We studied the role of global myocardial strain and strain rate in monitoring subclinical heart failure in a large group of asymptomatic long-term survivors of childhood cancer. Global strain (rate) parameters of survivors were compared with those in healthy controls and were related to conventional echocardiographic parameters, N-terminal-pro-natriuretic peptide (NT-pro-BNP) levels and clinical parameters. Two-dimensional (2-D) echocardiography was performed in 111 survivors and 107 healthy controls. Blood samples were taken from survivors to determine NT-pro-BNP levels. We showed that global myocardial strain, strain rate and time to peak systolic strain in asymptomatic survivors of childhood cancer were significantly lower compared with healthy controls (p values <0.0001) and were significantly related to several systolic and diastolic left ventricular parameters. Whether myocardial strain and strain rate are superior to conventional echocardiography in the early detection of subclinical heart failure needs to be explored in further longitudinal prospective studies.
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