Strain Rate

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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006 Apr 7;47(7):1313-27. Epub 2006 Mar 20.
Measurement of strain and strain rate by echocardiography: ready for prime time?
Marwick TH.
University of Queensland Department of Medicine, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane, Australia.

Strain and strain rate (SR) are measures of deformation that are basic descriptors of both the nature and the function of cardiac tissue. These properties may now be measured using either Doppler or two-dimensional ultrasound techniques. Although these measurements are feasible in routine clinical echocardiography, their acquisition and analysis nonetheless presents a number of technical challenges and complexities. Echocardiographic strain and SR imaging has been applied to the assessment of resting ventricular function, the assessment of myocardial viability using low-dose dobutamine infusion, and stress testing for ischemia. Resting function assessment has been applied in both the left and the right ventricles, and may prove particularly valuable for identifying myocardial diseases and following up the treatment response. Although the evidence base is limited, SR imaging seems to be feasible and effective for the assessment of myocardial viability. The use of the technique for the detection of ischemia during stress echocardiography is technically challenging and likely to evolve further. The clinical availability of strain and SR measurement may offer a solution to the ongoing need for quantification of regional and global cardiac function. Nonetheless, these techniques are susceptible to artifact, and further technical development is necessary.

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2006 Mar;19(3):243-8.
Prediction of subclinical left ventricular dysfunction with strain rate imaging in patients with mild to moderate rheumatic mitral stenosis.
Dogan S, Aydin M, Gursurer M, Dursun A, Onuk T, Madak H.
Department of Cardiology, School of Medicine, Zonguldak Karaelmas University, Zonguldak, Turkey.

BACKGROUND: Left ventricular (LV) long-axis function evaluated by Doppler tissue echocardiography-derived strain rate (SR) imaging has been shown to be a useful index of LV systolic function; however, it has not been evaluated in patients with mitral stenosis (MS). We examined the LV long-axis function of patients with pure MS and normal global systolic function as assessed by LV ejection fraction. METHOD: In all, 30 patients (22 women; 45 +/- 9 years) with mild to moderate MS (mitral valve area = 1.5 +/- 0.3 cm2) and 28 healthy volunteers (20 women; 44 +/- 10 years) were evaluated by both conventional and Doppler tissue echocardiography. Two-dimensional Doppler tissue echocardiography was performed in the apical 4-chamber view in the septal and lateral wall on the mitral annular level. Peak systolic myocardial SR and end-systolic strain data were measured for both segments. RESULTS: Peak systolic SR (1.2 +/- 0.4% vs 1.8 +/- 0.39%, P < .001) and end-systolic strain (10 +/- 5 vs 25 +/- 6 s(-1), P < .001) were both significantly lower in patients with MS than in control subjects. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with MS had significantly impaired long-axis function evaluated by Doppler tissue echocardiography-derived SR imaging despite normal global systolic function.

Expert Rev Med Devices. 2006 Mar;3(2):207-14.
Currently available technology for echocardiographic assessment of left ventricular function.
Galderisi M, Olibet M, Sidiropulos M, Innelli P, D'Errico A, de Divitiis O.
Universita Federico II, Laboratory of Echocardiography, Division of Cardioangiology with CCU, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, School of Medicine, Naples, Italy.

New ultrasound technology is mainly represented by tissue Doppler (TD), which allows the quantitative analysis of myocardial function and includes two modalies: pulsed-wave TD and color TD. Strain rate imaging (SRI) is an implementation of color TD. Pulsed-wave TD, performed and analyzed in real time, instantaneously measures myocardial velocities. Color TD, performed offline on digitally stored images, allows the quantification of mean myocardial velocities. The advantage of color TD compared with pulsed TD is the ability to simultaneously analyze multiple myocardial segments. The limit of both these methodologies consists of the myocardial velocity dependence by the base-apex myocardial gradient. SRI measures the rate and percentage of myocardial wall deformation. From digitally recorded color TD cine loops containing velocity data from the entire myocardium, SRI can be derived from regional Doppler velocity gradients. Strain rate is relatively load dependent, and, therefore, can be considered a strong index of myocardial contractility. Due to these favorable characteristics, SRI may potentially overcome the limitations of color TD, discriminating between active and merely passive wall motion. A novel technique is the implementation of 2D SRI, which is not angle dependent, and therefore potentially more feasible and reliable.

Circulation. 2005 Dec 20;112(25):3892-900.
Incremental value of strain rate analysis as an adjunct to wall-motion scoring for assessment of myocardial viability by dobutamine echocardiography: a follow-up study after revascularization.
Hanekom L, Jenkins C, Jeffries L, Case C, Mundy J, Hawley C, Marwick TH.
Princess Alexandra Hospital, Department of Medicine, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.

BACKGROUND: Assessment of myocardial viability based on wall-motion scoring (WMS) during dobutamine echocardiography (DbE) is difficult and subjective. Strain-rate imaging (SRI) is quantitative, but its incremental value over WMS for prediction of functional recovery after revascularization is unclear. METHODS AND RESULTS: DbE and SRI were performed in 55 stable patients (mean age, 64+/-10 years; mean ejection fraction, 36+/-8%) with previous myocardial infarction. Viability was predicted by WMS if function augmented during low-dose DbE. SR, end-systolic strain (ESS), postsystolic strain (PSS), and timing parameters were analyzed at rest and with low-dose DbE in abnormal segments. Regional and global functional recovery was defined by side-by-side comparison of echocardiographic images before and 9 months after revascularization. Of 369 segments with abnormal resting function, 146 showed regional recovery. Compared with segments showing functional recovery, those that failed to recover had lower low-dose DbE SR, SR increment (DeltaSR), ESS, and ESS increment (DeltaESS) (each P<0.005). After optimal cutoffs for the strain parameters were defined, the sensitivity of low-dose DbE SR (78%, P=0.3), DeltaSR (80%, P=0.1), ESS (75%, P=0.6), and DeltaESS (74%, P=0.8) was better though not significantly different from WMS (73%). The specificity of WMS (77%) was similar to the SRI parameters. Combination of WMS and SRI parameters augmented the sensitivity for prediction of functional recovery above WMS alone (82% versus 73%, P=0.015; area under the curve=0.88 versus 0.73, P<0.001), although specificities were comparable (80% versus 77%, P=0.2). CONCLUSIONS: The measurement of low-dose DbE SR and DeltaSR is feasible, and their combination with WMS assessment improves the sensitivity of viability assessment with DbE.

Curr Opin Cardiol. 2005 Sep;20(5):395-8.
Stress echocardiography for the diagnosis of coronary artery disease: progress towards quantification.
Pellikka PA.
Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: This review highlights recent progress in the quantitative approach to the interpretation of stress echocardiograms. Recent literature regarding the application of tissue Doppler and strain rate imaging for the diagnosis of coronary artery disease is summarized. RECENT FINDINGS: The high temporal and spatial resolution of tissue Doppler and strain rate imaging permit recognition of regional myocardial dysfunction. These techniques have been performed during low- and high-dose dobutamine stress echocardiography and have been applied to exercise echocardiography. During stress, the peak systolic velocity and early diastolic velocity increased to a greater degree in normal segments compared to ischemic segments. With tissue Doppler imaging, viable segments show increases in systolic velocities in contrast to infarcted segments. Presently, the feasibility of strain rate imaging is slightly less than that of conventional wall motion assessment. However, in preliminary studies, tissue Doppler parameters and especially strain rate parameters appear to offer advantages in accuracy compared to conventional wall motion assessment. SUMMARY: Tissue Doppler and strain rate imaging offer great promise for the accurate, reproducible quantification of regional myocardial function. Further studies are indicated to prove their accuracy, efficiency, and superiority over existing methods.

Z Kardiol. 2005 Aug;94(8):524-31.
Assessment of myocardial function of the systemic right ventricle in patients with D-transposition of the great arteries after atrial switch operation by tissue Doppler echocardiography.
Rentzsch A, Abd El Rahman MY, Hui W, Helweg A, Ewert P, Gutberlet M, Lange PE, Berger F, Abdul-Khaliq H.
Department for Congenital Heart Disease and Paediatric Cardiology, Deutsches Herzzentrum Berlin and Charite Universitatsmedizin, Berlin, Germany.

INTRODUCTION: The long-term follow-up of patients with D-transposition of the great arteries after atrial switch operation shows specific problems such as tricuspid valve insufficiency, rhythm disturbances and failure of the morphologic right ventricle in systemic position. Assessment of the myocardial contractility of the subaortic right ventricle by conventional echocardiography is limited. The usage of tissue Doppler echocardiography with strain combined with strain rate imaging provides a new approach for quantitative analysis of longitudinal myocardial function. The aim of this study was to assess patterns of wall motion and regional contractile function of the systemic right ventricle in patients after atrial switch operation for D-transposition of the great arteries and to compare them to those of normal subjects. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Twenty-four patients with Dtransposition of the great arteries after atrial switch operation with a mean age of 21.3 (range, 13 to 31) years and a postoperative period of 16.9 years were examined and compared to 22 control individuals with a mean age of 21.5 (range, 3 to 43) years. Tissue Doppler studies were obtained from apical 4- chamber view to determine regional systolic (Syst(T)) and diastolic (E(T), A(T)) velocities as well as E(T)/A(T) ratio at the basal free wall. The presystolic isovolumic contraction peak was assessed and the ratio of the presystolic peak velocity to the isovolumic acceleration time as the IVA index was calculated. Strain and peak systolic and diastolic strain rates were assessed on basal, middle and apical segments of the right ventricular free wall. Data obtained from the morphologic right systemic ventricle in patients were compared to those derived from the left and the right ventricle in controls. RESULTS: The right ventricular free wall systolic velocities were significantly reduced in patients compared to velocities obtained from the normal right and left ventricle. On the other hand, the IVA index was only reduced in patients compared to the IVA index in the normal subpulmonary right ventricle. Compared to data obtained from the normal systemic left ventricle, the IVA index in patients was not significantly different. In contrast, strain and strain rate parameters in all analyzed segments mostly showed a highly significant reduction compared to normal right and left ventricular data. CONCLUSION: Tissue Doppler echocardiography is a promising tool for the evaluation of regional myocardial contractile function of the morphologic right systemic ventricle in patients following atrial switch operation for D-transposition of the great arteries. Presystolic, systolic and diastolic regional ventricular function was reduced in the systemic right ventricle. However, further comparative studies using other quantitative parameters of global and regional myocardial function derived from cardiac catheterization or MRI should be performed in order to evaluate the reliability of tissue Doppler echocardiography for the assessment of global right ventricular function in these patients.

Echocardiography. 2005 Jul;22(6):525-32.
Myocardial postsystolic motion in ischemic and not ischemic myocardium: the clinical value of tissue Doppler.
Citro R, Galderisi M.
Department of Cardiology, San Luca Hospital, Vallo della Lucania, Salerno, Italy.

Postsystolic motion (PSM) is a delayed ejection motion of the myocardium occurring after the aortic valve closure, during a generally prolonged isovolumic relaxation time (IVRT). In this review we analyze the physiopathologic mechanisms underlying PSM and the contribution of tissue Doppler for its understanding. By using various techniques, this phenomenon has been described in experimental observations and related to myocardial ischemia produced by gradual or abrupt coronary occlusion. In clinical studies, it is associated with recovery of regional myocardial function. Tissue Doppler, providing a velocity map of myocardial motion, allows an easy, noninvasive detection of PSM in the clinical setting. PSM, as identified by tissue Doppler, appears a hallmark of myocardial ischemia and viability but it may occur also in nonischemic conditions as left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy and volume overload, left bundle branch block and even in normal individuals. Strain and strain rate (SR), obtainable by off-line color tissue Doppler, may be useful to identify the mechanisms underlying PSM since these measurements reflect, respectively, the intrinsic rate and the percentage of deformation of a given myocardial segment, and are relatively independent of both overall cardiac movement and tethering of the neighboring LV segments. By using SR imaging, the ratio of PSM to regional systolic longitudinal strain can be used to separate ischemic from nonischemic PSM and appears the best quantitative parameter to identify ischemia during dobutamine stress. A method to detect LV wall asynchrony and immediate benefit of cardiac resynchronization therapy has been developed combining the assessment of tissue-tracking (TT) derived delayed longitudinal contraction and of SR-derived PSM.

Cardiology. 2005;104(1):10-5. Epub 2005 May 28.
Do patients with right ventricular outflow tract ventricular arrhythmias have a normal right ventricular wall motion? A quantitative analysis compared to normal subjects.
Indik JH, Dallas WJ, Ovitt T, Wichter T, Gear K, Marcus FI.
Section of Cardiology, Sarver Heart Center, Tucson, AZ 85724-5037, USA.

BACKGROUND/AIM: Patients with ventricular ectopy from the right ventricular (RV) outflow tract (RVOT) are often referred for RV angiography to exclude disorders such as arrhythmogenic RV cardiomyopathy/dysplasia (ARVC/D). This is usually based on a qualitative assessment of the wall motion. We present a method to quantify the wall motion and to apply this method to compare patients with RVOT ectopy to normal subjects. METHODS: RV angiograms were analyzed from 19 normal subjects and 11 subjects with RVOT ventricular arrhythmias (RVOT arrhythmia subjects) who had no other clinical or other evidence for ARVC/D. By a newly developed computer-based method, RV contours were first traced from multiple frames spanning the entire cardiac cycle. The fractional change in area between contours was then calculated as a serial function of time and location to determine both total contour area change and timing of contour movement. Contour area strain, defined as the differential change in area between nearby regions, was also computed. RESULTS: The contour area change was greatest in the tricuspid valve region and least in the RVOT and midanterior regions. The onset of contraction was earliest in the RVOT region and latest in the apical, inferior, inferoapical, and subtricuspid valve regions. The contour strain was largest in superior tricuspid valve and inferior wall and near zero within the lateral tricuspid valve region. There were significant pairwise differences in contraction area, timing, and strain in the various regions. There were no significant differences between normal subjects and RVOT arrhythmia subjects. CONCLUSIONS: The RV wall motion is nonuniform in contour area change, strain, and timing of motion. Patients with RVOT ventricular ectopy demonstrate wall motion parameters similar to those of normal subjects. This technique should be applicable in analyzing RV wall motion in patients suspected of having ARVC/D. Copyright (c) 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel.

J Interv Cardiol. 2004 Dec;17(6):349-55.
Stress echocardiography: basics and noninvasive assessment of myocardial viability.
Nixdorff U.
Friedrich-Alexander-University, Erlangen-Nuernberg, Second Medical Clinic, Erlangen, Germany.

Myocardial viability within the infarct zone is an important determinant for left ventricular (LV) function recovery after interventional coronary revascularization. Echocardiographic techniques are highly valuable in identifying hibernation, especially in conjunction with dobutamine titration. Low doses may detect the inotropic reserve by significant enhancement of segmental wall motion abnormalities while high doses may surpass the ischemic threshold and wall motion deteriorates (biphasic response). According to the Task Forces on Clinical Application of Echocardiography by the American Heart Association (AHA) in cooperation with the American College of Cardiology (ACC), dobutamine echocardiography (DE) is officially recommended for the purpose of clinical decision making in respect of revascularization therapies (whether during the subacute infarct period or especially in chronic LV dysfunction due to coronary artery disease (CAD)). New methods such as strain rate imaging implemented in DE are on the way to give us quantitative measures of the amount of viability.

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2004 Oct;17(10):1021-9.
Two-dimensional strain-a novel software for real-time quantitative echocardiographic assessment of myocardial function.
Leitman M, Lysyansky P, Sidenko S, Shir V, Peleg E, Binenbaum M, Kaluski E, Krakover R, Vered Z.
Cardiology Department, Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, Zerifin 70300, Israel.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to assess the feasibility of 2-dimensional strain, a novel software for real-time quantitative echocardiographic assessment of myocardial function. METHODS: Conventional and a novel non-Doppler-based echocardiography technique for advanced wall-motion analysis were performed in 20 patients with myocardial infarction and 10 healthy volunteers from the apical views. Two-dimensional strain is on the basis of the estimation that a discrete set of tissue velocities are present per each of many small elements on the ultrasound image. This software permits real-time assessment of myocardial velocities, strain, and strain rate. These parameters were also compared with Doppler tissue imaging measurements in 10 additional patients. RESULTS: In all, 80.3% of infarct and 97.8% of normal segments could be adequately tracked by the software. Peak systolic strain, strain rate, and peak systolic myocardial velocities, calculated from the software, were significantly higher in the normal than in the infarct segments. In the 10 additional patients, velocities, strain, and strain rate obtained with the novel software were not significantly different from those obtained with Doppler tissue imaging. CONCLUSION: Two-dimensional strain can accomplish real-time wall-motion analysis, and has the potential to become a standard for real-time automatic echocardiographic assessment of cardiac function.

