Coronary Flow Reserve by Contrast-Enhanced Echocardiography: A New Noninvasive Diagnostic Tool for Cardiac Allograft Vasculopathy

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Abstract

Noninvasive tests have proven unsatisfactory in cardiac allograft vasculopathy (CAV) diagnosis. We assessed coronary flow reserve (CFR) by contrast-enhanced transthoracic echocardiography (CE-TTE) in heart transplantation (HT). CFR was assessed in the left anterior descending coronary artery in 73 HT recipients (59 male, aged 50 ± 12 years at HT), at 8 ± 4.5 years post-HT. CFR measurements were taken blindly from coronary angiographies. CFR cut points were the standard value of ≤2 and those defined by receiver operating characteristics (ROC) curve analysis. CFR was lower in patients with CAV (2.3 ± 0.7 vs. 3.2 ± 0.5, p < 0.0001). The ≤2 cut point was 100% specific and 38% sensitive. The ≤2.7 cut point, optimal by ROC analysis, was 87% specific and 82% sensitive. Accuracy rose from 71% with the standard ≤2 cut point to 85% with the optimal cut point of ≤2.7. CFR by CE-TTE may offer promise as a novel, easily repeatable and accurate noninvasive tool in CAV detection. However, further longitudinal studies in larger patient cohorts are warranted before widespread adoption can be advocated.

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