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Am Heart J. 2009 May;157(5):882.e1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2009.02.002. Epub 2009 Mar 25.

Real-time 3-dimensional echocardiography early after acute myocardial infarction: incremental value of echo-contrast for assessment of left ventricular function.

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  • 1Department of Cardiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands.



Accurate and reproducible assessment of left ventricular (LV) systolic function is important in patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Real-time 3-dimensional echocardiography (RT3DE) is an accurate technique, but it relies heavily on good image quality. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the incremental value of contrast-enhanced RT3DE.


A total of 140 consecutive patients (58 +/- 11 years, 78% men) with ST-elevation AMI clinically underwent nonenhanced and contrast-enhanced RT3DE within 24 hours from AMI to evaluate global and regional LV systolic function. Endocardial border definition was graded for each of the 16 LV segments as follows: 0 = border invisible, 1 = border visualized only partially, and 2 = complete visualization of the border. Three image-quality groups (good, fair, and uninterpretable) were identified. Left ventricular volumes and ejection fraction were measured off-line. Wall motion was graded for each visible segment as follows: 1 = normal, 2 = hypokinetic, 3 = akinetic, and 4 = dyskinetic.


During contrast-enhanced RT3DE, as compared with nonenhanced RT3DE, the number of segments with complete visualization of the endocardial border increased from 66% to 84% (P < .001); and the number of patients with a good-quality echocardiogram increased from 59% to 94% (P < .001). Intra- and interobserver agreement for assessment of global and regional LV systolic function improved during contrast-enhanced RT3DE, as compared with nonenhanced RT3DE.


Assessment of LV systolic function in AMI patients with RT3DE is frequently hampered by suboptimal echocardiographic quality. Contrast-enhanced RT3DE is of incremental value, improving the endocardial border visualization and the reproducibility of LV function assessment.

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