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2004 Feb;17(2):132-8.
Noninvasive quantification of regional myocardial function using Doppler-derived velocity, displacement, strain rate, and strain in healthy volunteers: effects of aging.
Sun JP, Popovic ZB, Greenberg NL, Xu XF, Asher CR, Stewart WJ, Thomas JD.
Department of Cardiovascular Imaging, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44196, USA.

Quantification of regional function can be performed using Doppler tissue echocardiography to evaluate myocardial velocity, tissue displacement, strain, and strain rate. Although these techniques have been validated in animal experiments and early clinical trials, there are only limited measurements in healthy populations to use as reference data. In 100 healthy volunteers, left ventricular myocardial velocity, displacement, strain, and strain rate were measured using Doppler tissue echocardiography. Measurements were obtained from basal, mid, and apical segments of walls visualized from left ventricular apical 4- and 2-chamber views. Analysis of covariance was used to examine the effects of age and wall segment position. All parameters showed a strong dependence on wall segment position. Although myocardial velocities and strain rate showed significant dependence on age, displacement and peak systolic strain measures were less affected. Like pulsed Doppler mitral inflow velocity, tissue velocity and strain rate show age-related changes.

Transplant Proc. 2003 Dec;35(8):3072-4.
Alteration of the left ventricular contractile reserve in heart transplant patients: a dobutamine stress strain rate imaging study.
Sebbag L, Bergerot C, Jamal F, Roussoulieres A, Boissonnat P, Bastien O, Obadia JF, Barthelet M, Ovize M.
Pole de Transplantation and EMIU-0226, Hopital Louis Pradel, BP Lyon Montchat 69394, Lyon Cedex 03, France.

BACKGROUND: Strain rate imaging (SRI), a recently developed Doppler-derived process, allows quantification of myocardial systolic function. We investigate whether SRI quantifies the contractile reserve during dobutamine stress tests in heart transplant patients (HT), when compared with normal individuals. METHODS: An incremental dobutamine test (5 to 40 microg/kg per minute) was performed in 10 HT and 15 control subjects, all of whom displayed normal coronary angiography. Gray-scale and color myocardial Doppler data were acquired in standard B-mode views at baseline, low-dose, peak, and recovery. Longitudinal SR was processed from the myocardial velocities for each segment. The changes in maximal systolic SR were used to quantify myocardial contractile reserve. RESULTS: Dobutamine infusion failed to induce clinical symptoms or electrocardiographic (ECG) changes in either group. Visually determined wall motion score was considered normal in all segments for each stage of the dobutamine stress. Heart rate was augmented similarly in both groups during dobutamine infusion. In controls, systolic SR increased gradually with incremental dobutamine dose and returned to baseline values upon recovery. Conversely, in HT patients, the increase in systolic SR was blunted at peak dobutamine, at which point it was significantly different vs controls. CONCLUSIONS: Quantitative assessment of myocardial function using SRI during dobutamine stress revealed an impaired contractile reserve in HT patients with normal coronary angiography. These subtle changes in regional myocardial function could not be identified using visual wall motion scoring. Additional studies are necessary to evaluate whether SR imaging detection of contractile reserve impairment will improve clinical efficiency or event prediction in this population.

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2003 Dec;29(12):1725-34.
In vitro evaluation of ultrasound Doppler strain rate imaging: modification for measurement in a slowly moving tissue phantom.
Matre K, Ahmed AB, Gregersen H, Heimdal A, Hausken T, Odegaard S, Gilja OH.
Institute of Medicine, University of Bergen and National Centre for Ultrasound in Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway.

Doppler strain rate imaging (SRI) was evaluated in vitro using a silicone strip phantom mimicking slowly moving tissue. A test apparatus was developed that enabled controlled strain experiments with variable strain and strain rate to be performed. SRI strain was measured at eight different calculated strains (range 5.7 to 63.4 %) at three different pump speeds with tissue velocity 0.1, 0.5 and 1.0 mm/s. The effect of varying tissue velocity and strain sample size on the measured SRI strain was elaborated. SRI strains agreed well with calculated values for strain when SRI strain was measured as the average over the whole strip cross-section and the strain sample size was 1.9 mm (mean difference = 2.78%, limits of agreement +/- 9.97% for tissue velocity 1.0 mm/s, n = 8). The variance was substantial if single central samples were used, especially for strain sample size of 0.8 mm (mean difference = -7.47%, limits of agreement +/- 20.90 for tissue velocity 0.5 mm/s, n = 24). Increasing the strain sample size to 1.9 mm removed some of the underestimation (giving mean difference of -4.46%, n = 24). We found low intra- and interobserver variation. This study indicates that, for the SRI method to give accurate estimates of strain, strain sample size should be in the region of 2 mm. Averaging over several ultrasound (US) beams increased the accuracy further.

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2003 Dec;16(12):1211-6.
Strain rate acceleration yields a better index for evaluating left ventricular contractile function as compared with tissue velocity acceleration during isovolumic contraction time: an in vivo study.
Li X, Jones M, Wang HF, Davies CH, Swanson JC, Hashimoto I, Rusk RA, Schindera ST, Barber BJ, Sahn DJ.
Clinical Care Center for Congenital Heart Disease, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland 97239, uSA.

OBJECTIVE: Our study aimed to investigate whether strain rate acceleration (SRA) during isovolumic contraction time (IVCT) could serve as a sensitive indicator of myocardial function. METHODS: A total of 8 sheep underwent occlusion of left anterior descending coronary artery or diagonal branches and 2 sheep underwent left circumflex coronary artery occlusion to create septal, apical, or basal segment myocardial ischemia 19 to 27 weeks before the study. Baseline, volume-loading, dobutamine, and metoprolol infusion were used to produce 4 hemodynamic stages for each sheep. Doppler tissue imaging was acquired using a 5-MHz probe (GE/VingMed Vivid Five, GE Medical Systems, Milwaukee, Wis) on open-chest animals using the liver as a standoff at the apex. Using software (EchoPac, GE Medical Systems), SRA during IVCT was calculated and compared with tissue velocity acceleration (TVA) during IVCT from areas located in the normal and ischemic zones. Also, invasively monitored left ventricle dP/dt was measured as reference contractile function. RESULTS: Both TVA and SRA during IVCT showed higher values for normal tissue than for ischemic area (P <.0001). SRA for normal wall segments changed significantly during the 4 stages (P =.01) with corresponding changes on high-fidelity left ventricular pressure catheters (r = 0.92). TVA over normal segments showed no significant change (P =.29) in the 4 hemodynamic stages. Both TVA and SRA of the ischemic segments showed no significant change with pharmacologic maneuvers or loading conditions. CONCLUSIONS: SRA and TVA during IVCT are both useful indicators for detecting abnormal heart wall motion. However, SRA tends to be more sensitive than TVA for differentiating the response to stress conditions.

Heart. 2003 Nov;89 Suppl 3:iii9-17.
Tissue Doppler, strain, and strain rate echocardiography for the assessment of left and right systolic ventricular function.
Pellerin D, Sharma R, Elliott P, Veyrat C.
The Heart Hospital, London, UK.

Tissue Doppler (TDE), strain, and strain rate echocardiography are emerging real time ultrasound techniques that provide a measure of wall motion. They offer an objective means to quantify global and regional left and right ventricular function and to improve the accuracy and reproducibility of conventional echocardiography studies. Radial and longitudinal ventricular function can be assessed by the analysis of myocardial wall velocity and displacement indices, or by the analysis of wall deformation using the rate of deformation of a myocardial segment (strain rate) and its deformation over time (strain). A quick and easy assessment of left ventricular ejection fraction is obtained by mitral annular velocity measurement during a routine study, especially in patients with poor endocardial definition or abnormal septal motion. Strain rate and strain are less affected by passive myocardial motion and tend to be uniform throughout the left ventricle in normal subjects. This paper reviews the underlying principles of TDE, strain, and strain rate echocardiography and discusses currently available quantification tools and clinical applications.

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2003 Nov 5;42(9):1574-83.
Comment in: J Am Coll Cardiol. 2003 Nov 5;42(9):1584-6.
Myocardial strain rate is a superior method for evaluation of left ventricular subendocardial function compared with tissue Doppler imaging.
Hashimoto I, Li X, Hejmadi Bhat A, Jones M, Zetts AD, Sahn DJ.
Clinical Care Center for Congenital Heart Disease, Oregon Health and Sciences University, Portland, Oregon 97239, USA.

OBJECTIVES: This study was performed to evaluate subendocardial function using strain rate imaging (SRI). BACKGROUND: The subendocardium and mid-wall of the left ventricle (LV) play important roles in ventricular function. Previous methods used for evaluating this function are either invasive or cumbersome. Strain rate imaging by ultrasound is a newly developed echocardiographic modality based on tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) that allows quantitative assessment of regional myocardial wall motion. METHODS: We examined eight sheep using TDI in apical four-chamber views to evaluate the LV free wall. Peak strain rates (SRs) during isovolumic relaxation (IR), isovolumic contraction (IC), and myocardial strain were measured in the endocardial (End), mid-myocardial (Mid), and epicardial (Epi) layers. For four hemodynamic conditions (created after baseline by blood, dobutamine, and metoprolol infusion), we compared differences in SR of End, Mid, and Epi layers to peak positive and negative first derivative of LV pressure (dP/dt). RESULTS: Strain rate during IC showed a good correlation with +dP/dt (r = 0.74, p < 0.001) and during IR with -dP/dt (r = 0.67, p = 0.0003). There was a significant difference in SR between the myocardial layers during both IC and IR (End: -3.4 +/- 2.2 s(-1), Mid: -1.8 +/- 1.5 s(-1), Epi: -0.63 +/- 1.0 s(-1), p < 0.0001 during IC; End: 2.2 +/- 1.5 s(-1), Mid: 1.0 +/- 0.8 s(-1), Epi: 0.47 +/- 0.64 s(-1), p < 0.0001 during IR). Also, SRs of the End and Mid layers during IC were significantly altered by different hemodynamic conditions (End at baseline: 1.7 +/- 0.7 s(-1); blood: 2.0 +/- 1.1 s(-1); dobutamine: 3.4 +/- 2.3 s(-1); metoprolol: 1.0 +/- 0.4 s(-1); p < 0.05). Myocardial strain showed differences in each layer (End: -34.3 +/- 12.6%; Mid: -22.6 +/- 12.1%; Epi: -11.4 +/- 7.9%; p < 0.0001) and changed significantly in different hemodynamic conditions (p < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Strain and SR appear useful and sensitive for evaluating myocardial function, especially for the subendocardial region.

Eur J Echocardiogr. 2003 Jun;4(2):81-91.
The feasibility of ultrasonic regional strain and strain rate imaging in quantifying dobutamine stress echocardiography.
Kowalski M, Herregods MC, Herbots L, Weidemann F, Simmons L, Strotmann J, Dommke C, D'hooge J, Claus P, Bijnens B, Hatle L, Sutherland GR.
University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Department of Cardiology, Leuven, Belgium.

BACKGROUND: Ultrasonic strain rate and strain can characterize regional one-dimensional myocardial deformation at rest. In theory, these deformation indices could be used to quantify normal or abnormal regional function during a dobutamine stress echo test. AIMS: The aims of our pilot study were threefold: (1) to determine the percentage of segments in which interpretable strain rate/strain data could be obtained during routine dobutamine stress echo, (2) to establish whether either the increase in heart rate or artefacts induced by respiration during dobutamine stress echo would influence analysis by degrading the data and (3) to determine the optimal frame rate vs image sector angle settings for data acquisition. Furthermore, although the detection of ischaemia was not to be addressed specifically in this study, we would describe the findings on the potential clinical role of regional deformation vs velocity imaging in detecting ischaemia-induced changes. METHODS: A standard dobutamine stress echo protocol was performed in 20 consecutive patients with a history of chest pain (16 with angiographic coronary artery disease and four with normal coronary angiograms). DMI velocities were acquired at baseline, low dose, peak dose, and recovery. To evaluate radial function (basal segment of the left ventricle posterior wall segment), parasternal LAX, SAX views were used. For long axis function data were acquired (4-CH, 2-CH views) from the septum; lateral, inferior and anterior left ventricle walls. Data was acquired using both 15 degrees (>150 frames per second (fps) and 45 degrees (115fps) sector angles. During post-processing each wall was divided into three segments: basal, mid and apical. Strain rate/strain values were averaged over three consecutive heart cycles. RESULTS: Data was obtained from 1936 segments, of which only 54 had to be excluded from subsequent analysis (2.8%) because of suboptimal quality. An increase in heart rates (up to 150/min) was not associated with a significant reduction in the number of interpretable segments. There was a significant correlation between maximal systolic strain rate/strain values obtained at narrow and at wide sector angles (e.g. a correlation for the septal segments: r=0.73,P <0.001 for strain rate, and r=0.71; P<0.001 for strain). The correlation for the timing of events obtained from narrow and wide sector angles was weaker. This would indicate that there was the insufficient temporal resolution for the latter acquisition method. Normal and abnormal regional strain rate/strain responses to an incremental dobutamine infusion were defined. In normal segments, maximal systolic strain rate values increased continuously from baseline, reaching the highest values at the peak dose of dobutamine. The segmental strain response was different. For strain, there was an initial slight increase at low dose of dobutamine (5, 10 microg/kg/min), but no further increase with increasing dose. A pattern representing an ischaemic response was identified and described. CONCLUSIONS: The feasibility study would suggest that with appropriate data collection and post-processing methodologies, strain rate/strain imaging can be applied to the quantification of dobutamine stress echo. However, appropriate post-processing algorithms must be introduced to reduce data analysis time in order to make this a practical clinical technique. Copyright 2002 The European Society of Cardiology. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Am J Cardiol. 2003 May 8;91(9A):55F-61F.
Biventricular pacing in heart failure: back to basics in the pathophysiology of left bundle branch block to reduce the number of nonresponders.
Ansalone G, Giannantoni P, Ricci R, Trambaiolo P, Fedele F, Santini M.
Heart Diseases Department, San Filippo Neri Hospital, Rome, Italy.

Cardiac resynchronization therapy is a novel nonpharmacologic approach to treating patients who have advanced heart failure with left bundle branch block (LBBB). Such a therapy is based on the original theory that synchronous biventricular pacing is able to reduce the interventricular delay caused by LBBB in patients with heart failure. Although there is convincing evidence that biventricular pacing increases the left ventricular ejection fraction, decreases mitral regurgitation, and improves symptoms caused by heart failure, the percentage of nonresponders to such therapy has been described as high as about one third of patients with heart failure having LBBB. Factors responsible for this relatively high prevalence are reviewed, the most important of them probably being left intraventricular dyssynchrony, which can persist after biventricular pacing, notwithstanding right and left interventricular resynchronization. Such a dyssynchrony, as evaluated by tissue Doppler imaging, may be because of the discordance between the site of the left ventricular pacing and the site of the left ventricular delay. Therefore, to characterize the pathophysiologic pattern of LBBB, the investigators suggest an assessment of the electromechanical dysfunction with a noninvasive reliable technique, such as tissue Doppler imaging, which can be repeated after biventricular pacing.

Circulation. 2002 Jul 2;106(1):50-6.
Comment in: Circulation. 2003 Feb 25;107(7):e49; author reply e49. Circulation. 2003 Jan 28;107(3):e23; author reply e23.
Quantitative assessment of intrinsic regional myocardial deformation by Doppler strain rate echocardiography in humans: validation against three-dimensional tagged magnetic resonance imaging.
Edvardsen T, Gerber BL, Garot J, Bluemke DA, Lima JA, Smiseth OA.
Department of Cardiology, Rikshospitalet University, Oslo, Norway.

BACKGROUND: Tissue Doppler echocardiography-derived strain rate and strain measurements (SDE) are new quantitative indices of intrinsic cardiac deformation. The aim of this study was to validate and compare these new indices of regional cardiac function to measurements of 3-dimensional myocardial strain by tagged MRI. METHODS AND RESULTS: The study population included 33 healthy volunteers, 17 patients with acute myocardial infarction, and 8 patients with suspected coronary artery disease who were studied during dobutamine stress echocardiography. Peak systolic myocardial velocities were measured by tissue Doppler echocardiography, peak systolic strain rates and strains by SDE, and strains by tagged MRI. In healthy individuals, longitudinal myocardial Doppler velocities decreased progressively from base to apex, whereas myocardial strain rates and strains were uniform in all segments. In patients with acute infarction, abnormal strains clearly identified dysfunctional areas. In infarcted regions, SDE showed 1.5+/-4.3% longitudinal stretching compared with -15.0+/-3.9% shortening in remote myocardium (P<0.001), and radial measurements showed -6.9+/-4.1% thinning and 14.3+/-5.0% thickening (P<0.001), respectively. During dobutamine infusion, longitudinal strains by SDE increased significantly from -13.5% to -23.8% (P<0.01) and radial strains increased from 13.1+/-3.1% to 29.3+/-11.5% (P<0.01). Comparisons between myocardial strains by SDE and tagged MRI in healthy individuals (n=11), in infarct patients (n=17), and during stress echo (n=4) showed excellent correlations (r=0.89 and r=0.96 for longitudinal and radial strains, respectively, P< 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrates the ability of Doppler echocardiography to measure myocardial strains in a clinical setting. Myocardial strains by Doppler may represent a new powerful method for quantifying left ventricular function noninvasively in humans.

Echocardiography. 2003 Feb;20(2):145-9.
Quantitative assessment of short axis wall motion using myocardial strain rate imaging.
Nakatani S, Stugaard M, Hanatani A, Katsuki K, Kanzaki H, Yamagishi M, Kitakaze M, Miyatake K.
Cardiology Division of Medicine, National Cardiovascular Center, 5-7-1 Fujishiro-dai, Suita, Osaka 565-8565, Japan.
Although left ventricular wall motion has been usually assessed with four-point scale (1 = normal; 2 = hypokinesis; 3 = akinesis; 4 = dyskinesis) based on the visual assessment, this method is only qualitative and subjective. Recently, a new echocardiographic system that enables calculation of myocardial strain rate based on tissue Doppler information has been developed. We investigated whether myocardial strain rate could quantify regional myocardial contraction in 17 patients with and without wall motion abnormalities including 6 patients undergoing dobutamine stress echocardiography. Left ventricular short-axis wall motion was assessed with standard two-dimensional echocardiography at basal, mid-ventricular, and apical levels. The same levels were imaged with tissue Doppler method to determine regional myocardial strain rate. Sixty-four segments were judged normokinesis, 53 segments hypokinesis, and 18 segments akinesis at rest; 16 segments were judged normokinesis and 6 segments hypokinesis at stress. No segments characterized dyskinesis. Strain rates of normokinetic, hypokinetic, and akinetic wall segments at rest were significantly different each other (-2.0 +/- 0.6 for normokinesis,-0.6 +/- 0.5 for hypokinesis,P < 0.0001 vs. normokinesis, and-0.008 +/- 0.3 for akinesis, P < 0.0001 vs. normokinesis and hypokinesis). Further, strain rates well reflected the change in wall motion induced by dobutamine challenge: strain rates in the 15 segments revealing augmented wall motion changed from -2.0 +/- 0.7 to -4.7 +/- 1.7 (1/sec) (P < 0.0001) and those in the 7 segments revealing deteriorated or unchanged wall motion changed from -2.1 +/- 1.0 to -1.7 +/- 0.8 (1/sec) (P < 0.05). In conclusion, strain rate agreed well with assessed wall motion. Strain rate imaging may be a new powerful tool to quantify regional wall contraction.

Echocardiography. 2003 Feb;20(2):137-44.
Quantitation of papillary muscle function with tissue and strain Doppler echocardiography measures papillary muscle contractile functions.
Dagdelen S, Yuce M, Ergelen M, Pala S, Kyrma C.
Kosuyolu Heart and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.

It is well known that papillary muscle dysfunction may cause mitral regurgitation, however, there is not a standard technique to measure the papillary muscle function. The aim of this study is to investigate papillary muscle function by using tissue and strain rate Doppler echocardiography. METHOD: A study group (SG) of 42 patients (12 females, 30 males, mean age: 53.8 +/- 10.9 years) with coronary artery disease who have segmental left ventricular dysfunction and mitral regurgitation, and as a control group (CG) 20 patients (6 females, 14 males, mean age 52.5 +/- 10.2 years) who have no coronary artery disease and mitral regurgitation were studied. A subgroup 20 patients (7 females, 13 males, mean age 42.5 +/- 7.5 years) who have rheumatic mitral regurgitation was included to the study. The patients who have left ventricular and mitral annular dilatation were not included into the study. Longitudinal wall motion of mid-inferior segment (one point) and posterior papillary muscle (two point) of the left ventricle was assessed by tissue and strain rate Doppler echocardiography from the apical two-chamber view. Systolic tissue velocity (Sm), strain rate (SR), and strain (S) were measured from the two points in all patients. RESULTS: Comparing the one point values Sm, SR, and S were found less in SG than CG (respectively 4.2 +/- 1.4 vs 11.3 +/- 1.9 cm/sec, -1.0 +/- 0.4 vs -1.7 +/- 0.3 s-1, -13.5 +/- 5.0 vs -18.1 +/- 3.9%; P < 0.001 for all). Comparing the two point values Sm, SR and S were found less in SG than CG (respectively 2.8 +/- 1.2 vs 3.7 +/- 2.0 cm/sec, -0.8 +/- 0.4 vs -1.6 +/- 0.3 s-1, -9.7 +/- 4.6 vs -15.8 +/- 3.7%; P < 0.001 for all). Systolic mitral annulus, left ventricular systolic and diastolic dimensions were similar in two groups. Comparing the CG and subgroup, there were no significant differences with respect to Sm, SR, and S measured from the two points. CONCLUSIONS: Papillary muscle function may be assessed quantitatively by using tissue and strain rate Doppler echocardiography. Tissue velocity, strain rate, and strain values were found decreased in dysfunctional papillary muscle.

Ultrason Imaging. 2003 Jan;25(1):1-16.
Ultrasonic imaging of myocardial strain using cardiac elastography.
Varghese T, Zagzebski JA, Rahko P, Breburda CS.
Department of Medical Physics, The University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI 53706, USA.

Clinical assessment of myocardial ischemia based on visually-assessed wall motion scoring from echocardiography is semiquantitative, operator dependent, and heavily weighted by operator experience and expertise. Cardiac motion estimation methods such as tissue Doppler imaging, used to assess myocardial muscle velocity, provides quantitative parameters such as the strain-rate and strain derived from Doppler velocity. However, tissue Doppler imaging does not differentiate between active contraction and simple rotation or translation of the heart wall, nor does it differentiate tethering (passively following) tissue from active contraction. In this paper, we present a strain imaging modality called cardiac elastography that provides two-dimensional strain information. A method for obtaining and displaying both directional and magnitude cardiac elastograms and displaying strain over the entire cross-section of the heart is described. Elastograms from a patient with coronary artery disease are compared with those from a healthy volunteer. Though observational, the differences suggest that cardiac elastography may be a useful tool for assessment of myocardial function. The method is two-dimensional, real time and avoids the disadvantage of observer-dependent judgment of myocardial contraction and relaxation estimated from conventional echocardiography.

