The incidence of significant obesity is rising across the globe. These patients often have a clustering of cardiovascular risk factors and are frequently referred for noninvasive cardiac imaging tests. Stress echocardiography (SE) is widely used for assessment of patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease (CAD), but its clinical utility in morbidly obese patients (in whom image quality may suffer due to body habitus) has been largely unknown. The recently published Stress Ultrasonography in Morbid Obesity (SUMO) study has shown that SE, when performed appropriately with ultrasound contrast agents (whether performed with physiological or pharmacological stress), has excellent feasibility and appropriately risk stratifies morbidly obese patients, including identification of patients who require revascularization. This article reviews the evidence supporting the use of echocardiographic techniques in morbidly obese patients for assessment of known or suspected CAD and briefly discusses other noninvasive modalities, including magnetic resonance and nuclear techniques, comparing and contrasting these techniques against SE.
Benoy N Shah and Roxy Senior
Sothinathan Gurunathan and Roxy Senior
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.
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.
Nuno Pires, Wei Li, Roxy Senior and Rajdeep S Khattar
A rare isolated double orifice mitral valve (DOMV) was diagnosed in a 77-year-old male patient, being assessed for surgical repair of the ascending aorta. This is a rare congenital abnormality, usually discovered as an incidental finding during investigation of other congenital heart defects. This case shows that a detailed assessment of all cardiac structures is necessary, not only in young patients, but also in the elderly population, to minimise the under-diagnosis of such rare anomalies. The use of 3D transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) has an increasingly significant role in establishing the diagnosis and extending the morphological and functional understanding of the anomaly.
Thoroughly assessing all cardiac structures, in accordance with the minimum dataset guidelines for transthoracic echocardiography, ensures not only a comprehensive assessment of the primary indication for the scan, but also improves the detection of concomitant and otherwise unknown lesions.
Despite falling under the category of congenital heart defects, several rare anomalies such as DOMV can be present in elderly patients, and the adult echocardiographer should have appropriate knowledge and awareness for detecting these conditions.
3D TTE provides a comprehensive assessment of the morphology of DOMV, over and above the information obtained by 2D imaging.
Benoy N Shah, Anita MacNab, Jane Lynch, Reinette Hampson, Roxy Senior and Richard P Steeds
Stress echocardiography is a widely utilised test in patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease (CAD), valvular heart disease and cardiomyopathies. Its advantages include the ubiquitous availability of echocardiography, lack of ionising radiation, choice of physiological or pharmacological stressors, good diagnostic accuracy and robust supporting evidence base. SE has evolved significantly as a technique over the past three decades and has benefitted considerably from improvements in overall image quality (superior resolution), machine technology (e.g. digital cine-loop acquisition and side-by-side image display) and development of second-generation ultrasound contrast agents that have improved reader confidence and diagnostic accuracy. The purpose of this article is to review the breadth of SE in contemporary clinical cardiology and discuss the recently launched British Society of Echocardiography (BSE) Stress Echocardiography accreditation scheme.
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.
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.