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Journal: The international journal of cardiovascular imaging


Asymmetric septal hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (ASH) is the common phenotype of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). We sought to classify ASH using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and to determine whether the MRI classification of ASH is related to the presence of risk factors for HCM. Ninety-three patients with ASH underwent cine and delayed-enhancement MRI. The ASH was classified morphologically using cine MRI at end-diastole. We evaluated the association between the MRI findings and the presence of risk factors in the ASH. The ASH was classified into three subtypes by MRI: contiguous subtype showing various clinical and MRI features (57%), sigmoid subtype (29%) with fewer risk factors, and reverse-curve subtype (14%) in younger patients with the larger myocardial mass and delayed-enhancement, which were significantly related to the risk factors. MRI was used to classify ASH into three subtypes, which might be related to the presence of risk factors.

Concepts: Nuclear magnetic resonance, Magnetic resonance imaging, Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy


The anatomical and functional characteristics of the left atrial appendage (LAA) and its relationships with anatomical remodeling and ischemic stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) have not been clearly established. The purpose of this study was to determine whether functional and morphological features of the LAA independently predict clinical outcome and stroke in patients with AF who underwent catheter ablation (CA). Two hundred sixty-four patients with AF, including 176 with paroxysmal AF (PAF, 54.0 ± 11.4 years old, M:F = 138:38) and 88 with persistent AF (PeAF, 56.4 ± 9.6 years old, M:F = 74:14) were studied. Of these patients, 31 (11.7 %) had a history of stroke/TIA (transient ischemic attack). The LA and LAA volumes were 124.0 ± 42.4 and 24.9 ± 4.3 ml in PeAF, these values were greater than those in PAF (81.2 ± 24.8 ml and 21.2 ± 5.1 ml, P < 0.001). The AF type (P = 0.016) and AF duration (P = 0.005), and anti-arrhythmic drugs use (P < 0.001) were significant predictors of AF recurrence after CA in all patients. Compared with patients without history of stroke, stroke patients had larger LA volume (106.9 ± 23.0 vs. 94.0 ± 38.9 ml, P = 0.004) and had lower LAA EF (50.0 ± 11.0 vs. 65.7 ± 13.4 %, P < 0.001). The independent predictors of stroke were age (P = 0.002) and LAA EF (P < 0.001) in PAF patients and that was only age (P = 0.001) in PeAF patients. In anatomical and morphological parameters of the LA and LAA, only depressed systolic function of the LAA was significantly related to stroke/TIA and recurrence of AF after CA in paroxysmal AF patients. Further large scaled prospective study is required for validation.

Concepts: Stroke, Atrial fibrillation, Transient ischemic attack, Blood pressure, Atrial flutter, Cultural studies, Left atrial appendage occlusion, Left atrial appendage


Although more patients with congenital heart disease (CHD) are now living longer due to better surgical interventions, they require regular imaging to monitor cardiac performance. There is a need for robust clinical tools which can accurately assess cardiac function of both the left and right ventricles in these patients. We have developed methods to rapidly quantify 4D (3D + time) biventricular function from standard cardiac MRI examinations. A finite element model was interactively customized to patient images using guide-point modelling. Computational efficiency and ability to model large deformations was improved by predicting cardiac motion for the left ventricle and epicardium with a polar model. In addition, large deformations through the cycle were more accurately modeled using a Cartesian deformation penalty term. The model was fitted to user-defined guide points and image feature tracking displacements throughout the cardiac cycle. We tested the methods in 60 cases comprising a variety of congenital heart diseases and showed good correlation with the gold standard manual analysis, with acceptable inter-observer error. The algorithm was considerably faster than standard analysis and shows promise as a clinical tool for patients with CHD.

