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      Non-Invasive Quantitation of Myocardial Fibrosis Using Combined Tissue Harmonic Imaging and Integrated Backscatter Analysis in Dilated Cardiomyopathy


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          Background: Echocardiographic modalities have challenged the myocardial tissue characterization, but this reliability has not reached to the clinical use. This study investigated whether combined tissue harmonic imaging (THI) and integrated backscatter analysis (IB) provide the reliable and quantitative information about myocardial fibrosis in idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in comparison with myocardial biopsy findings. Methods: We studied 56 patients with DCM. All patients underwent left ventricular endomyocardial biopsy and IB with fundamental imaging (FI) and THI. Results: In patients with good echocardiographic image quality, excellent correlations between the percentage of area occupied by myocardial fibrosis (% fibrosis) and the mean of integrated backscatter during a cardiac cycle (m-IB) measured with FI or THI were seen, and the correlation was closer with THI compared with FI. While in patients with poor image quality the correlation between m-IB and % fibrosis was only modest with FI, but the correlation was excellent with THI. Four cut-off values of m-IB with THI obtained from receiver operating characteristic curve discriminated between % fibrosis of more and less than 25, 30, 35, and 40% with high sensitivity and specificity. Multivariate analysis revealed that m-IB with THI was an independent predictor for discrimination of the severity of myocardial fibrosis. Conclusion: Combined IB and THI are a clinically applicable method and may be an alternative to myocardial biopsy in evaluating quantitatively myocardial fibrosis in DCM.

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          Most cited references 14

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          Clinical use of ultrasound tissue harmonic imaging.

          The recent introduction of tissue harmonic imaging could resolve the problems related to ultrasound in technically difficult patients by providing a marked improvement in image quality. Tissue harmonics are generated during the transmit phase of the pulse-echo cycle, that is, while the transmitted pulse propagates through tissue. Tissue harmonic images are formed by utilizing the harmonic signals that are generated by tissue and by filtering out the fundamental echo signals that are generated by the transmitted acoustic energy. To achieve this, two processes could be used; one by using filters for fundamental and harmonic imaging and the second using two simultaneous pulses with a 180 degrees difference in phase. The introduction of harmonics allows increased penetration without a loss of detail, by obtaining a clearer image at depth with significantly less compromise to the image quality caused by the use of lower frequencies. This imaging mode could be used in different organs with a heightening of low-contrast lesions through artefact reduction, as well as by the induced greater intrinsic contrast sensitivity of the harmonic imaging mode.
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            Use of harmonic imaging without echocardiographic contrast to improve two-dimensional image quality.

            The aim of this study was to determine whether harmonic imaging (HI) improves endocardial visualization during 2-dimensional echocardiography without echocardiographic contrast. HI differs from fundamental imaging (FI) by transmitting ultrasound at one frequency and receiving at twice the transmitted frequency. This technique has been used in conjunction with contrast echocardiography to enhance myocardial contrast visualization. HI and FI were sequentially performed in 20 patients. Images were digitally stored and subsequently reviewed by 2 observers for the quality of endocardial visualization. In addition, acoustic quantification was performed in both FI and HI modes and endocardial tracking qualitatively judged. HI was compared with FI during dobutamine stress echocardiography in 17 patients who were imaged at baseline and peak stress. Overall, the harmonic images had less clutter and better myocardial blood contrast. Individual segments were better visualized with HI in 30% to 73% of cases. The acoustic quantification endocardial tracking was rated better with HI in 67% of short-axis views and in 58% of apical 4-chamber views. During dobutamine stress testing the overall number of interpretable segments improved from 64% for FI to 84% with HI. Many segments traditionally difficult to image were improved with HI. HI without the use of contrast agents improved endocardial visualization during routine 2-dimensional echocardiography. This improved endocardial visualization led to better endocardial tracking with acoustic quantification and to more segments being clinically interpretable during dobutamine stress testing.
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              A relationship between ultrasonic integrated backscatter and myocardial contractile function.


                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                June 2007
                07 September 2006
                : 108
                : 1
                : 11-17
                aDepartment of General Medicine, bFirst Department of Internal Medicine, Nara Medical University, Kashihara, Japan
                95595 Cardiology 2007;108:11–17
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 5, Tables: 1, References: 22, Pages: 7
                Original Research


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