Echocardiographic determination of contraction and relaxation measurements of the left ventricular wall in normal subjects and patients with muscular dystrophy.
Boys with Duchenne's muscular dystrophy (DMD) usually have a cardiomyopathy characterized by fibrosis of the epicardial half of the left ventricle. This cardiomyopathy is difficult to detect by noninvasive techniques. We report a technique that evaluates incremental left ventricular posterior wall thickening and thinning. High-quality left ventricular posterior wall echoes in 24 boys with DMD and 32 controls were recorded at chordal level two times 1 year apart. Endocardial and epicardial echoes and a timing ECG were digitized and analyzed by minicomputer. Left ventricular wall amplitudes were determined at standardized temporal increments during contraction and relaxation. To compare with this left ventricular assessment technique, systolic ejection times, shortening fraction and mean velocity of circumferenial fiber shortening (Vcf) were also computed in the standard way. Mean year-to-year changes were minor. Mean Vcf, the ratio of preejection period to left ventricular ejection time and shortening fraction during the first year were statistically similar to those of the controls. Shortening fraction decreased slightly during the second year and became significantly different from the control, but remained within the normal range. Left ventricular wall thickness and cavity size were significantly less in boys with DMD than in controls. Therefore, we had to normalize incremental wall thickness to determine if any significant difference occurred. To do this, we evaluated the percentage of maximal wall thickness which occurred at a given percent of systole and diastole. Using this technique, it was shown that thickening during systole was a nearly linear process with respect to time in both groups. However, relaxation was significantly different between the groups. Relaxation was found to be an alinear process, and most thinning occurred in the first 40% of diastole. The major findings of this investigation was that the left ventricular wall of boys with DMD thinned at a slower rate than that of normal subjects. This new technique appears to be sensitive and demonstrates subtle changes in the left ventricular posterior wall.
- Copyright © 1980 by American Heart Association