Background: The risk stratification of patients with left ventricular (LV) dysfunction can be performed using echocardiographic parameters such as the ejection fraction (EF). Recently, new technologies based on deformation measurements have been shown to identify early myocardial dysfunction before EF decrease. Consequently, tools such as two-dimensional strain have been incorporated into echocardiographic systems, allowing for fast, reliable, and reproducible calculation of longitudinal components of LV systolic deformation. The hypothesis in this study was that as a more sensitive marker of LV dysfunction, longitudinal strain would allow for the risk stratification of patients with heart failure.
Methods: This multicenter study included 147 patients with heart failure with LV EFs ≤ 45% (mean age, 64 ± 14 years; 74% men; mean LV EF, 29.9 ± 8.9%). Conventional echocardiographic parameters as well as global and segmental longitudinal strain were measured and compared with these values in a control population. Patients were monitored for cardiac events, defined as a composite criterion, over 12 months.
Results: Clinical events were observed in 20% of patients during the 12-month follow-up period. On receiver operating characteristic curve analysis, global longitudinal strain had the highest prognostic value (area under the curve, 0.83) and the highest combination of sensitivity (73%) and specificity (83%), using a cutoff value of -7%.
Conclusion: Strain assessment is highly feasible and reliable in patients with LV dysfunction and allows for cardiovascular risk stratification in patients with heart failure with greater accuracy than LV EF.
Copyright © 2010 American Society of Echocardiography. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.