Background: Shear waves are generated by the closure of the heart valves. Significant differences in shear wave velocity have been found recently between normal myocardium and disease models of diffusely increased muscle stiffness. In this study we correlate in vivo myocardial shear wave imaging (SWI) with presence of scarred tissue, as model for local increase of stiffness. Stiffness variation is hypothesized to appear as velocity variation. Methods: Ten healthy volunteers (group 1), 10 hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) patients without any cardiac intervention (group 2), and 10 HCM patients with prior septal reduction therapy (group 3) underwent high frame rate tissue Doppler echocardiography. The SW in the interventricular septum after aortic valve closure was mapped along two M-mode lines, in the inner and outer layer. Results: We compared SWI to 3D echocardiography and strain imaging. In groups 1 and 2, no change in velocity was detected. In group 3, 8/10 patients showed a variation in SW velocity. All three patients having transmural scar showed a simultaneous velocity variation in both layers. Out of six patients with endocardial scar, five showed variations in the inner layer. Conclusion: Local variations in stiffness, with myocardial remodeling post septal reduction therapy as model, can be detected by a local variation in the propagation velocity of naturally occurring shear waves.

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Cardiovascular Ultrasound
Department of Cardiology

Strachinaru, M, Bosch, J.G, Schinkel, A.F.L, Michels, M, Feyz, L., de Jong, N., … Vos, H.J. (2020). Local myocardial stiffness variations identified by high frame rate shear wave echocardiography. Cardiovascular Ultrasound, 18(1). doi:10.1186/s12947-020-00222-1