Right Ventricular Tissue Doppler and Strain Imaging: Ready for Clinical Use?


Address for correspondence and reprint requests: Hisham Dokainish, M.D., F.A.C.C., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Director of Echocardiography, Baylor College of Medicine, 6620 Main Street, 11A.08, Houston, TX 77030. Fax: 713-798-2751; E-mail: hishamd@bcm.tmc.edu


Although tissue Doppler (TD) imaging of the left ventricle is now commonly used in clinical settings, TD imaging of the right ventricle (RV) is not routinely practiced. Yet, there are significant data on clinical uses of RV TD imaging, including established normal values using both color and spectral TD.In acute left ventricular (LV) inferior wall myocardial infarction, depressed RV TD velocities have been shown to correlate with the presence of RV impairment, and with patient outcome. In patients with LV heart failure, TD imaging has been correlated to RV ejection fraction by radionuclide angiography, and is an independent predictor of outcome. In patients with congenital heart disease, RV TD has been especially valuable for assessing RV function, and has been correlated to invasive hemodynamic indices, and RV ejection fraction by magnetic resonance imaging. The RV performance (Tei) index has been calculated and validated using TD-derived, rather than conventional pulsed Doppler time intervals. RV TD indices have been shown to be useful in the detection of subclinical and clinical disease in morbid obesity, chronic pulmonary, and systemic disease. TD-derived RV strain imaging can detect segmental myocardial dysfunction, overcoming limitations to conventional TD imaging resulting from tethering. For both TD velocity and strain imaging, however, appreciation of the limitations of these techniques is necessary for their appropriate use. Given its rapid acquisition times, reproducibility, and ease of addition to standard transthoracic echocardiographic protocols, RV TD and strain imaging are important additional modalities in the comprehensive echo-Doppler assessment of RV function.