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01.12.2017 | Review | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

Cardiovascular Ultrasound 1/2017

The clinical use of stress echocardiography in ischemic heart disease

Zeitschrift:
Cardiovascular Ultrasound > Ausgabe 1/2017
Autoren:
Rosa Sicari, Lauro Cortigiani

Abstract

Stress echocardiography is an established technique for the assessment of extent and severity of coronary artery disease. The combination of echocardiography with a physical, pharmacological or electrical stress allows to detect myocardial ischemia with an excellent accuracy. A transient worsening of regional function during stress is the hallmark of inducible ischemia. Stress echocardiography provides similar diagnostic and prognostic accuracy as radionuclide stress perfusion imaging or magnetic resonance, but at a substantially lower cost, without environmental impact, and with no biohazards for the patient and the physician.
The evidence on its clinical impact has been collected over 35 years, based on solid experimental, pathophysiological, technological and clinical foundations. There is the need to implement the combination of wall motion and coronary flow reserve, assessed in the left anterior descending artery, into a single test. The improvement of technology and in imaging quality will make this approach more and more feasible. The future issues in stress echo will be the possibility of obtaining quantitative information translating the current qualitative assessment of regional wall motion into a number. The next challenge for stress echocardiography is to overcome its main weaknesses: dependance on operator expertise, the lack of outcome data (a widesperad problem in clinical imaging) to document the improvement of patient outcomes. This paper summarizes the main indications for the clinical applications of stress echocardiography to ischemic heart disease.
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