Myocardial strain is a principle for quantification of left ventricular (LV) function which is now feasible with speckle-tracking echocardiography. The best evaluated strain parameter is global longitudinal strain (GLS) which is more sensitive than left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) as a measure of systolic function, and may be used to identify sub-clinical LV dysfunction in cardiomyopathies. Furthermore, GLS is recommended as routine measurement in patients undergoing chemotherapy to detect reduction in LV function prior to fall in LVEF. Intersegmental variability in timing of peak myocardial strain has been proposed as predictor of risk of ventricular arrhythmias. Strain imaging may be applied to guide placement of the LV pacing lead in patients receiving cardiac resynchronization therapy. Strain may also be used to diagnose myocardial ischaemia, but the technology is not sufficiently standardized to be recommended as a general tool for this purpose. Peak systolic left atrial strain is a promising supplementary index of LV filling pressure. The strain imaging methodology is still undergoing development, and further clinical trials are needed to determine if clinical decisions based on strain imaging result in better outcome. With this important limitation in mind, strain may be applied clinically as a supplementary diagnostic method.
Keywords: Cardiomyopathy; Chemotherapy; Heart failure; Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Left atrial strain; Left ventricular function; Strain imaging; Ventricular arrhythmia.
© The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology.