Assessment of Left Ventricular Function by Echocardiography: The Case for Routinely Adding Global Longitudinal Strain to Ejection Fraction

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2018 Feb;11(2 Pt 1):260-274. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2017.11.017.


Left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (LVEF) is a simple measure of global systolic function that pervades the risk evaluation and management of many cardiovascular diseases. However, this parameter is limited not only by technical challenges, but also by pathophysiological entities where the ratio of stroke volume to LV cavity size is preserved. The assessment of global longitudinal strain (GLS) from speckle-tracking analysis of 2-dimensional echocardiography has become a clinically feasible alternative to LVEF for the measurement of myocardial function. Evidence gathered over the last decade has shown GLS to be more sensitive to left ventricular dysfunction (LVD) than LVEF and to provide additional prognostic information. The technology is validated, reproducible within an acceptable range, and widely available. GLS has been proposed as the test of choice in guidelines for monitoring of asymptomatic cardiotoxicity related to chemotherapy. It also has the potential to improve risk stratification, redefine criteria for disease classification, and determine treatment in asymptomatic LVD resulting from a variety of etiologies. GLS provides utility across the spectrum of heart failure (and LVEF) as well as in the evaluation of valvular heart disease. There is a strong case for incorporation of GLS into clinical decision making. This review appraises the evidence addressing the utility of GLS as a complementary metric to LVEF for incorporation into mainstream clinical practice.

Keywords: global longitudinal strain; heart failure; left ventricular dysfunction; left ventricular ejection fraction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Echocardiography*
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Contraction*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke Volume*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / diagnostic imaging*
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / etiology
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / mortality
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / physiopathology
  • Ventricular Function, Left*