Aims: The aim of the present multicentre study was to analyse a large cohort of healthy subjects and patients with a common condition such as heart failure (HF) with the purpose of determining the normal range and the usefulness of right ventricular (RV) systolic strain to detect subtle RV systolic abnormalities using 2D speckle-tracking echocardiography.
Methods and results: We analysed 238 healthy subjects and a cohort of 642 patients characterized by asymptomatic patients (n = 216) and patients with HF with preserved (HFpEF) and reduced (HFrEF) ejection fraction (n = 218 and n = 208, respectively) prospectively included in 10 centres. The normal range of RV systolic strain analysing the healthy subjects was as follows: RV global strain -24.5 ± 3.8 and RV free wall strain -28.5 ± 4.8 (lowest expected value -17 and -19%, respectively). Concerning the ability of these myocardial parameters to detect subtle RV systolic abnormalities, RV global and free wall systolic strain were able to detect subtle RV longitudinal systolic abnormalities in a significant proportion of patients with HFrEF and to a lesser extent in HFpEF despite preserved tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion, tricuspid lateral annular peak systolic velocity by pulsed tissue Doppler imaging, and RV fractional area change. In addition, RV global and free wall systolic strain were significantly linked to the symptomatic status of the patients.
Conclusions: The findings from this study provide important data regarding the normal range of RV global and free wall systolic strain and highlight the clinical relevance of these RV myocardial parameters to detect subtle RV systolic abnormalities in patients with HF.
Keywords: echocardiography; right ventricular; speckle tracking; strain.
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