Concepts: Genetic disorder, Blood, Heart, Heart disease, Right ventricle, Ventricle, Left ventricle, Congenital heart disease


To investigate the clinical utility of culprit plaque characteristics and inflammatory markers for the prediction of future cardiovascular events in patients with ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) with successful drug-eluting stent (DES) implantation. We evaluated 172 STEMI patients with successful primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with DES using pre-PCI high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and pre-PCI intravascular ultrasound virtual histology (IVUS-VH) of culprit lesions. The incidence of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) including all-cause mortality, non-fatal MI, stroke and late revascularization were recorded during hospitalization and follow-up. During follow-up (median 41 months), the incidence of MACE did not significantly differ among patients with or without all 3 high-risk plaque features on IVUS-VH (15.1 vs. 16.2%; p = 0.39). In contrast, patients with elevated hs-CRP and NLR levels were at significant risk for MACE [32.7 vs. 5.8%; hazard ratio (HR) 7.85; p < 0.001 and 43.9 vs. 6.9%; HR 8.44; p < 0.001, respectively]. High-risk plaque features had no incremental usefulness to predict future MACE. However, the incorporation of hs-CRP and NLR into a model with conventional clinical and procedural risk factors significantly improved the C-statistic for the prediction of MACE (0.76-0.89; p = 0.04). High-risk plaque features identified by IVUS-VH in culprit lesions were not associated with future MACE in patients with STEMI receiving DES. However, elevated hs-CRP and NLR levels were significantly associated with poorer outcomes and had incremental predictive values over conventional risk factors.

Concepts: Inflammation, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Cardiology, Percutaneous coronary intervention, Cardiovascular disease, Prediction, C-reactive protein


In recent years, there has been a significant effort to identify high-risk plaques in vivo prior to acute events. While number of imaging modalities have been developed to identify morphologic characteristics of high-risk plaques, prospective natural-history observational studies suggest that vulnerability is not solely dependent on plaque morphology and likely involves additional contributing mechanisms. High wall shear stress (WSS) has recently been proposed as one possible causative factor, promoting the development of high-risk plaques. High WSS has been shown to induce specific changes in endothelial cell behavior, exacerbating inflammation and stimulating progression of the atherosclerotic lipid core. In line with experimental and autopsy studies, several human studies have shown associations between high WSS and known morphological features of high-risk plaques. However, despite increasing evidence, there is still no longitudinal data linking high WSS to clinical events. As the interplay between atherosclerotic plaque, artery, and WSS is highly dynamic, large natural history studies of atherosclerosis that include WSS measurements are now warranted. This review will summarize the available clinical evidence on high WSS as a possible etiological mechanism underlying high-risk plaque development.

Concepts: Inflammation, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Blood vessel, Atheroma, Artery, Endothelium, Force


In the setting of acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), it remains unclear which strain parameter most strongly correlates with microvascular obstruction (MVO) or intramyocardial haemorrhage (IMH). We aimed to investigate the association of MVO, IMH and convalescent left ventricular (LV) remodelling with strain parameters measured with cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR). Forty-three patients with reperfused STEMI and 10 age and gender matched healthy controls underwent CMR within 3-days and at 3-months following reperfused STEMI. Cine, T2-weighted, T2*-imaging and late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) imaging were performed. Infarct size, MVO and IMH were quantified. Peak global longitudinal strain (GLS), global radial strain (GRS), global circumferential strain (GCS) and their strain rates were derived by feature tracking analysis of LV short-axis, 4-chamber and 2-chamber cines. All 43 patients and ten controls completed the baseline scan and 34 patients completed 3-month scans. In multivariate regression, GLS demonstrated the strongest association with MVO or IMH (beta = 0.53, p < 0.001). The optimal cut-off value for GLS was -13.7% for the detection of MVO or IMH (sensitivity 76% and specificity 77.8%). At follow up, 17% (n = 6) of patients had adverse LV remodeling (defined as an absolute increase of LV end-diastolic/end-systolic volumes >20%). Baseline GLS also demonstrated the strongest diagnostic performance in predicting adverse LV remodelling (AUC = 0.79; 95% CI 0.60-0.98; p = 0.03). Post-reperfused STEMI, baseline GLS was most closely associated with the presence of MVO or IMH. Baseline GLS was more strongly associated with adverse LV remodelling than other CMR parameters.

