Aims: To identify changes in multidirectional strain and strain rate (SR) in patients with aortic stenosis (AS).
Methods and results: A total of 420 patients (age 66.1 ± 14.5 years, 60.7% men) with aortic sclerosis, mild, moderate, and severe AS with preserved left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction [(EF), ≥50%] were included. Multidirectional strain and SR imaging were performed by two-dimensional speckle tracking. Patients were more likely to be older (P < 0.001) and at a worse New York Heart Association functional class (P < 0.001) with increasing AS severity. There was a progressive stepwise impairment in longitudinal, circumferential, and radial strain and SR with increasing AS severity (all P < 0.001). The myocardial dysfunction appeared to start in the subendocardium with mild AS, to mid-wall dysfunction with moderate AS, and eventually transmural dysfunction with severe AS. Aortic valve area, as a measure of AS severity, was an independent determinant of multidirectional strain and SR on multiple linear regressions.
Conclusions: Patients with AS have evidence of subclinical myocardial dysfunction early in the disease process despite normal LVEF. The myocardial dysfunction appeared to start in the subendocardium and progressed to transmural dysfunction with increasing AS severity. Symptomatic moderate and severe AS patients had more impaired multidirectional myocardial functions compared with asymptomatic patients.