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2003 Jan;16(1):1-8.
Usefulness of combined quantitative assessment of myocardial perfusion and velocities by myocardial contrast and doppler tissue echocardiography during coronary blood flow reduction.
Garot P, Pascal O, Simon M, El Amine S, Benacerraf S, Champagne S, Benaiem N, Mazoit JX, Hittinger L, Garot J, Dubois-Rande JL, Gueret P, Teiger E.
Federation de Cardiologie, INSERM U400, Hopital Henri Mondor, AP-HP, Creteil, France.

OBJECTIVES: We sought to characterize regional myocardial perfusion and contraction in a closed-chest swine model during and after coronary blood flow reduction using myocardial contrast and Doppler tissue echocardiography. METHODS AND RESULTS: Regional myocardial perfusion was assessed by myocardial contrast echocardiography using the corrected contrast peak intensity (baseline-subtracted contrast peak intensity), the peak intensity ratio (contrast peak intensity in ischemic/control wall), and a transmural video-intensity gradient. Regional peak systolic velocities and strain rate were measured using M-mode color Doppler tissue echocardiography. In 12 pigs, coronary blood flow reduction resulted in a significant decrease in peak intensity ratio and in peak systolic velocities in the subendocardium. At baseline and during ischemia, corrected contrast peak intensity and peak systolic velocities in the subendocardium, video-intensity gradient, and strain rate were closely related (r = 0.88 and 0.93, respectively). After reperfusion, in contrast to peak systolic strain rate that remained altered, the peak intensity ratio and video-intensity gradient recovered nearly baseline values. CONCLUSION: The combination of myocardial contrast and Doppler tissue echocardiography may distinguish between ischemic and postischemic myocardial wall dysfunction during severe coronary blood flow reduction.

Ultrasound Med Biol. 2002 Nov-Dec;28(11-12):1457-65.
Strain during gastric contractions can be measured using Doppler ultrasonography.
Gilja OH, Heimdal A, Hausken T, Gregersen H, Matre K, Berstad A, Odegaard S.
Institute of Medicine, Haukeland Hospital, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

This study was undertaken to explore if strain of the muscle layers within the gastric wall could be measured by transabdominal strain rate imaging (SRI), a novel Doppler ultrasound (US) method. A total of 9 healthy fasting subjects (8 women, 1 man; ages 22 to 55 years) were studied and both grey-scale and Doppler US data were acquired with a 5- to 8-MHz linear transducer in cineloops of 97 to 256 frames. Rapid stepwise inflation (5 to 60 mL) of an intragastric bag was carried out and bag pressure and SRI were measured simultaneously. SRI enabled detailed studies of layers within the gastric wall in all subjects. Great variations in strain distribution of the muscle layers were found. Radial strain was much higher in the circular than in the longitudinal muscle layer. Strains derived from SRI correlated well with strains obtained with B-mode measurements (r = 0.98, p < 0.05). During balloon distension, we found an inverse correlation between pressure and radial strain (r = -0.87, p < 0.05). Intraobserver correlation of strain estimation was r = 0.98 (p < 0.05) and intraobserver agreement was 0.2% +/- 18.6% (mean difference +/- 2SD, % strain). Interobserver correlation was r = 0.84 (p < 0.05) and interobserver agreement was 6.9% +/- 56.8%. SRI enables detailed mapping of radial strain distribution of the gastric wall and correlates well with B-mode measurements and pressure increments.

Clin Sci (Lond). 2002 Sep;103(3):283-93.
Myocardial abnormalities in hypertensive patients with normal and abnormal left ventricular filling: a study of ultrasound tissue characterization and strain.
Yuda S, Short L, Leano R, Marwick TH.
University of Queensland, Department of Medicine, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Ipswich Road, Brisbane, QLD 4102, Australia.

Abnormal left ventricular (LV) filling is common, but not universal, in hypertensive LV hypertrophy (LVH). We sought to elucidate the relative contributions of myocardial structural changes, loading and hypertrophy to LV dysfunction in 113 patients: 85 with hypertensive LVH and 28 controls without LVH and with normal filling. Patients with normal dobutamine stress echocardiography and no history of coronary artery disease were selected, in order to exclude a contribution from ischaemia or scar. Abnormal LV filling was identified in 65 LVH patients, based on Doppler measurement of transmitral filling and annular velocities. All patients underwent grey-scale and colour tissue Doppler imaging from three apical views, which were stored and analysed off line. Integrated backscatter (IB) and strain rate imaging were used to detect changes in structure and function; average cyclic variation of IB, strain rate and peak systolic strain were calculated by averaging each segment. Calibrated IB intensity, corrected for pericardial IB intensity, was measured in the septum and posterior wall from the parasternal long-axis view. Patients with LVH differed significantly from controls with respect to all backscatter and strain parameters, irrespective of the presence or absence of abnormal LV filling. LVH patients with and without abnormal LV filling differed with regard to age, LV mass and incidence of diabetes mellitus, but also showed significant differences in cyclic variation (P<0.01), calibrated IB in the posterior wall (P<0.05) and strain rate (P<0.01), although blood pressure, heart rate and LV systolic function were similar. Multivariate logistic regression analysis demonstrated that age, LV mass index and calibrated IB in the posterior wall were independent determinants of abnormal LV filling in patients with LVH. Thus structural and functional abnormalities can be detected in hypertensive patients with LVH with and without abnormal LV filling. In addition to age and LVH, structural (not functional) abnormalities are likely to contribute to abnormal LV filling, and may be an early sign of LV damage. IB is useful for the detection of myocardial abnormalities in patients with hypertensive LVH.

Circulation. 2002 Jul 2;106(1):50-6.
Comment in: Circulation. 2003 Feb 25;107(7):e49; author reply e49. Circulation. 2003 Jan 28;107(3):e23; author reply e23.
Quantitative assessment of intrinsic regional myocardial deformation by Doppler strain rate echocardiography in humans: validation against three-dimensional tagged magnetic resonance imaging.
Edvardsen T, Gerber BL, Garot J, Bluemke DA, Lima JA, Smiseth OA.
Department of Cardiology, Rikshospitalet University, Oslo, Norway.

BACKGROUND: Tissue Doppler echocardiography-derived strain rate and strain measurements (SDE) are new quantitative indices of intrinsic cardiac deformation. The aim of this study was to validate and compare these new indices of regional cardiac function to measurements of 3-dimensional myocardial strain by tagged MRI. METHODS AND RESULTS: The study population included 33 healthy volunteers, 17 patients with acute myocardial infarction, and 8 patients with suspected coronary artery disease who were studied during dobutamine stress echocardiography. Peak systolic myocardial velocities were measured by tissue Doppler echocardiography, peak systolic strain rates and strains by SDE, and strains by tagged MRI. In healthy individuals, longitudinal myocardial Doppler velocities decreased progressively from base to apex, whereas myocardial strain rates and strains were uniform in all segments. In patients with acute infarction, abnormal strains clearly identified dysfunctional areas. In infarcted regions, SDE showed 1.5+/-4.3% longitudinal stretching compared with -15.0+/-3.9% shortening in remote myocardium (P<0.001), and radial measurements showed -6.9+/-4.1% thinning and 14.3+/-5.0% thickening (P<0.001), respectively. During dobutamine infusion, longitudinal strains by SDE increased significantly from -13.5% to -23.8% (P<0.01) and radial strains increased from 13.1+/-3.1% to 29.3+/-11.5% (P<0.01). Comparisons between myocardial strains by SDE and tagged MRI in healthy individuals (n=11), in infarct patients (n=17), and during stress echo (n=4) showed excellent correlations (r=0.89 and r=0.96 for longitudinal and radial strains, respectively, P< 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The present study demonstrates the ability of Doppler echocardiography to measure myocardial strains in a clinical setting. Myocardial strains by Doppler may represent a new powerful method for quantifying left ventricular function noninvasively in humans.

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2002 Feb 6;39(3):489-99.
Doppler myocardial imaging to evaluate the effectiveness of pacing sites in patients receiving biventricular pacing.
Ansalone G, Giannantoni P, Ricci R, Trambaiolo P, Fedele F, Santini M.
Department of Heart Diseases, San Filippo Neri Hospital, Rome, Italy.

