Quantitative analysis is an important part of the morphological assessment of the diseased mitral valve. It can be used to describe valve anatomy, pathology, function and the mechanisms of disease. Echocardiography is the main source of indirect quantitative data that is comparable with direct anatomic or surgical measurements. Furthermore, it can relate morphology with function. This review provides an account of current mitral valve quantification techniques and clinical applications.
Madalina Garbi and Mark J Monaghan
Sitara G Khan, Dimitris Klettas, Stam Kapetanakis, and Mark J Monaghan
Cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) can profoundly improve outcome in selected patients with heart failure; however, response is difficult to predict and can be absent in up to one in three patients. There has been a substantial amount of interest in the echocardiographic assessment of left ventricular dyssynchrony, with the ultimate aim of reliably identifying patients who will respond to CRT. The measurement of myocardial deformation (strain) has conventionally been assessed using tissue Doppler imaging (TDI), which is limited by its angle dependence and ability to measure in a single plane. Two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography is a technique that provides measurements of strain in three planes, by tracking patterns of ultrasound interference (‘speckles’) in the myocardial wall throughout the cardiac cycle. Since its initial use over 15 years ago, it has emerged as a tool that provides more robust, reproducible and sensitive markers of dyssynchrony than TDI. This article reviews the use of two-dimensional and three-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography in the assessment of dyssynchrony, including the identification of echocardiographic parameters that may hold predictive potential for the response to CRT. It also reviews the application of these techniques in guiding optimal LV lead placement pre-implant, with promising results in clinical improvement post-CRT.
Alexandros Papachristidis, Damian Roper, Daniela Cassar Demarco, Ioannis Tsironis, Michael Papitsas, Jonathan Byrne, Khaled Alfakih, and Mark J Monaghan
In this study, we aim to reassess the prognostic value of stress echocardiography (SE) in a contemporary population and to evaluate the clinical significance of limited apical ischaemia, which has not been previously studied.
We included 880 patients who underwent SE. Follow-up data with regards to MACCE (cardiac death, myocardial infarction, any repeat revascularisation and cerebrovascular accident) were collected over 12 months after the SE. Mortality data were recorded over 27.02 ± 4.6 months (5.5–34.2 months). We sought to investigate the predictors of MACCE and all-cause mortality.
In a multivariable analysis, only the positive result of SE was predictive of MACCE (HR, 3.71; P = 0.012). The positive SE group was divided into 2 subgroups: (a) inducible ischaemia limited to the apical segments (‘apical ischaemia’) and (b) ischaemia in any other segments with or without apical involvement (‘other positive’). The subgroup of patients with apical ischaemia had a significantly worse outcome compared to the patients with a negative SE (HR, 3.68; P = 0.041) but a similar outcome to the ‘other positive’ subgroup. However, when investigated with invasive coronary angiography, the prevalence of coronary artery disease (CAD) and their rate of revascularisation was considerably lower. Only age (HR, 1.07; P < 0.001) was correlated with all-cause mortality.
SE remains a strong predictor of patients’ outcome in a contemporary population. A positive SE result was the only predictor of 12-month MACCE. The subgroup of patients with limited apical ischaemia have similar outcome to patients with ischaemia in other segments despite a lower prevalence of CAD and a lower revascularisation rate.
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.
Cameron Dockerill, William Woodward, Annabelle McCourt, Cristiana Monteiro, Elena Benedetto, Maria Paton, David Oxborough, Shaun Robinson, Keith Pearce, Mark J Monaghan, Daniel X Augustine, and Paul Leeson
Healthcare delivery is being transformed by COVID-19 to reduce transmission risk but continued delivery of routine clinical tests is essential. Stress echocardiography is one of the most widely used cardiac tests in the NHS. We assessed the impact of the first (W1) and second (W2) waves of the pandemic on the ability to deliver stress echocardiography.
Clinical echocardiography teams in 31 NHS hospitals participating in the EVAREST study were asked to complete a survey on the structure and delivery of stress echocardiography as well as its impact on patients and staff in July and November 2020. Results were compared to stress echocardiography activity in the same centre during January 2020.
24 completed the survey in July, and 19 NHS hospitals completed the survey in November. A 55% reduction in the number of studies performed was reported in W1, recovering to exceed pre-COVID rates in W2. The major change was in the mode of stress delivery. 70% of sites stopped their exercise stress service in W1, compared to 19% in W2. In those still using exercise during W1, 50% were wearing FFP3/N95 masks, falling to 38% in W2. There was also significant variability in patient screening practices with 7 different pre-screening questionnaires used in W1 and 6 in W2.
Stress echocardiography delivery restarted effectively after COVID-19 with adaptations to reduce transmission that means activity has been able to continue, and exceed, pre-COVID-19 levels during the second wave. Further standardization of protocols for patient screening and PPE may help further improve consistency of practice within the United Kingdom.