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Can J Cardiol. 2013 Mar;29(3):317-28. doi: 10.1016/j.cjca.2013.01.006.

Imaging heart failure: current and future applications.

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Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.


A variety of cardiac imaging tests are used to help manage patients with heart failure (HF). This article reviews current and future HF applications for the major noninvasive imaging modalities: transthoracic echocardiography (TTE), single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), positron emission tomography (PET), cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR), and computed tomography (CT). TTE is the primary imaging test used in the evaluation of patients with HF, given its widespread availability and reliability in assessing cardiac structure and function. Recent developments in myocardial strain, 3-dimensional TTE, and echo contrast appear to offer superior diagnostic and prognostic information. SPECT imaging is a common method employed to detect ischemia and viability in patients with HF; however, PET offers higher diagnostic accuracy for both. Ongoing study of sympathetic and molecular imaging techniques may enable early disease detection, better risk stratification, and ultimately targeted treatment interventions. CMR provides high-quality information on cardiac structure and function and allows the characterization of myocardial tissue. Myocardial late gadolinium enhancement allows the determination of HF etiology and may predict patient outcomes and treatment response. Cardiac CT has become a reliable means for detecting coronary artery disease, and recent advances have enabled concurrent myocardial function, perfusion, and scar analyses. Overall, available imaging methods provide reliable measures of cardiac performance in HF, and recent advances will allow detection of subclinical disease. More data are needed demonstrating the specific clinical value of imaging methods and particularly subclinical disease detection in large-scale, clinical settings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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