Quantifying Myocardial Contractility Changes Using Ultrasound-Based Shear Wave Elastography.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


Myocardial contractility, a significant determinant of cardiac function, is valuable for diagnosis and evaluation of treatment in cardiovascular disorders including heart failure. Shear wave elasticity imaging (SWEI) is a newly developed ultrasound-based elastographic technique that can directly assess the stiffness of cardiac tissue. The aim of this study was to verify the ability of this technique to quantify contractility changes in the myocardium.


In 12 isolated rabbit hearts, SWEI measurements were made of systolic stiffness at five different coronary perfusion pressures from 0 to 92 mm Hg. The changes in coronary perfusion were used to induce acute stepwise reversible changes in cardiac contractility via the Gregg effect. The Gregg effect is the dependency of contractility on coronary perfusion. In four of the hearts, the measurements were repeated after delivery of gadolinium, which is known to block the Gregg effect.


Systolic stiffness measured by SWEI changed linearly with coronary perfusion pressure, with a slope of 0.27 kPa/mm Hg (mean of 95% CI, R2  = 0.73). As expected, the change in contractility due to the Gregg effect was blocked by gadolinium, with a significant reduction of the slope to 0.08 kPa/mm Hg.


SWEI measurements of systolic stiffness provide an index of contractility in the unloaded isolated rabbit heart. Although this study was done under ideal imaging conditions and with nonphysiologic loading conditions, it reinforces the concept that this ultrasound technique has the potential to provide a direct and noninvasive index of cardiac contractility.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Vejdani-Jahromi, M; Freedman, J; Nagle, M; Kim, Y-J; Trahey, GE; Wolf, PD

Published Date

  • January 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 30 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 90 - 96

PubMed ID

  • 27843103

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC5219943

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1097-6795

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0894-7317

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.echo.2016.10.004


  • eng