Assessment of left ventricular (LV) function using conventional echocardiographic methods is difficult in mitral regurgitation (MR) owing to altered hemodynamic loading conditions. Newer methods such as speckle-tracking echocardiography (STE) provide assessment of LV strain (St) and strain rates (SR).
Global St and SR are 1) decreased in dogs with clinical signs of congestive heart failure (CHF) due to myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) compared with clinically healthy dogs, and are 2) associated with conventional echocardiographic indices of MMVD severity.
The study subjects were 93 privately owned dogs with different MMVD severities.
Prospectively recruited dogs were grouped according to MMVD severity based on echocardiographic evaluation of MR and presence of clinical signs. Global radial and longitudinal St, SR, and indices of LV dyssynchrony were assessed.
On group-wise comparisons, dogs with CHF had increased global longitudinal St, global longitudinal and radial SR in systole (SRs), and early diastole (SRe) compared with dogs with no or minimal MR (all P < .04). On multiple regression analyses, these global STE variables increased with degree of MR, but associations with left atrial-to-aortic root ratio (LA/Ao) were best described by second-order polynomial equations. Thus, curvilinear relationships were found for LA/Ao and longitudinal St, SRs, and SRe (all P < .002) and radial St and SRe (all P < .001).
Conclusions and Clinical Importance
Assessed by STE, LV function appeared to be augmented in moderate-to-severe disease. However, at CHF stages with greatly enlarged atria, a decrease to levels comparable to dogs with no or minimal MR was observed.