Echocardiography for the assessment of myocardial viability.
The identification of viable myocardium in the setting of acute myocardial infarction or chronic coronary artery disease with reduced left ventricular function has important prognostic and therapeutic implications. Many noninvasive methods have been used to assess viability, and recently, dobutamine stress echocardiography has been studied for this purpose. Dobutamine stress echocardiography is a safe, accessible, and relatively inexpensive technique. Moreover, its accuracy for detecting viability approaches that of positron emission tomography and thallium scintigraphy. In addition to dobutamine stress echocardiography, other echocardiographic techniques, such as myocardial contrast echocardiography and dipyridamole stress echocardiography, are being developed to delineate viability. In the future, echocardiographic methods may identify viability with enough accuracy to allow us to better select patients for revascularization procedures when the indications are otherwise unclear.
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