Detection of unique transmural architecture of human idiopathic cardiomyopathy by ultrasonic tissue characterization.
BACKGROUND Noninvasive approaches to the evaluation of idiopathic cardiomyopathy are limited. Recent work from our laboratory has used quantitative ultrasound to define the three-dimensional structure of normal human myocardium and the myocardial remodeling associated with infarction. Our goal was to define the role of ultrasonic tissue characterization for detection of specific alterations in the three-dimensional transmural architecture of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy.
METHODS AND RESULTS We measured frequency-dependent backscatter from 22 cylindrical biopsy specimens from nine explanted fixed hearts of patients who underwent heart transplantation for idiopathic cardiomyopathy, seven specimens from normal portions, and 12 specimens of infarcted tissue from six explanted fixed human hearts. Consecutive transmural levels from each specimen were insonified with a 5-MHz broadband transducer. The dependence of apparent (uncompensated for attenuation) backscatter, B(f), on frequency (f) was computed from radiofrequency (rf) data as: magnitude of B(f)2 = afn, where n is an index that reflects in part the size of the dominant scatterers in myocardial tissue. Myofiber diameter and percentage fibrosis were determined at each transmural level for each specimen. For cardiomyopathic tissue, the frequency dependence of backscatter (n) increased progressively from epicardial to endocardial (0.02 +/- 0.37 to 1.01 +/- 0.12, p less than 0.05) levels in conjunction with a progressive decrease in myofiber diameter (29.5 +/- 0.9 to 21.4 +/- 0.6 microns, p less than 0.0001). In contrast, in tissue from areas of infarction, the frequency dependence decreased progressively from epicardium to endocardium (0.91 +/- 0.20 to 0.23 +/- 0.21, p less than 0.05) in conjunction with a progressive increase in the percentage of fibrosis (23.5 +/- 9.4% to 54.5 +/- 4.9%, p less than 0.005). Normal tissue exhibited no significant transmural trend for frequency dependence, myofiber diameter, or percentage fibrosis.
CONCLUSIONS These data indicate the presence of a heterogenous transmural distribution of scattering structures associated with human idiopathic cardiomyopathy and myocardial infarction that may be detected by ultrasonic tissue characterization. The divergence of these transmural trends for frequency dependence of backscatter reflects distinct mechanisms of structural heterogeneity for different pathological processes that comprise a transmural gradation of cell size and fibrosis for idiopathic cardiomyopathy and infarction, respectively.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association