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Heart. 2011 Mar;97(5):388-93. doi: 10.1136/hrt.2010.192641.

Quantification of myocardial iron deposition by two-dimensional speckle tracking in patients with β-thalassaemia major and Blackfan-Diamond anaemia.

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Toronto General Hospital, 585 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



Cardiac disease related to transfusional iron overload is the leading cause of death in patients with β-thalassaemia major. Early myocardial iron deposition predates decreased left ventricular dysfunction and currently is best assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance.


Echocardiographic speckle tracking-derived myocardial mechanics were compared with cardiac MRI T2 star (T2*) calculations in 45 chronically transfused patients with β-thalassaemia major or Diamond-Blackfan anaemia (26 retrospectively and an additional 19 for validation). Two groups were studied: patients with presumed cardiac iron overload and interventricular T2* value ≤20 ms (low T2*) and patients with >20 ms (normal T2*). They were compared with a normal control group of 18 age- and gender-matched patients.


Patients with low T2* had a uniform decrease in longitudinal and circumferential strain compared with normal controls (-16±3% vs -20±3% and -20±4% vs -23±5%, respectively; p<0.0005). Peak twist and peak apical rotation were lower in patients with low T2* than in those with normal T2* or normal control patients. Conversely, no significant difference was observed between patients with normal T2* and controls. There was a strong and direct logarithmic correlation between average global longitudinal strain and T2* values (r=-0.68, p=0.0007). Using a cut-off of ≤-17%, global longitudinal strain predicted a T2* value of <20 ms with a sensitivity of 76% and a specificity of 88%.


Myocardial mechanics offers a simple alternative to cardiac MRI for assessing significant myocardial iron deposition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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