Background: The quantification of equine left ventricular (LV) function is generally limited to short-axis M-mode measurements. However, LV deformation is 3-dimensional (3D) and consists of longitudinal shortening, circumferential shortening, and radial thickening. In human medicine, longitudinal motion is the best marker of subtle myocardial dysfunction.
Objectives: To evaluate the feasibility and reliability of 2-dimensional speckle tracking (2DST) for quantifying equine LV longitudinal function.
Animals: Ten healthy untrained trotter horses; 9.6 ± 4.4 years; 509 ± 58 kg.
Methods: Prospective study. Repeated echocardiographic examinations were performed by 2 observers from a modified 4-chamber view. Global, segmental, and averaged peak values and timing of longitudinal strain (SL), strain rate (SrL), velocity (VL), and displacement (DL) were measured in 4 LV wall segments. The inter- and intraobserver within- and between-day variability was assessed by calculating the coefficients of variation for repeated measurements.
Results: 2DST analysis was feasible in each exam. The variability of peak systolic values and peak timing was low to moderate, whereas peak diastolic values showed a higher variability. Significant segmental differences were demonstrated. DL and VL presented a prominent base-to-midwall gradient. SL and SrL values were similar in all segments except the basal septal segment, which showed a significantly lower peak SL occurring about 60 ms later compared with the other segments.
Conclusions and Clinical Importance: 2DST is a reliable technique for measuring systolic LV longitudinal motion in healthy horses. This study provides preliminary reference values, which can be used when evaluating the technique in a clinical setting.