OBJECTIVES: The goal of this study was to compare the efficacy of biventricular pacing (BIV) at the most delayed wall of the left ventricle (LV) and at other LV walls. BACKGROUND: Biventricular pacing could provide additional benefit when it is applied at the most delayed site. METHODS: In 31 patients with advanced nonischemic heart failure, the activation delay was defined, in blind before BIV, by regional noninvasive Tissue Doppler Imaging as the time interval between the end of the A-wave (C point) and the beginning of the E-wave (O point) from the basal level of each wall. The left pacing site was considered concordant with the most delayed site when the lead was inserted at the wall with the greatest regional interval between C and O points (CO(R)). After BIV, patients were divided into group A (13/31) (i.e., paced at the most delayed site) and group B (18/31) (i.e., paced at any other site). RESULTS: After BIV, in all patients LV end-diastolic (LVEDV) and end-systolic (LVESV) volumes decreased (p = 0.025 and 0.001), LV ejection fraction (LVEF) increased (p = 0.002), QRS narrowed (p = 0.000), New York Heart Association class decreased (p = 0.006), 6-min walked distance (WD) increased (p = 0.046), the interval between closure and opening of mitral valve (CO) and isovolumic contraction time (ICT) decreased (p = 0.001 and 0.000), diastolic time (EA) and Q-P(2) interval increased (p = 0.003 and 0.000), while Q-A(2) interval and mean performance index (MPI) did not change. Group A showed greater improvement over group B in LVESV (p = 0.04), LVEF (p = 0.04), bicycle stress testing work (p = 0.03) and time (p = 0.08) capacity, CO (p = 0.04) and ICT (p = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: After BIV, LV performance improved significantly in all patients; however, the greatest improvement was found in patients paced at the most delayed site.

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2002 Feb 6;39(3):443-9.
Strain rate measurement by doppler echocardiography allows improved assessment of myocardial viability inpatients with depressed left ventricular function.
Hoffmann R, Altiok E, Nowak B, Heussen N, Kuhl H, Kaiser HJ, Bull U, Hanrath P.
Medical Clinic I, University Rheinisch Westfalische Technische Hochschule, Aachen, Germany.

OBJECTIVES: This study sought to evaluate whether objective assessment of the myocardial functional reserve, using strain rate imaging (SRI), allows accurate detection of viable myocardium. BACKGROUND: Strain rate imaging is a new echocardiographic modality that allows quantitative assessment of segmental myocardial contractility. METHODS: In 37 patients (age 58 +/- 9 years) with ischemic left ventricular dysfunction, myocardial viability was assessed using low-dose (10 microg/kg body weight per min) two-dimensional dobutamine stress echocardiography (DSE), tissue Doppler imaging, SRI and (18)F-fluorodeoxyglucose ((18)FDG) positron emission tomography (PET). The peak systolic tissue Doppler velocity and peak systolic myocardial strain rate were determined at baseline and during low-dose dobutamine stress from the apical views. RESULTS: A total of 192 segments with dyssynergy at rest were classified by (18)FDG PET as viable in 94 and nonviable in 98. An increase of peak systolic strain rate from rest to dobutamine stimulation by more than -0.23 1/s allowed accurate discrimination of viable from nonviable myocardium, as determined by (18)FDG PET with a sensitivity of 83% and a specificity of 84%. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis showed an area under the curve for prediction of nonviable myocardium, as determined by (18)FDG PET using SRI, of 0.89 (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.88 to 0.90), whereas the area under the ROC curve using tissue Doppler imaging was 0.63 (95% CI 0.61 to 0.65). CONCLUSIONS: The increase in the peak systolic strain rate during low-dose dobutamine stimulation allows accurate discrimination between different myocardial viability states. Strain rate imaging is superior to two-dimensional DSE and tissue Doppler imaging for the assessment of myocardial viability.

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2002 Jan;15(1):13-9.
Strain rate imaging for the assessment of preload-dependent changes in regional left ventricular diastolic longitudinal function.
Voigt JU, Lindenmeier G, Werner D, Flachskampf FA, Nixdorff U, Hatle L, Sutherland GR, Daniel WG.
Medical Clinic II, University Erlangen-Nuernberg, Erlangen, Germany.

BACKGROUND: Strain rate imaging is a new and intriguing way of displaying myocardial deformation properties by means of echocardiography. With high frame rate strain rate imaging we observed a spatial inhomogeneity in diastolic longitudinal strain rates in healthy persons. A base-to-apex time delay in diastolic lengthening could be seen both in early diastole and at atrial contraction. METHODS AND RESULTS: We investigated this consistent finding and its dependence on loading conditions in 20 healthy volunteers. Propagation velocities of lengthening of 91 +/- 31 cm/s (E-wave) and 203 +/- 11 cm/s (A-wave) at rest (equal to time delays of 104 +/- 29 ms and 56 +/- 24 ms, respectively) increased significantly to 101 +/- 27 cm/s (E) and 283 +/- 17 cm/s (A) with lifting the volunteers' legs. Applying nitroglycerin sublingually and sitting upright significantly decreased propagation velocities (E-wave 76 +/- 20 cm/s, A-wave 172 +/- 93 cm/s and E-wave 66 +/- 17 cm/s, A-wave 150 +/- 64 cm/s, respectively). Free lateral walls showed a lower propagation velocity than septal walls. CONCLUSION: We conclude that the propagation velocities of left ventricular lengthening waves are dependent on preload changes and increase with increasing preload.

Circulation. 2002 Jan 1;105(1):99-105.
Doppler-derived myocardial systolic strain rate is a strong index of left ventricular contractility.
Greenberg NL, Firstenberg MS, Castro PL, Main M, Travaglini A, Odabashian JA, Drinko JK, Rodriguez LL, Thomas JD, Garcia MJ.
Cardiovascular Imaging Center, Department of Cardiology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio OH 44195, USA.

BACKGROUND: Myocardial fiber strain is directly related to left ventricular (LV) contractility. Strain rate can be estimated as the spatial derivative of velocities (dV/ds) obtained by tissue Doppler echocardiography (TDE). The purposes of the study were (1) to determine whether TDE-derived strain rate may be used as a noninvasive, quantitative index of contractility and (2) to compare the relative accuracy of systolic strain rate against TDE velocities alone. METHODS AND RESULTS: TDE color M-mode images of the interventricular septum were recorded from the apical 4-chamber view in 7 closed-chest anesthetized mongrel dogs during 5 different inotropic stages. Simultaneous LV volume and pressure were obtained with a combined conductance-high-fidelity pressure catheter. Peak elastance (Emax) was determined as the slope of end-systolic pressure-volume relationships during caval occlusion and was used as the gold standard of LV contractility. Peak systolic TDE myocardial velocities (Sm) and peak (epsilon'(p)) and mean (epsilon'(m)) strain rates obtained at the basal septum were compared against Emax by linear regression. Emax as well as TDE systolic indices increased during inotropic stimulation with dobutamine and decreased with the infusion of esmolol. A stronger association was found between Emax and epsilon'(p) (r=0.94, P<0.01, y=0.29x+0.46) and epsilon'(m) (r=0.88, P<0.01) than for Sm (r=0.75, P<0.01). CONCLUSIONS: TDE-derived epsilon'(p) and epsilon'(m) are strong noninvasive indices of LV contractility. These indices appear to be more reliable than S(m), perhaps by eliminating translational artifact.

Eur J Ultrasound. 2001 Dec;14(2-3):149-55.
High frame rate strain rate imaging of the interventricular septum in healthy subjects.
Slordahl SA, Bjaerum S, Amundsen BH, Stoylen A, Heimdal A, Rabben SI, Torp H.
Department of Physiology and Biomedical Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7489 Trondheim, Norway.