Concepts: Blood, Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Heart, Infarction, Necrosis, Ventricular fibrillation, The Strongest


Current guidelines for measuring cardiac function by tissue Doppler recommend using multiple beats, but this has a time cost for human operators. We present an open-source, vendor-independent, drag-and-drop software capable of automating the measurement process. A database of ~8000 tissue Doppler beats (48 patients) from the septal and lateral annuli were analyzed by three expert echocardiographers. We developed an intensity- and gradient-based automated algorithm to measure tissue Doppler velocities. We tested its performance against manual measurements from the expert human operators. Our algorithm showed strong agreement with expert human operators. Performance was indistinguishable from a human operator: for algorithm, mean difference and SDD from the mean of human operators' estimates 0.48 ± 1.12 cm/s (R(2) = 0.82); for the humans individually this was 0.43 ± 1.11 cm/s (R(2) = 0.84), -0.88 ± 1.12 cm/s (R(2) = 0.84) and 0.41 ± 1.30 cm/s (R(2) = 0.78). Agreement between operators and the automated algorithm was preserved when measuring at either the edge or middle of the trace. The algorithm was 10-fold quicker than manual measurements (p < 0.001). This open-source, vendor-independent, drag-and-drop software can make peak velocity measurements from pulsed wave tissue Doppler traces as accurately as human experts. This automation permits rapid, bias-resistant multi-beat analysis from spectral tissue Doppler images.

Concepts: Doppler echocardiography, Echocardiography, Measurement, Medical ultrasound, Test method, Derivative, Automation, Systems of measurement


Accurate assessment of the left atrial appendage (LAA) is important for pre-procedure planning when utilizing device closure for stroke reduction. Sizing is traditionally done with transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) but this is not always precise. Three-dimensional (3D) printing of the LAA may be more accurate. 24 patients underwent Watchman device (WD) implantation (71 ± 11 years, 42% female). All had complete 2-dimensional TEE. Fourteen also had cardiac computed tomography (CCT) with 3D printing to produce a latex model of the LAA for pre-procedure planning. Device implantation was unsuccessful in 2 cases (one with and one without a 3D model). The model correlated perfectly with implanted device size (R2 = 1; p < 0.001), while TEE-predicted size showed inferior correlation (R2 = 0.34; 95% CI 0.23-0.98, p = 0.03). Fisher's exact test showed the model better predicted final WD size than TEE (100 vs. 60%, p = 0.02). Use of the model was associated with reduced procedure time (70 ± 20 vs. 107 ± 53 min, p = 0.03), anesthesia time (134 ± 31 vs. 182 ± 61 min, p = 0.03), and fluoroscopy time (11 ± 4 vs. 20 ± 13 min, p = 0.02). Absence of peri-device leak was also more likely when the model was used (92 vs. 56%, p = 0.04). There were trends towards reduced trans-septal puncture to catheter removal time (50 ± 20 vs. 73 ± 36 min, p = 0.07), number of device deployments (1.3 ± 0.5 vs. 2.0 ± 1.2, p = 0.08), and number of devices used (1.3 ± 0.5 vs. 1.9 ± 0.9, p = 0.07). Patient specific models of the LAA improve precision in closure device sizing. Use of the printed model allowed rapid and intuitive location of the best landing zone for the device.


