This study examines and quantitates left ventricular (LV) short-axis 2-dimensional (2-D) echocardiograms of 16 normal control subjects and 19 patients who presented with clinical features suggestive of myocarditis leading to severe myocardiopathy. Of the 19 patients, 8 died or had cardiac transplantation: 9 were studied in the chronic phase and 10 in the acute phase. The endocardial surface of the LV short-axis image was digitized at chordal level at end-diastole and end-systole. Digitized traces in systole and diastole were superimposed. The cavity area of systole and diastole was determined and expressed as the percent systolic area reduction ratio. In the control subjects, the left ventricles were round in systole and diastole, contracted concentrically, and had a mean percent systolic area reduction of 53% (range 43 to 67). The left ventricle was not round in systole in the patients with myocarditis, and in 15, only the ventricular septum contracted significantly. Three patients had nonconcentric contraction, and regional contraction was more difficult to judge. The systolic area reduction ratio for the patients was 11 % (range 1 to 33), with no overlap with control subjects (p <0.001). Our results suggest that myocarditis more severely affects the LV free wall than the septum. In chronic patients, LV contraction remained markedly impaired. Quantitative evaluation of short-axis 2-D echocardiograms is a useful and sensitive technique for assessing damage due to presumed myocarditis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine