Assessment of fibrosis in infarcted human hearts by analysis of ultrasonic backscatter.
In animal hearts, the magnitude of integrated ultrasonic backscatter is increased in fibrotic myocardium. Our purpose in this study was to quantitate the relationship between ultrasonic backscatter and collagen deposition in 10 excised human hearts with old infarcts. A 2.25 MHz, 50% fractional bandwidth transducer was positioned at the transducer focal distance from the epicardium of each specimen. The radio frequency backscatter signal was digitized, squared, and integrated to yield the integrated ultrasonic backscatter, which was referenced to the backscatter from a water/steel interface. The interrogated myocardium was then excised and divided into two portions. One portion was assayed for hydroxyproline, a marker for collagen. A second portion was sectioned, stained with Masson's trichrome, and studied with the use of a computer-assisted image analysis system. There was a linear correlation between the magnitude of integrated backscatter and myocardial collagen content estimated by hydroxyproline assay (r = .78). Quantitative histologic analysis revealed a variable relationship between the transmural distribution of collagen and the corresponding transmural pattern of the backscatter signal. In two specimens exhibiting a discrete layer of subendocardial fibrosis, the backscatter amplitude was also increased in the subendocardial region. In specimens with other patterns of fibrosis, the local backscatter amplitude did not correspond to the transmural pattern of collagen distribution. We conclude that the quantitative analysis of ultrasonic backscatter shows promise for the noninvasive evaluation of myocardial fibrosis after infarction.
- Copyright © 1985 by American Heart Association