Cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) can profoundly improve outcome in selected patients with heart failure; however, response is difficult to predict and can be absent in up to one in three patients. There has been a substantial amount of interest in the echocardiographic assessment of left ventricular dyssynchrony, with the ultimate aim of reliably identifying patients who will respond to CRT. The measurement of myocardial deformation (strain) has conventionally been assessed using tissue Doppler imaging (TDI), which is limited by its angle dependence and ability to measure in a single plane. Two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography is a technique that provides measurements of strain in three planes, by tracking patterns of ultrasound interference ('speckles') in the myocardial wall throughout the cardiac cycle. Since its initial use over 15 years ago, it has emerged as a tool that provides more robust, reproducible and sensitive markers of dyssynchrony than TDI. This article reviews the use of two-dimensional and three-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography in the assessment of dyssynchrony, including the identification of echocardiographic parameters that may hold predictive potential for the response to CRT. It also reviews the application of these techniques in guiding optimal LV lead placement pre-implant, with promising results in clinical improvement post-CRT.
Keywords: cardiac resynchronisation therapy; dyssynchrony; speckle-tracking echocardiography; strain.
© 2016 The authors.