Evaluation of patients with high burden of premature ventricular contractions by comprehensive transthoracic echocardiography

Int J Cardiol Heart Vasc. 2022 Sep 15;42:101124. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcha.2022.101124. eCollection 2022 Oct.


Background: The prevalence and prognosis of premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) among individuals without structural heart disease are uncertain. Standard transthoracic echocardiography is a common method in evaluation of underlying cardiovascular disease and is recommended as a diagnostic method in PVC patients. However, it is unclear whether comprehensive echocardiographic examination can identify pathological findings in PVC patients with a normal standard echocardiogram.

Method: We included forty consecutive patients with a high PVC burden (>10,000 PVCs/day) and normal findings at a standard echocardiogram and exercise test. All subjects were investigated by a comprehensive echocardiographic examination using parameters usually not included in a routine work-up. We compared the results with 22 age and sex-matched controls.

Results: In six additional parameters-global longitudinal strain, right ventricular strain, septal-lateral delay, ventricular-arterial coupling, integrated backscatter and left atrial activation time-a statistically significant difference was shown between PVC patients and controls. Among these parameters, global longitudinal strain had a high reliability between operators.

Conclusions: Despite normal findings at standard echocardiography, the PVC group showed signs of impaired heart function when more comprehensive echocardiography parameters were used.

Keywords: Arrhythmia; Contractions; Echocardiography; Examination; Premature; Ventricular.