Aims: We tested the hypothesis that myocardial stiffness as assessed by diastolic wall strain (DWS) is altered in adult survivors of childhood leukaemias with preserved left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction and explored its association with myocardial fibrosis and diastolic deformation.
Methods and results: Ninety-four (53 males) adult survivors of childhood leukaemias aged 22.2 ± 5.5 years and 66 (36 males) healthy controls were studied retrospectively. Diastolic wall strain and calibrated integrated backscatter (cIB) were measured as indices of myocardial stiffness and fibrosis, respectively. Left and right ventricular (RV) diastolic and torsional mechanics were interrogated using speckle tracking echocardiography. Patients had significantly lower LV DWS, and hence stiffer LV myocardium, and greater myocardial cIB in patients than controls (all P < 0.001). Left ventricular longitudinal, radial, and circumferential early diastolic strain rates, circumferential late diastolic strain rate, and peak twisting and untwisting velocities, tricuspid annular early diastolic velocity, and RV-free wall longitudinal early diastolic strain rate were significantly lower in patients than controls (all P < 0.05). Diastolic wall strain correlated inversely with myocardial cIB, and positively with LV longitudinal, radial, and circumferential early diastolic strain rates (all P < 0.05), while myocardial cIB correlated inversely with LV radial and circumferential early diastolic strain rates, circumferential late diastolic strain rate, peak twisting and untwisting velocities, and tricuspid annular e velocity (all P < 0.05).
Conclusion: In adult survivors of childhood leukaemias, despite the preservation of LV ejection fraction, increased stiffness of the LV myocardium is evident and is associated with myocardial fibrosis and impaired ventricular diastolic function.
Keywords: Childhood leukaemia survivors; Diastolic function; Diastolic wall strain; Myocardial stiffness.
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