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Real-time three-dimensional speckle tracking echocardiography: technical aspects and clinical applications

Authors Sorrentino R, Esposito R, Pezzullo E, Galderisi M

Received 20 July 2016

Accepted for publication 13 September 2016

Published 24 November 2016 Volume 2016:7 Pages 147—158


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Kones

Regina Sorrentino, Roberta Esposito, Enrica Pezzullo, Maurizio Galderisi

Department of Advanced Biomedical Sciences, Interdepartmental Laboratory of Cardiac Imaging, Federico II University Hospital, Naples, Italy

Abstract: Three-dimensional speckle tracking echocardiography (3D STE) is a novel technique for the quantification of cardiac deformation based on tracking of ultrasonic speckles in gray scale full-volume 3D images. Developments in ultrasound technologies have made 3D speckle tracking widely available. Two-dimensional echocardiography has intrinsic limitations regarding estimation of left ventricular (LV) volumes, ejection fraction, and LV mechanics, due to its inherent foreshortening errors and dependency on geometric models. The development of 3D echocardiography has improved reproducibility and accuracy. Data regarding the feasibility, accuracy, and clinical applications of 3D STE are rapidly assembling. From the tracking results, 3D STE derives several parameters, including longitudinal, circumferential and radial strain, as well as a combined assessment of longitudinal and circumferential strain, termed area strain. 3D STE can also quantify LV rotational movements such as rotation, twist, and torsion. 3D STE provides a better insight on global and regional myocardial deformation. Main applications include detection of subclinical myocardial involvement in heart failure, arterial hypertension, dyssynchrony, and ischemic heart disease. Emerging areas of application include a large spectrum of heart-involving systemic conditions, such as prediction of rejection in heart transplant patients, early detection of cardiotoxicity in patients receiving chemotherapy for cancer, and deeper physiological understanding of LV contraction mechanics in different types of athletes. Aim of this review is to discuss background, technical acquisition and processing aspects as well as recognized and developing clinical applications of this emerging ultrasound technology.

Keywords: speckle tracking echocardiography, three-dimensional echocardiography, myocardial deformation, validation, clinical applications

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