OBJECTIVE: In the present study the feasibility was assessed of a new strain rate imaging method with a very high frame rate of around 300 frames per second. METHODS: Digital radio-frequency (RF) data were obtained in nine healthy subjects using a sector of 20-30 degrees in an apical four chamber view. The RF data were analysed using a dedicated software package that displays strain rate images and profiles and calculates strain rate values. With the new method, it is possible to study events and spatial-temporal differences in the heart cycle with duration down to 3.5-3 ms, including the pre-ejection period and the isovolumic relaxation period. Since the interventricular septum (IVS) is of crucial importance for the left and right ventricular function, we assessed changes through the heart cycle of the strain rate in the IVS. RESULTS: Mean peak systolic strain rate in the healthy subjects was -1.65+/-0.13 s(-1). Mean peak diastolic strain rate during early filling was 3.14+/-0.50 s(-1) and during atrial systole 0.99+/-0.09 s(-1). We found individual differences in the strain rate patterns, but in all subjects, the ventricular contraction started simultaneously in all parts of the septum. After the ejection period, the elongation started before aortic valve closure, in the midinferior septum and propagated towards the apex. CONCLUSION: High frame rate strain rate imaging makes it possible to study rapid deformation patterns in the heart walls.

Am Heart J. 2001 Nov;142(5):881-96.
Doppler myocardial imaging in patients with heart failure receiving biventricular pacing treatment.
Ansalone G, Giannantoni P, Ricci R, Trambaiolo P, Laurenti A, Fedele F, Santini M.
Department of Heart Diseases, San Filippo Neri Hospital, Rome, Italy.

BACKGROUND: In patients with heart failure, biventricular pacing (BIV) improves left ventricular (LV) performance by counteracting LV unsynchronized contraction caused by the presence of left bundle branch block (LBBB). However, no data are yet available on regional long-axis function in patients with LBBB or on BIV effectiveness in improving such a function in patients with heart failure and LBBB. METHODS AND RESULTS: We studied with standard 2D echocardiography and tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) 21 nonischemic patients in New York Heart Association (NYHA) class III-IV, with LBBB and QRS >/=120 ms, receiving BIV. To assess long-axis function, TDI qualitative analysis at the basal level of each LV wall was performed in M-mode color and pulsed wave Doppler modalities before and after BIV. By analysis of the interventricular septum, the inferior, posterior, lateral, and anterior walls, of 105 basal segments, the following electromechanical patterns were identified: normal (pattern I), mildly unsynchronized (pattern IIA), severely unsynchronized (pattern IIB), reversed early in systole (pattern IIIA), reversed late in systole (pattern IIIB), and reversed throughout all the systole (pattern IV). After BIV, (1) 49 (46.7%) of 105 segments showed unsynchronized contraction of the same degree as before; (2) 36 (34.3%) of 105 and 20 (19%) of 105 showed unsynchronized contraction of lesser and greater degree, respectively, than before; and (3) a preexcitation pattern was found in 11 (10.5%) of 105, but no segment with pattern IV was observed. According to TDI analysis, patients were divided into group 1 (10 of 21), with less severe LV asynchrony than before BIV, and group 2 (11 of 21), with no change or more severe LV asynchrony than before BIV. In group 1, (1) the LV ejection fraction increased significantly (P =.01); (2) the exercise tolerance, expressed as time and work capacity on the bicycle stress testing, increased significantly (P =.01, P =.003, respectively); (3) the 6-minute walked distance increased significantly (P =.01); and (4) the NYHA class decreased significantly (P =.003). In group 2, no significant differences were found either in LV ejection fraction, in NYHA class, or in exercise tolerance data (P = not significant for all). Conversely, the QRS narrowing was significant in both groups (P =.003 in group 1 and P =.01 in group 2). CONCLUSIONS: TDI is useful in assessing the severity of LV asynchrony in patients with LBBB with heart failure as well as in evaluating the pacing effects on long-axis function in these patients. BIV reduced unsynchronized and/or dyskinetic contraction in at least one third of the LV basal segments, whereas it induced preexcitation in approximately 10%. Such changes were responsible for better LV synchrony in approximately one half of patients. After BIV, LV performance improved significantly in patients with better LV synchrony evaluated by TDI, whereas the QRS narrowing was not predictive of this functional improvement.

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2001 May;14(5):360-9.
Real-time strain rate echocardiographic imaging: temporal and spatial analysis of postsystolic compression in acutely ischemic myocardium.
Belohlavek M, Pislaru C, Bae RY, Greenleaf JF, Seward JB.
Division of Cardiovascular Diseases Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, Minn. 55905, USA.

Postsystolic compression (PSC) is a sensitive indicator of regional left ventricular ischemic diastolic dysfunction. Quantitative assessment of compression patterns by strain rate imaging could determine the presence and spatial extent of PSC for the detection and analysis of acute ischemic diastolic dysfunction. With the use of a segmental left ventricular model, we evaluated time to compression/expansion crossover (T-CEC) in standard apical views. Data at baseline and after acute left anterior descending coronary artery occlusion were collected from 18 open-chest pigs. We found significant mean prolongation of T-CEC, ranging from 43.9 +/- 48.6 ms to 110.8 +/- 73.8 ms, in all apical segments and in 2 midventricular (anterior and anteroseptal) segments. Analysis of variance demonstrated that the prolonged T-CEC is spatially consistent with perfusion defect. The temporal and spatial analysis of T-CEC with the use of strain rate imaging is a new noninvasive technique for identification and topographic quantitation of ischemic diastolic dysfunction expressed by PSC.

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2000 Dec;13(12):1053-64.
Strain rate imaging by ultrasonography in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease.
Stoylen A, Heimdal A, Bjornstad K, Wiseth R, Vik-Mo H, Torp H, Angelsen B, Skjaerpe T.
Department of Cardiology, University Hospital of Trondheim, Norway.

Regional strain rate in the left ventricle can be assessed in real time and color mapped. The method is termed strain rate imaging (SRI), and findings correspond well with 2-dimensional echocardiography. This study addresses SRI as a method for localizing coronary lesions, compared with standard echocardiography. Twenty patients with acute myocardial infarction who underwent coronary angiography for clinical reasons were examined with SRI and standard echocardiography. Wall motion was graded by SRI color and separately by wall thickening. Strain rate imaging and 2-dimensional echocardiography results agreed well. An infarct-related artery was identified from angiograms combined with electrocardiograms. Both methods identified an infarct-related artery in 19 possible cases and had equal sensitivity and specificity for wall segments affected by lesion. Combining the information from both methods did not change accuracy. The study validates SRI as a method for assessing regional wall function in coronary artery disease. The advantages of SRI are discussed and measurements of strain rates are given.

Circulation. 2000 Sep 5;102(10):1158-64.
Myocardial strain by Doppler echocardiography. Validation of a new method to quantify regional myocardial function.
Urheim S, Edvardsen T, Torp H, Angelsen B, Smiseth OA.
Institute for Surgical Research and The Department of Cardiology, Rikshospitalet, University of Oslo, Norway.

BACKGROUND: Myocardial strain is a measure of regional deformation, and by definition, negative strain means shortening and positive strain, elongation. This study investigates whether myocardial strain can be measured by Doppler echocardiography as the time integral of regional velocity gradients, using sonomicrometry as reference method. METHODS AND RESULTS: In 13 anesthetized dogs, myocardial longitudinal strain was measured on apical images as the time integral of regional Doppler velocity gradients. Ultrasonic segment-length crystals were placed near the left ventricular (LV) apex and near the base. Apical ischemia was induced by occluding the left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD), and preload was increased by saline. Percentage systolic strain by Doppler correlated well with strain by sonomicrometry (y=0.82x-1.79, r=0.92, P<0.01). During LAD occlusion, apical myocardium became dyskinetic, as indicated by positive strain values and negative Doppler velocities. At the LV base, myocardial strain by Doppler, strain by sonomicrometry, and velocity of shortening by sonomicrometry (dL/dt) were unchanged during apical ischemia. However, myocardial Doppler velocities at the base decreased from 4.2+/-0.7 (+/-SEM) to 2.7+/-0. 4 cm/s (P<0.05), probably reflecting loss of motion caused by tethering to apical segments. Volume loading increased myocardial Doppler velocities from 2.2+/-0.3 to 4.1+/-0.8 cm/s (P<0.05) and Doppler-derived strain from -12+/-1% to -22+/-2% (P<0.05), whereas peak LV elastance remained unchanged. CONCLUSIONS: Myocardial strain by Doppler echocardiography may represent a new, powerful method for quantifying regional myocardial function and is less influenced by tethering effects than Doppler tissue imaging. Like myocardial Doppler velocities, strain is markedly load-dependent.

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