpse into emerging techniques to deliver percutaneous septal reduction therapy.

Open access

Jet van Zalen, Nikhil R Patel, Steven J Podd, Prashanth Raju, Rob McIntosh, Gary Brickley, Louisa Beale, Lydia P Sturridge and Guy W L Lloyd

Resting echocardiography measurements are poor predictors of exercise capacity and symptoms in patients with heart failure (HF). Stress echocardiography may provide additional information and can be expressed using left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), or diastolic parameters (E/E′), but LVEF has some major limitations. Systolic annular velocity (S′) provides a measure of longitudinal systolic function, which is relatively easy to obtain and shows a good relationship with exercise capacity. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship among S′, E/E′ and LVEF obtained during stress echocardiography and both mortality and hospitalisation. A secondary objective was to compare S′ measured using a simplified two-wall model. A total of 80 patients with stable HF underwent exercise stress echocardiography and simultaneous cardiopulmonary exercise testing. Volumetric and tissue velocity imaging (TVI) measurements were obtained, as was peak oxygen uptake (VO2 peak). Of the total number of patients, 11 died and 22 required cardiac hospitalisation. S′ at peak exertion was a powerful predictor for death and hospitalisation. Cut-off points of 5.3 cm/s for death and 5.7 cm/s for hospitalisation provided optimum sensitivity and specificity. This study suggests that, in patients with systolic HF, S′ at peak exertion calculated from the averaged spectral TVI systolic velocity of six myocardial segments, or using a simplified measure of two myocardial segments, is a powerful predictor of future events and stronger than LVEF, diastolic velocities at rest or exercise and VO2 peak. Results indicate that measuring S′ during exercise echocardiography might play an important role in understanding the likelihood of adverse clinical outcomes in patients with HF.

Open access

Yau-Huei Lai, Chun-Ho Yun, Cheng-Huang Su, Fei-Shih Yang, Hung-I Yeh, Charles Jia-Yin Hou, Tung-Hsin Wu, Ricardo C Cury, Hiram G Bezerra and Chung-Lieh Hung

Abstract

Purpose

Pericardial adipose tissue had been shown to exert local effects on adjacent cardiac structures. Data regarding the mechanistic link between such measures and left atrial (LA) structural/functional remodeling, a clinical hallmark of early stage heart failure (HF) and atrial fibrillation (AF) incidence, in asymptomatic population remain largely unexplored.

Methods

This retrospective analysis includes 356 subjects free from significant valvular disorders, atrial fibrillation, or clinical HF. Regional adipose tissue including pericardial and periaortic fat volumes, interatrial septal (IAS), and left atrioventricular groove (AVG) fat thickness were all measured by multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) (Aquarius 3D Workstation, TeraRecon, San Mateo, CA, USA). We measured LA volumes, booster performance, reservoir capacity as well as conduit function, and analyzed their association with adiposity measures.

Results

All four adiposity measures were positively associated with greater LA volumes (all P < 0.05), while IAS and AVG fat were also related to larger LA kinetic energy and worse reservoir capacity (both P < 0.01). In multivariate models, IAS fat thickness remained independently associated with larger LA volumes, increased LA kinetic energy and ejection force (β-coef: 0.17 & 0.15, both P < 0.05), and impaired LA reservoir and conduit function (β-coef: −0.20 & −0.12, both P < 0.05) after adjusting for clinical variables.

Conclusion

Accumulated visceral adiposity, especially interatrial fat depots, was associated with certain LA structural/functional remodeling characterized by impaired LA reservoir and conduit function though augmented kinetic energy and ejection performance. Our data suggested that interatrial fat burden may be associated with certain detrimental LA functions with compensatory LA adaptation in an asymptomatic population.

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

P Luke, C Eggett, I Spyridopoulos and T Irvine

At present there are two recognised guidelines for the echocardiographic assessment of left ventricular diastolic function provided by the British Society of Echocardiography and American Society of Echocardiography/European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging. However, no direct comparison of these guidelines has been performed to establish whether they provide similar diastolic grading. One hundred and eighty-nine consecutive patients in sinus rhythm who underwent transthoracic echocardiography for a primary indication of either heart failure assessment or assessment of left ventricular systolic function were extracted from our database (McKesson Cardiology). Left ventricular diastolic function assessment was performed using both guidelines and the results were compared. Chi-square, Kappa score and one-way ANOVA were used to evaluate the data at a level of P < 0.05. The most frequent outcome was unclassifiable diastolic function with significantly more patients being labelled unclassified with the British compared to American guidelines (47.4 vs 20.5%, P < 0.0001). Having excluded all unclassifiable patients, a significant difference still existed between the two guidelines with a higher proportion of grade one outcomes awarded by the ASE/EACVI guidelines. When grading subcategories were individually compared, there was significantly more grade one diastolic gradings awarded by American compared to the British guidelines (40.7 vs 20.1%, P < 0.0001). In 47% of patients it was not possible to grade diastolic function using the British guidelines, compared to 21% using the American guidelines. For those patients where grading was possible, there was a significant difference in patients classified with normal and grade one diastolic function when using British and American guidelines.

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

C Bleakley, M Eskandari, O Aldalati, K Moschonas, M Huang, A Whittaker and M J Monaghan

Background

The mitral valve orifice area (MVOA) is difficult to assess accurately by 2D echocardiography because of geometric assumptions; therefore, 3D planimetry may offer advantages. We studied the differences in MVOA measurements between the most frequently used methods, to determine if 3D planimetry would result in the re-grading of severity in any cases, and whether it was a more accurate predictor of clinical outcomes.

Methods

This was a head-to-head comparison of the three most commonly used techniques to grade mitral stenosis (MS) by orifice area and to assess their impact on clinical outcomes. 2D measurements (pressure half-time (PHT), planimetry) and 3D planimetry were performed retrospectively on patients with at least mild MS. The clinical primary endpoint was defined as a composite of MV balloon valvotomy, mitral valve repair or replacement (MVR) and/or acute heart failure (HF) admissions.

Results

Forty-one consecutive patients were included; the majority were female (35; 85.4%), average age 55 (17) years. Mean and peak MV gradients were 9.4 (4) mmHg and 19 (6) mmHg, respectively. 2D and 3D measures of MVOA differed significantly; mean 2D planimetry MVOA was 1.28 (0.40) cm2, mean 3D planimetry MVOA 1.15 (0.29) cm2 (P = 0.003). Mean PHT MVOA was 1.43 (0.44) cm2 (P = 0.046 and P < 0.001 in comparison to 2D and 3D planimetry methods, respectively). 3D planimetry reclassified 7 (17%) patients from mild-to-moderate MS, and 1 (2.4%) from moderate to severe. Overall, differences between the two methods were significant (X 2, P < 0.001). Only cases graded as severe by 3D predicted the primary outcome measure compared with mild or moderate cases (odds ratio 5.7).

Conclusion

3D planimetry in MS returns significantly smaller measurements, which in some cases results in the reclassification of severity. Routine use of 3D may significantly influence the management of MS, with a degree of prediction of clinical outcomes.