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Doppler echocardiography and myocardial dyssynchrony: a practical update of old and new ultrasound technologies

Maurizio Galderisi14*, Fabio Cattaneo2 and Sergio Mondillo3

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Cardioangiology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Federico II University Hospital, Naples, Italy

2 GE Healthcare, Milan, Italy

3 Cardiology, University of Siena, Siena, Italy

4 Laboratory of Echocardiography, Division of Cardioangiology with CCU, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Block 1, Federico II University Hospital, Via S. Pansini, 5, 80131 Naples. Italy

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Cardiovascular Ultrasound 2007, 5:28  doi:10.1186/1476-7120-5-28

Published: 6 September 2007


Morbidity and mortality rates are higher in patients with severe left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction and ECG-derived prolonged QRS interval than in those with normal QRS duration. QRS duration is currently used on the grounds that it reflects the presence of ventricular dyssynchrony. However, 30–40% of patients selected on the basis of a prolonged QRS do not receive benefit by cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) since they do not show any significant inverse LV remodeling and QRS duration does not accurately distinguish responders to CRT. Consequently, mechanical dyssynchrony (particularly intra-ventricular dyssynchrony) seems to be much more important than electrical dyssinchrony. Pre- and post-echocardiographic assessment should require the combination of conventional and specific applications ranging from M-mode and pulsed/continuous Doppler, to pulsed Tissue Doppler, the off-line analysis of colour Tissue Velocity Imaging, Strain Rate Imaging, and real time three-dimensional reconstruction However, there is not no consensus about the best approach and the best ultrasound parameter for selecting candidates to CRT and ECG representation of abnormal cardiac conduction still remains as the main criterion in guidelines. This review is a practical update of ultrasound methods and measurements of atrio-ventricular, inter-ventricular and intra-ventricular dyssynchrony and describes experiences which used either conventional Doppler echocardiography and more advanced techniques. By these experiences, the global amount of LV dyssynchrony seems to be critical: the greater intra-ventricular dyssynchrony, the higher the possibility of significant LV inverse remodeling. After CRT, it is necessary also to evaluate the optimal atrio-ventricular delay and ventricular-ventricular delay setting that maximizes LV systolic function.