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Am J Cardiol. 1998 Mar 1;81(5):609-14.

Contraction and relaxation velocities of the normal left ventricle using pulsed-wave tissue Doppler echocardiography.

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Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of California at San Diego, 92103-8411, USA.


We designed the present study (1) to investigate the velocities of longitudinal movement of the human left ventricle by pulsed-wave tissue Doppler (PWTD) imaging; (2) to test the hypothesis that a heterogeneous pattern of longitudinal systolic and diastolic velocities exists among individual left ventricular wall segments; (3) to establish the range of this heterogeneity, and (4) to correlate the function of individual segments with the known orientation of myocardial fibers. PWTD is a novel ultrasound method to quantify myocardial contraction and relaxation velocities. In 27 young normal subjects, PWTD peak values of longitudinal systolic and diastolic velocities were measured for 12 left ventricular segments visualized from the apical window. The PWTD sampling of each myocardial segment resulted in a triphasic velocity curve during each cardiac cycle: a systolic velocity wave (S) directed toward the transducer, and an early diastolic (E) and a late diastolic (A) velocity wave away from the transducer. A heterogeneous pattern of systolic and diastolic myocardial velocities was observed between individual wall segments as well as for the basal and midsegments of each myocardial wall. The difference between the highest and lowest values for S was 38.4% in the basal segments and 56.3% in the midwall segments. The difference between low and high velocities for E was 61.4% in the basal and 38.2% in the midsegments; for A the difference was 29.5% in the basal and 32.6% in the midsegments. In general, lower velocity values were found in the septum with higher basal to midwall difference. The lateral and posterior walls had higher, but more uniform, velocities. PWTD enables the quantitative assessment of regional systolic and diastolic myocardial velocities. Substantial heterogeneity of velocities exists within individual myocardial segments, and must be taken into account in any clinical application. The observed heterogeneity in longitudinal function is consistent with the known spatial distribution of myocardial fibers.

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