A Doppler Echocardiographic Study of the Myocardial Inotropic Response to Peak Semisupine Exercise in Healthy Children: Development of a Simplified Index of Myocardial Reserve

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Abstract

Background:

Stress echocardiography has been advocated for the detection of abnormal myocardial function and unmasking diminished myocardial reserve in pediatric patients. The aim of this study was to create a simplified index of myocardial reserve, derived from the myocardial inotropic response to peak semisupine exercise in healthy children, and illustrate its applicability in a sample of pediatric oncology patients.

Methods:

In this prospective analysis, children (7–18 years of age) with normal cardiac structure and function performed semisupine stress echocardiography to volitional fatigue. The quotient of wall stress at peak systole and heart rate–corrected velocity of circumferential fiber shortening were calculated at baseline and at peak exercise, the difference of which was termed the index of myocardial reserve (IMR). The IMR was also calculated in a retrospective sample of pediatric oncology patients with normal resting left ventricular function who had received anthracycline treatment and had performed the same exercise protocol to illustrate utility.

Results:

Fifty healthy subjects (mean age, 13.2 ± 2.6 years) and 33 oncology patients (mean age, 12.7 ± 4.0 years) were assessed. In the healthy children at peak exercise, heart rate–corrected velocity of circumferential fiber shortening significantly increased (from 1.17 ± 0.17 to 1.58 ± 0.24 circ · sec−1, P < .001), while the quotient of wall stress at peak systole significantly decreased (from 75.3 ± 17.1 to 55.3 ± 13.8 g · cm−2, P < .001), shifting the plot of the relationship between the two parameters upward and to the left. The mean IMR was −30.8 ± 17.8, and the normal distribution ranged from −4.7 (fifth percentile) to −67.3 (95th percentile). The IMR was abnormal in 10 oncology patients who were treated with anthracyclines.

Conclusions:

The authors have developed a novel IMR. Relative to the normal distribution of this IMR in healthy subjects, it is possible to identify patients with abnormal myocardial reserve. Thus, this study demonstrates the application of the IMR to aid in clinical decision making in individual patients.

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