Strain imaging provides an accessible, feasible and non-invasive technique to assess cardiac mechanics. Speckle tracking echocardiography (STE) is the primary modality with the utility for detection of subclinical ventricular dysfunction. Investigation and adoption of this technique has increased significantly in both the research and clinical environment. It is therefore important to provide information to guide the sonographer on the production of valid and reproducible data. The focus of this review is to (1) describe cardiac physiology and mechanics relevant to strain imaging, (2) discuss the concepts of strain imaging and STE and (3) provide a practical guide for the investigation and interpretation of cardiac mechanics using STE.
Christopher Johnson, Katherine Kuyt, David Oxborough, and Martin Stout
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
Sadie Bennett, Chun Wai Wong, Timothy Griffiths, Martin Stout, Jamal Nasir Khan, Simon Duckett, Grant Heatlie, and Chun Shing Kwok
Echocardiographic evaluation of left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) is used in the risk stratification of patients with an acute myocardial infarction (AMI). However, the prognostic value of the Tei index, an alternative measure of global cardiac function, in AMI patients is not well established.
We conducted a systematic review, using MEDLINE and EMBASE, to evaluate the prognostic value of the Tei index in predicting adverse outcomes in patients presenting with AMI. The data was collected and narratively synthesised.
A total of 16 studies were including in this review with 2886 participants (mean age was 60 years from 14 studies, the proportion of male patients 69.8% from 14 studies). Patient follow-up duration ranged from during the AMI hospitalisation stay to 57.8 months. Tei index showed a significant association with heart failure episodes, reinfarction, death and left ventricular thrombus formation in 14 out of the 16 studies. However, in one of these studies, Tei index was only significantly predictive of cardiac events in patients where LVEF was <40%. In two further studies, Tei index was not associated with predicting adverse outcomes once LVEF, left ventricular end-systolic volume index and left ventricular early filling time was taken into consideration. In the two remaining studies, there was no prognostic value of Tei index in relation to patient outcomes.
Tei index may be an important prognostic marker in AMI patients, however, more studies are needed to better understand when it should be used routinely within clinical practice.
Abbas Zaidi, Daniel S Knight, Daniel X Augustine, Allan Harkness, David Oxborough, Keith Pearce, Liam Ring, Shaun Robinson, Martin Stout, James Willis, Vishal Sharma, and the Education Committee of the British Society of Echocardiography
The structure and function of the right side of the heart is influenced by a wide range of physiological and pathological conditions. Quantification of right heart parameters is important in a variety of clinical scenarios including diagnosis, prognostication, and monitoring response to therapy. Although echocardiography remains the first-line imaging investigation for right heart assessment, published guidance is relatively sparse in comparison to that for the left ventricle. This guideline document from the British Society of Echocardiography describes the principles and practical aspects of right heart assessment by echocardiography, including quantification of chamber dimensions and function, as well as assessment of valvular function. While cut-off values for normality are included, a disease-oriented approach is advocated due to the considerable heterogeneity of structural and functional changes seen across the spectrum of diseases affecting the right heart. The complex anatomy of the right ventricle requires special considerations and echocardiographic techniques, which are set out in this document. The clinical relevance of right ventricular diastolic function is introduced, with practical guidance for its assessment. Finally, the relatively novel techniques of three-dimensional right ventricular echocardiography and right ventricular speckle tracking imaging are described. Despite these techniques holding considerable promise, issues relating to reproducibility and inter-vendor variation have limited their clinical utility to date.
Thomas Mathew, Lynne Williams, Govardhan Navaratnam, Bushra Rana, Richard Wheeler, Katherine Collins, Allan Harkness, Richard Jones, Dan Knight, Kevin O'Gallagher, David Oxborough, Liam Ring, Julie Sandoval, Martin Stout, Vishal Sharma, Richard P Steeds, and on behalf of the British Society of Echocardiography Education Committee
Heart failure (HF) is a debilitating and life-threatening condition, with 5-year survival rate lower than breast or prostate cancer. It is the leading cause of hospital admission in over 65s, and these admissions are projected to rise by more than 50% over the next 25 years. Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is the first-line step in diagnosis in acute and chronic HF and provides immediate information on chamber volumes, ventricular systolic and diastolic function, wall thickness, valve function and the presence of pericardial effusion, while contributing to information on aetiology. Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is the third most common cause of HF and is the most common cardiomyopathy. It is defined by the presence of left ventricular dilatation and left ventricular systolic dysfunction in the absence of abnormal loading conditions (hypertension and valve disease) or coronary artery disease sufficient to cause global systolic impairment. This document provides a practical approach to diagnosis and assessment of dilated cardiomyopathy that is aimed at the practising sonographer.
