Assessment of Myocardial Mechanics Using Speckle Tracking Echocardiography: Fundamentals and Clinical Applications

      The authors summarize the recent developments in speckle-tracking echocardiography (STE), a relatively new technique that can be used in conjunction with two-dimensional or three-dimensional echocardiography for resolving the multidirectional components of left ventricular (LV) deformation. The tracking system is based on grayscale B-mode images and is obtained by automatic measurement of the distance between 2 pixels of an LV segment during the cardiac cycle, independent of the angle of insonation. The integration of STE with real-time cardiac ultrasound imaging overcomes some of the limitations of previous work in the field and has the potential to provide a unified framework to more accurately quantify the regional and global function of the left ventricle. STE holds promise to reduce interobserver and intraobserver variability in assessing regional LV function and to improve patient care while reducing health care costs through the early identification of subclinical disease. Following a brief overview of the approach, the authors pool the initial observations from clinical studies on the development, validation, merits, and limitations of STE.

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