In the context of myocardial perfusion imaging (MPI) with cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR), there is ongoing debate on the merits of using technically complex acquisition methods to achieve whole-heart spatial coverage, rather than conventional 3-slice acquisition. An adequately powered comparative study is difficult to achieve given the requirement for two separate stress CMR studies in each patient. The aim of this work is to draw relevant conclusions from SPECT MPI by comparing whole-heart versus simulated 3-slice coverage in a large existing dataset. SPECT data from 651 patients with suspected coronary artery disease who underwent invasive angiography were analyzed. A computational approach was designed to model 3-slice MPI by retrospective subsampling of whole- heart data. For both whole-heart and 3-slice approaches, the diagnostic performance and the stress total perfusion deficit (TPD) score-a measure of ischemia extent/severity-were quantified and compared. Diagnostic accuracy for the 3-slice and whole-heart approaches were similar (area under the curve: 0.843 vs. 0.855, respectively; P = 0.07). The majority (54%) of cases missed by 3-slice imaging had primarily apical ischemia. Whole-heart and 3-slice TPD scores were strongly correlated (R2 = 0.93, P < 0.001) but 3-slice TPD showed a small yet significant bias compared to whole-heart TPD (- 1.19%; P < 0.0001) and the 95% limits of agreement were relatively wide (- 6.65% to 4.27%). Incomplete ventricular coverage typically acquired in 3-slice CMR MPI does not significantly affect the diagnostic accuracy. However, 3-slice MPI may fail to detect severe apical ischemia and underestimate the extent/severity of perfusion defects. Our results suggest that caution is required when comparing the ischemic burden between 3-slice and whole-heart datasets, and corroborate the need to establish prognostic thresholds specific to each approach.


Cardiac computed tomography permits quantification of coronary calcification as well as detection of coronary artery stenoses after contrast enhancement. Moreover, cardiac CT offers high-resolution morphologic and functional imaging of cardiac structures which is valuable for various structural heart disease interventions and electrophysiology procedures. So far, only limited data exist regarding the spectrum of indications, image acquisition parameters as well as results and clinical consequences of cardiac CT examinations using state-of-the-art CT systems in experienced centers. Twelve cardiology centers with profound expertise in cardiovascular imaging participated in the German Cardiac CT Registry. Criteria for participation included adequate experience in cardiac CT as well of the availability of a 64-slice or newer CT system. Between 2009 and 2014, 7061 patients were prospectively enrolled. For all cardiac CT examinations, patient parameters, procedural data, indication and clinical consequences of the examination were documented. Mean patient age was 61 ± 12 years, 63% were males. The majority (63%) of all cardiac CT examinations were performed in an outpatient setting, 37% were performed during an inpatient stay. 91% were elective and 9% were scheduled in an acute setting. In most examinations (48%), reporting was performed by cardiologists, in 4% by radiologists and in 47% of the cases as a consensus reading. Cardiac CT was limited to native acquisitions for assessment of coronary artery calcification in 9% of patients, only contrast-enhanced coronary CT angiography was performed in 16.6% and combined native and contrast-enhanced coronary CT angiography was performed in 57.7% of patients. Non-coronary cardiac CT examinations constituted 16.6% of all cases. Coronary artery calcification assessment was performed using prospectively ECG-triggered acquisition in 76.9% of all cases. The median dose length product (DLP) was 42 mGy cm (estimated effective radiation dose of 0.6 mSv). Coronary CT angiography was performed using prospectively ECG-triggered acquisition in 77.3% of all cases. Tube voltage was 120 kV in 67.8% of patients and 100 kV in 30.7% of patients, with a resultant median DLP of 256 mGy cm (estimated effective dose of 3.6 mSv). Clinical consequences of cardiac CT were as follows: in 46.8% of the cases, invasive coronary angiography could be avoided; ischemia testing was recommended in 4.7% of the cases, invasive coronary angiography was recommended in 16.4% of the cases and change in medication in 21.6% of the examinations. Cardiac CT is performed in the majority of patients for non-invasive evaluation of the coronary arteries. CT frequently resulted in medication change, and otherwise planned downstream testing including invasive angiography could be avoided in a high percentage of patients. Radiation exposure in experienced centers is relatively low.