Aim: The clinical usefulness of integrated backscatter (IB) imaging was compared with right ventricular endomyocardial biopsy for assessing myocardial damage in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM).
Methods: We examined 15 patients with DCM and 20 healthy controls. In addition to the conventional M-mode echocardiographic parameters, we determined the cyclic variation in IB values (CV-IB) obtained from parasternal short axis views of the left ventricle just under the transducer for both the interventricular septum (IVS) and the left ventricular posterior wall (PW). The per cent fibrosis area (%) and the transverse diameter of myocytes (microm) were measured in right ventricular endomyocardial biopsy specimens by computer image analysis. To analyze the relationship between pathological findings and CV-IB, we divided patients into four subgroups on the basis of the pathological characteristics of endomyocardial biopsy specimens as follows: degeneration dominant group (n = 5), fibrosis dominant group (n = 5), dilated phase hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (n = 2), and mixed type (n = 3).
Results: CV-IB in the IVS and the PW was lower in patients with DCM (8.8 +/- 2.9, 8.3 +/- 2.7 dB, respectively) than in normal subjects (14.4 +/- 2.9, 13.6 +/- 2.6 dB, respectively). Biopsy findings showed a mean per cent fibrosis area of 24.0 +/- 12.3%, and a mean myocyte diameter of 14.3 +/- 2.9 microm in patients with DCM. CV-IB was correlated with both of these findings: per cent fibrosis area (r = -0.56 in IVS, r = -0.56 in PW) and myocyte diameter (r = 0.67 in IVS, r = 0.71 in PW). CV-IB was decreased in all DCM subgroups compared with normal subjects, but there was no significant difference between subgroups.
Conclusions: CV-IB was correlated with both the extent of fibrosis in myocardial tissue and the myocyte diameter. These findings suggest that ultrasonic tissue characterization is a good indicator of the severity of fibrosis and myocyte atrophy in patients with DCM.