It is a diagnostic method that is performed using state-of-the-art equipment called an echocardiograph, which works based on the physical principles of ultrasound (very high frequency sounds not perceived by the human ear). The equipment emits ultrasonic sound waves that, when entering the chest, collide and are reflected from the different cardiac structures, allowing immediate observation of the animated image of the heart, to determine the size, shape, and functioning of the different cardiac structures and the large arterial vessels. .
For the study, the patient lies on a stretcher on his left side, electrodes are placed on his chest, which are connected by leads or leads to an electrocardiograph, which monitors the heart rate during the study. Following this, a conductive gel is applied to the left side of your chest and a transducer is placed that is held firmly and moves over this area, so that animated images are obtained that provide precise information on the state and function of the heart.
This study can take around 20 to 30 minutes, is painless, does not require prior preparation and does not entail any risk for the patient.
The study of the parameters of myocardial deformation (strain) allows quantitatively establishing the systolic function of the myocardium, evaluating the parameters of rotation and of the left ventricle through echocardiography with speckle tracking , which is a new echocardiographic imaging technique that analyzes the movement of the tissues in the heart.
Strain is expressed as a fractional or percentage change in the dimension of an object, and the rate at which this change occurs, compared to its initial size.
The heart is an organ in continuous movement. Myocardial fibers change size and shape with each heart contraction and due to their spatial arrangement they do so in various directions, so three different types of deformations are considered:
- Longitudinal: myocardial deformation in the base-apex direction
- Radial: myocardial deformation directed towards the center of the cavity
- Circumferential: Shortening of the left ventricle along the circular perimeter from the short axis of the transverse plane of the left ventricle.