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Eur J Heart Fail. 2011 Mar;13(3):292-302. doi: 10.1093/eurjhf/hfq203. Epub 2010 Nov 25.

Advantages of deformation indices over systolic velocities in assessment of longitudinal systolic function in patients with heart failure and normal ejection fraction.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, University of Perugia School of Medicine, Ospedale S.Maria della Misericordia, S.Andrea delle Fratte, 06132 Perugia, Italy.



Tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) systolic velocities have been used to detect impaired systolic function in patients with heart failure and normal ejection fraction (HFnEF). However, many patients do not show alterations by this technique, and furthermore, myocardial systolic velocities can be affected by tethering, translation, and loading conditions. Thus, uncertainties remain about the detection of abnormal systolic function in HFnEF patients. The aim of this study was, therefore, to compare systolic velocities vs. TDI-derived deformation indices for detection of possible abnormalities of systolic function in HFnEF patients, taking into account loading conditions.


We studied 40 patients with systolic heart failure (SHF: EF ≤ 40%), 47 HFnEF patients, and 50 controls (C). Systolic velocities of the mitral annulus (pulsed-wave TDI) were measured at four sites and averaged; concomitantly, peak negative TDI-derived strain and strain rate of the four walls were measured in apical, four-, and two-chamber views. Ejection fraction was 65 ± 6% in C, 62 ± 7% in HFnEF, and 29 ± 7% in SHF (P< 0.001 vs. both). In HFnEF patients, systolic velocities and peak negative global longitudinal strain rate and strain were higher than in SHF (P< 0.0001 for all), but lower than in C (P< 0.0001 for all). After controlling for age, left ventricular mass index, end-diastolic volume index, and circumferential end-systolic stress, differences between groups remained significant for deformation indices but not for TDI velocities. By velocity/strain-stress relationship analysis, peak global longitudinal strain was more sensitive than peak systolic motion in detecting systolic dysfunction in HFnEF patients (64 vs. 40%, P< 0.05).


In patients with HFnEF, TDI-derived deformation indices may more accurately detect abnormal systolic function than myocardial velocities.

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