Expert Review on the Prognostic Role of Echocardiography after Acute Myocardial Infarction
Acute myocardial infarction (AMI) remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, placing a major economic and resource burden on public health systems. During hospitalization, all AMI patients should be evaluated with transthoracic echocardiography, a noninvasive, low-cost, and easily available bedside imaging tool that allows the detection of myocardial walls involved in the ischemic process, damage extent, functional consequences, and mechanical complications. Moreover, and more importantly, transthoracic echocardiography can provide information on short- and long-term outcomes after AMI. The purpose of this review is to clarify the role of standard and advanced echocardiographic parameters for an early identification of patients at high risk for developing adverse events and mortality after AMI. Standard echocardiography (in particular left ventricular ejection fraction, wall motion score index, and diastolic measurements including E velocity deceleration time and E/e′ ratio) proposes powerful parameters for risk stratification after AMI. Advanced echocardiographic technologies, in particular speckle-tracking–derived longitudinal strain, coronary flow velocity reserve, and myocardial contrast echocardiography (contrast defect index), can provide additional prognostic value beyond standard techniques. Therefore, echocardiography plays a fundamental role in predicting short- and long-term prognosis, and a more accurate risk stratification of patients may be useful to drive therapy and follow-up after AMI. Accordingly, a comprehensive echocardiography-based algorithm would be welcome for an early stratification of cardiovascular risk in patients experiencing AMI.