Normal values provide the background for interpretation of quantitative imaging data and thus are essential information for daily routine. Nevertheless, the ways how normal values are obtained, presented and interpreted, often do not receive the attention they deserve. We review the concepts of normalcy, the implications of typical normal ranges including the types of distribution of normal data, the possibilities to index for confounding biological factors like body surface area and the limitations of the very concept of normal values, demonstrating that there are no easy statistical solutions for difficult clinical problems.
Frank A Flachskampf and Petros Nihoyannopoulos
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.
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.
Apostolos Vrettos, David Dawson, Chrysanthos Grigoratos and Petros Nihoyannopoulos
In this study, we investigate the correlation between reduced global longitudinal peak systolic strain (GLPSS) and the SYNTAX score (SS) in patients undergoing coronary angiography.
We examined 71 patients undergoing both echocardiogram and coronary angiography within 15 days. All patients had normal global and/or regional wall motion on resting echocardiogram. We calculated GLPSS using two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography. SS was calculated for each group of patients based on the presence and/or the severity of coronary artery disease (CAD): no CAD on angiogram (n=10, control group), low SS (n=36, SS<22) and high SS (n=25, SS≥22). We hypothesised that GLPSS at rest is inversely correlated with the angiographically derived SS.
Age, sex and most of the risk factors were equally distributed among the groups. There was a significant inverse correlation between GLPSS and SS values (r 2=0.3869, P<0.001). This correlation was weaker in the low-SS group (r 2=0.1332, P<0.05), whereas it was lost in the high-SS group (r 2=0.0002, P=NS). Receiver operating characteristic curve analysis identified that the optimal cut-off for the detection of high-SS patients was 13.95% (sensitivity=71%, specificity=90%, P<0.001).
The results of our study suggest that GLPSS might be promising for the detection of patients with high SYNTAX score on coronary angiogram. There is an inverse correlation between resting GLPSS and SS as assessed by coronary angiography. In patients with the highest SS, however, the correlation with GLPSS was less significant.
Anne Ringle, Anne Dornhorst, Michaela B Rehman, Cristina Ruisanchez and Petros Nihoyannopoulos
We sought to assess the long-term evolution of left ventricular (LV) function using two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) speckle tracking echocardiography (STE) for the detection of preclinical diabetic cardiomyopathy, in asymptomatic type 1 diabetic patients, over a 6-year follow-up.
Design and methods
Sixty-six asymptomatic type 1 diabetic patients with no cardiovascular risk factors were compared to 26 matched healthy controls. Conventional, 2D and 3D-STE were performed at baseline. A subgroup of 14 patients underwent a 6-year follow-up evaluation.
At baseline, diabetic patients had similar LV ejection fraction (60 vs 61%; P = NS), but impaired longitudinal function, as assessed by 2D-global longitudinal strain (GLS) (−18.9 ± 2 vs −20.5 ± 2; P = 0.0002) and 3D-GLS (−17.5 ± 2 vs −19 ± 2; P = 0.003). At follow-up, diabetic patients had worsened longitudinal function compared to baseline (2D-GLS: −18.4 ± 1 vs −19.2 ± 1; P = 0.03). Global circumferential (GCS) and radial (GRS) strains were unchanged at baseline and during follow-up. Metabolic status did not correlate with GLS, whereas GCS and GRS showed a good correlation, suggestive of a compensatory increase of circumferential and radial functions in advanced stages of the disease – long-term diabetes (GCS: −26 ± 3 vs −23.3 ± 3; P = 0.008) and in the presence of microvascular complications (GRS: 38.8 ± 9 vs 34.3 ± 8; P = 0.04).
Subclinical myocardial dysfunction can be detected by 2D and 3D-STE in type 1 diabetic patients, independently of any other cardiovascular risk factors. Diabetic cardiomyopathy progression was suggested by a mild decrease in longitudinal function at the follow-up, but did not extend to a clinical expression of the disease, as no death or over heart failure was reported.
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.
Bushra S Rana, Shaun Robinson, Rajeevan Francis, Mark Toshner, Martin J Swaans, Sharad Agarwal, Ravi de Silva, Amer A Rana and Petros Nihoyannopoulos
Tricuspid regurgitation natural history and treatment remains poorly understood. Right ventricular function is a key factor in determining prognosis, timing for intervention and longer-term outcome. The right ventricle is a thin walled chamber with a predominance of longitudinal fibres and a shared ventricular septum. In health, the low-pressure pulmonary circulation results in a highly compliant RV well equipped to respond to changes in preload but sensitive to even small alterations in afterload. In Part 1 of this article, discussion focuses on key principles of ventricular function assessment and the importance of right ventricular chamber size, volumes and ejection fraction, particularly in risk stratification in tricuspid regurgitation. Part 2 of this article provides an understanding of the causes of tricuspid regurgitation in the contemporary era, with emphasis on key patient groups and their management.
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
Pulmonary hypertension is defined as a mean arterial pressure of ≥25 mmHg as confirmed on right heart catheterisation. Traditionally, the pulmonary arterial systolic pressure has been estimated on echo by utilising the simplified Bernoulli equation from the peak tricuspid regurgitant velocity and adding this to an estimate of right atrial pressure. Previous studies have demonstrated a correlation between this estimate of pulmonary arterial systolic pressure and that obtained from invasive measurement across a cohort of patients. However, for an individual patient significant overestimation and underestimation can occur and the levels of agreement between the two is poor. Recent guidance has suggested that echocardiographic assessment of pulmonary hypertension should be limited to determining the probability of pulmonary hypertension being present rather than estimating the pulmonary artery pressure. In those patients in whom the presence of pulmonary hypertension requires confirmation, this should be done with right heart catheterisation when indicated. This guideline protocol from the British Society of Echocardiography aims to outline a practical approach to assessing the probability of pulmonary hypertension using echocardiography and should be used in conjunction with the previously published minimum dataset for a standard transthoracic echocardiogram.