Objectives: We tested the hypothesis that ischemic myocardium can be sensitively detected using tissue Doppler-derived myocardial velocity gradient (MVG) by a dobutamine challenge.
Background: Although tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) has recently emerged to quantify regional myocardial contraction, increased translational motion during a dobutamine challenge may affect the measurements. MVG is an indicator of regional myocardial contraction independent of the translational motion.
Methods: We studied 19 patients with (n = 13) and without (n = 6) confirmed single-vessel coronary artery disease. Left ventricular short-axis tissue Doppler images were obtained along with conventional echocardiograms during a submaximal two-step dobutamine challenge (10 and 30 microg/kg body weight per min). Endocardial velocity as well as MVG were derived from TDI using computer analysis in the anteroseptal and posterior segments and were compared with visual interpretation.
Results: MVG demonstrated a significant dose-responsive increase in the nonischemic segments (anteroseptal: 2.6 +/- 0.8/s to 6.0 +/- 1.0/s [mean +/- SD], p < 0.05; posterior: 3.9 +/- 0.7/s to 7.6 +/- 1.8/s, p < 0.05) but remained unchanged in the ischemic segments (anteroseptal: 2.5 +/- 0.8/s to 2.7 +/- 0.7/s, p = NS; posterior: 3.4 +/- 1.0/s to 4.1 +/- 0.9/s, p = NS). Endocardial velocity failed to clearly demonstrate the differing responses between the nonischemic (anteroseptal: -2.3 +/- 1.2 to -2.7 +/- 1.6 cm/s, p = NS; posterior: 3.8 +/- 1.1 to 73 +/- 2.7 cm/s, p < 0.05) and ischemic segments (anteroseptal: -2.1 +/- 0.5 to -2.8 +/- 0.8 cm/s, p = NS; posterior: 4.2 +/- 0.8 to 6.5 +/- 2.6 cm/s, p = NS). Wall motion abnormality was hardly detectable with visual interpretation (wall motion score range 1.00 to 1.33).
Conclusions: Abnormal segments could be sensitively detected by using MVG in a submaximal dobutamine challenge, even where conventional methods failed to detect the abnormality.