Current and Evolving Echocardiographic Techniques for the Quantitative Evaluation of Cardiac Mechanics: ASE/EAE Consensus Statement on Methodology and Indications Endorsed by the Japanese Society of Echocardiography
Echocardiographic imaging is ideally suited for the evaluation of cardiac mechanics because of its intrinsically dynamic nature. Because for decades, echocardiography has been the only imaging modality that allows dynamic imaging of the heart, it is only natural that new, increasingly automated techniques for sophisticated analysis of cardiac mechanics have been driven by researchers and manufacturers of ultrasound imaging equipment. Several such techniques have emerged over the past decades to address the issue of reader's experience and inter-measurement variability in interpretation. Some were widely embraced by echocardiographers around the world and became part of the clinical routine, whereas others remained limited to research and exploration of new clinical applications. Two such techniques have dominated the research arena of echocardiography: (1) Doppler-based tissue velocity measurements, frequently referred to as tissue Doppler or myocardial Doppler, and (2) speckle tracking on the basis of displacement measurements. Both types of measurements lend themselves to the derivation of multiple parameters of myocardial function. The goal of this document is to focus on the currently available techniques that allow quantitative assessment of myocardial function via image-based analysis of local myocardial dynamics, including Doppler tissue imaging and speckle-tracking echocardiography, as well as integrated back- scatter analysis. This document describes the current and potential clinical applications of these techniques and their strengths and weaknesses, briefly surveys a selection of the relevant published literature while highlighting normal and abnormal findings in the context of different cardiovascular pathologies, and summarizes the unresolved issues, future research priorities, and recommended indications for clinical use.