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J Am Soc Nephrol. 2014 Oct;25(10):2351-65. doi: 10.1681/ASN.2013070734. Epub 2014 Apr 3.

Speckle tracking echocardiography detects uremic cardiomyopathy early and predicts cardiovascular mortality in ESRD.

Author information

Division of Nephrology and Clinical Immunology,
Division of Nephrology and Clinical Immunology.
Institute of Pathology.
Department of Anaesthesiology, and.
Department of Cardiology, Medical Faculty RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany; and.
Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Cardiovascular mortality is high in ESRD, partly driven by sudden cardiac death and recurrent heart failure due to uremic cardiomyopathy. We investigated whether speckle-tracking echocardiography is superior to routine echocardiography in early detection of uremic cardiomyopathy in animal models and whether it predicts cardiovascular mortality in patients undergoing dialysis. Using speckle-tracking echocardiography in two rat models of uremic cardiomyopathy soon (4-6 weeks) after induction of kidney disease, we observed that global radial and circumferential strain parameters decreased significantly in both models compared with controls, whereas standard echocardiographic readouts, including fractional shortening and cardiac output, remained unchanged. Furthermore, strain parameters showed better correlations with histologic hallmarks of uremic cardiomyopathy. We then assessed echocardiographic and clinical characteristics in 171 dialysis patients. During the 2.5-year follow-up period, ejection fraction and various strain parameters were significant risk factors for cardiovascular mortality (primary end point) in a multivariate Cox model (ejection fraction hazard ratio [HR], 0.97 [95% confidence interval (95% CI), 0.95 to 0.99; P=0.012]; peak global longitudinal strain HR, 1.17 [95% CI, 1.07 to 1.28; P<0.001]; peak systolic and late diastolic longitudinal strain rates HRs, 4.7 [95% CI, 1.23 to 17.64; P=0.023] and 0.25 [95% CI, 0.08 to 0.79; P=0.02], respectively). Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed circumferential early diastolic strain rate, among others, as an independent risk factor for all-cause mortality (secondary end point; HR, 0.43; 95% CI, 0.25 to 0.74; P=0.002). Together, these data support speckle tracking as a postprocessing echocardiographic technique to detect uremic cardiomyopathy and predict cardiovascular mortality in ESRD.

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