JOURNAL ARTICLE

Cardiac resynchronization therapy can reverse abnormal myocardial strain distribution in patients with heart failure and left bundle branch block

Ole A Breithardt, Christoph Stellbrink, Lieven Herbots, Piet Claus, Anil M Sinha, Bart Bijnens, Peter Hanrath, George R Sutherland
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2003 August 6, 42 (3): 486-94
12906978

OBJECTIVES: We studied the effects of cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) on regional myocardial strain distribution, as determined by echocardiographic strain rate (SR) imaging.

BACKGROUND: Dilated hearts with left bundle branch block (LBBB) have an abnormal redistribution of myocardial fiber strain. The effects of CRT on such abnormal strain patterns are unknown.

METHODS: We studied 18 patients (12 males and 6 females; mean age 65 +/- 11 years [range 33 to 76 years]) with symptomatic systolic heart failure and LBBB. Doppler myocardial imaging studies were performed to acquire regional longitudinal systolic velocity (cm/s), systolic SR (s(-1)), and systolic strain (%) data from the basal and mid-segments of the septum and lateral wall before and after CRT. By convention, negative SR and strain values indicate longitudinal shortening.

RESULTS: Before CRT, mid-septal peak SR and peak strain were lower than in the mid-lateral wall (peak SR: -0.79 +/- 0.5 [septum] vs. -1.35 +/- 0.8 [lateral wall], p < 0.05; peak strain: -7 +/- 5 [septum] vs. -11 +/- 5 [lateral wall], p < 0.05). This relationship was reversed during CRT (peak SR: -1.35 +/- 0.8 [septum] vs. -0.93 +/- 0.6 [lateral wall], p < 0.05; peak strain: -11 +/- 6 [septum] vs. -7 +/- 6 [lateral wall], p < 0.05). Cardiac resynchronization therapy reversed the septal-lateral difference in mid-segmental peak strain from -46 +/- 94 ms (LBBB) to 17 +/- 92 ms (CRT; p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Left bundle branch block can lead to a significant redistribution of abnormal myocardial fiber strains. These abnormal changes in the extent and timing of septal-lateral strain relationships can be reversed by CRT. The noninvasive identification of specific abnormal but reversible strain patterns should help to improve patient selection for CRT.

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