Integrated quadruple stress echocardiography

Minerva Cardioangiol. 2019 Aug;67(4):330-339. doi: 10.23736/S0026-4725.18.04691-1. Epub 2018 Apr 11.


Stress echocardiography (SE) is an established diagnostic technique. For 40 years, the cornerstone of the technique has been the detection of regional wall motion abnormalities (RWMA), due to the underlying physiologically-relevant epicardial coronary artery stenosis. In the last decade, three new parameters (more objective than RWMA) have shown the potential to integrate and complement RWMA: 1) B-lines, also known as ultrasound lung comets, as a marker of extravascular lung water, measured using lung ultrasound with the 4-site simplified scan symmetrically of the antero-lateral thorax on the third intercostal space, from mid-axillary to anterior axillary and mid-clavicular line; 2) left ventricular contractile reserve (LVCR), assessed as the peak stress/rest ratio of left ventricular force, also known as elastance (systolic arterial pressure by cuff sphygmomanometer/end-systolic volume from 2D echocardiography); 3) coronary flow velocity reserve (CFVR) on left anterior descending coronary artery, calculated as peak stress/rest ratio of diastolic peak flow velocity assessed using pulsed-wave Doppler. The 4 parameters (RWMA, B-lines, LVCR and CFVR) now converge conceptually, logistically, and methodologically in the Integrated Quadruple (IQ)-SE. IQ-SE optimizes the versatility of SE to include in a one-stop shop the core "ABCD" (asynergy+B-lines+contractile reserve+Doppler flowmetry) protocol. It allows a synoptic assessment of parameters mirroring the epicardial artery stenosis (RWMA), interstitial lung water (B-lines), myocardial function (LVCR) and small coronary vessels (CFVR). Each variable has a clear clinical correlate, different and complementary to all others: RWMA identify an ischemic vs. non-ischemic heart; B-lines a wet vs. dry lung; LVCR a strong vs. weak heart; CFVR a warm vs. cold heart. IQ-SE is highly feasible, with minimal increase in the imaging and analysis time, and obvious diagnostic and prognostic impact also beyond coronary artery disease - especially in heart failure. Large scale effectiveness studies with IQ-SE are now under way with the Stress Echo 2020 Study, and will provide the necessary evidence base prior to large scale acceptance of the technique.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Coronary Artery Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Artery Disease / physiopathology
  • Coronary Stenosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Coronary Stenosis / physiopathology
  • Coronary Vessels / diagnostic imaging
  • Echocardiography / methods
  • Echocardiography, Stress / methods*
  • Heart Failure / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Ischemia / diagnostic imaging
  • Myocardial Ischemia / physiopathology