Assessing cardiac stiffness using ultrasound shear wave elastography.
Shear wave elastography offers a new dimension to echocardiography: it measures myocardial stiffness. Therefore, it could provide additional insights into the pathophysiology of cardiac diseases affecting myocardial stiffness and potentially improve diagnosis or guide patient treatment. The technique detects fast mechanical waves on the heart wall with high frame rate echography, and converts their propagation speed into a stiffness value. A proper interpretation of shear wave data is required as the shear wave interacts with the intrinsic, yet dynamically changing geometrical and material characteristics of the heart under pressure. This dramatically alters the wave physics of the propagating wave, demanding adapted processing methods compared to other shear wave elastography applications as breast tumor and liver stiffness staging. Furthermore, several advanced analysis methods have been proposed to extract supplementary material features such as viscosity and anisotropy, potentially offering additional diagnostic value. This review explains the general mechanical concepts underlying cardiac shear wave elastography and provides an overview of the preclinical and clinical studies within the field. We also identify the mechanical and technical challenges ahead to make shear wave elastography a valuable tool for clinical practice.
Caenen, A; Pernot, M; Nightingale, KR; Voigt, J-U; Vos, HJ; Segers, P; D'hooge, J
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