Shaun Robinson, Bushra Rana, David Oxborough, Richard P Steeds, Mark J Monaghan, Martin Stout, Keith Pearce, Allan Harkness, Liam Ring, Maria Paton, Waheed Akhtar, Radwa Bedair, Sanjeev Bhattacharyya, Katherine Collins, Cheryl Oxley, Julie Sandoval, Rebecca Schofield, Siva Anjana, Karen Parker, James Willis, and Daniel Xavier Augustine
Since cardiac ultrasound was introduced into medical practice around the middle twentieth century, transthoracic echocardiography has developed to become a highly sophisticated and widely performed cardiac imaging modality in the diagnosis of heart disease1. This evolution from an emerging technique with limited application, into a complex modality capable of detailed cardiac assessment has been driven by technological innovations that have both refined ‘standard’ two dimensional and Doppler imaging and led to the development of new diagnostic techniques. Accordingly, the adult transthoracic echocardiogram has evolved to become a comprehensive assessment of complex cardiac anatomy, function and haemodynamics. This guideline protocol from the British Society of Echocardiography aims to outline the minimum dataset required to confirm normal cardiac structure and function when performing a comprehensive standard adult echocardiogram and is structured according to the recommended sequence of acquisition. It is recommended that this structured approach to image acquisition and measurement protocol forms the basis of every standard adult transthoracic echocardiogram. However, when pathology is detected and further analysis becomes necessary, views and measurements in addition to the minimum dataset are required and should be taken with reference to the appropriate British Society of Echocardiography imaging protocol. It is anticipated that the recommendations made within this guideline will help standardise the local, regional and national practice of echocardiography, in addition to minimising the inter and intra-observer variation associated with echocardiographic measurement and interpretation.
David Oxborough, Saqib Ghani, Allan Harkness, Guy Lloyd, William Moody, Liam Ring, Julie Sandoval, Roxy Senior, Nabeel Sheikh, Martin Stout, Victor Utomi, James Willis, Abbas Zaidi, and Richard Steeds
The aim of the study is to establish the impact of 2D echocardiographic methods on absolute values for aortic root dimensions and to describe any allometric relationship to body size. We adopted a nationwide cross-sectional prospective multicentre design using images obtained from studies utilising control groups or where specific normality was being assessed. A total of 248 participants were enrolled with no history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension or abnormal findings on echocardiography. Aortic root dimensions were measured at the annulus, the sinus of Valsalva, the sinotubular junction, the proximal ascending aorta and the aortic arch using the inner edge and leading edge methods in both diastole and systole by 2D echocardiography. All dimensions were scaled allometrically to body surface area (BSA), height and pulmonary artery diameter. For all parameters with the exception of the aortic annulus, dimensions were significantly larger in systole (P<0.05). All aortic root and arch measurements were significantly larger when measured using the leading edge method compared with the inner edge method (P<0.05). Allometric scaling provided a b exponent of BSA0.6 in order to achieve size independence. Similarly, ratio scaling to height in subjects under the age of 40 years also produced size independence. In conclusion, the largest aortic dimensions occur in systole while using the leading edge method. Reproducibility of measurement, however, is better when assessing aortic dimensions in diastole. There is an allometric relationship to BSA and, therefore, allometric scaling in the order of BSA0.6 provides a size-independent index that is not influenced by the age or gender.
David Oxborough, Daniel Augustine, Sabiha Gati, Keith George, Allan Harkness, Thomas Mathew, Michael Papadakis, Liam Ring, Shaun Robinson, Julie Sandoval, Rizwan Sarwar, Sanjay Sharma, Vishal Sharma, Nabeel Sheikh, John Somauroo, Martin Stout, James Willis, and Abbas Zaidi
Sudden cardiac death (SCD) in an athlete is a rare but tragic event. In view of this, pre-participation cardiac screening is mandatory across many sporting disciplines to identify those athletes at risk. Echocardiography is a primary investigation utilized in the pre-participation setting and in 2013 the British Society of Echocardiography and Cardiac Risk in the Young produced a joint policy document providing guidance on the role of echocardiography in this setting. Recent developments in our understanding of the athlete’s heart and the application of echocardiography have prompted this 2018 update.