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PMCID: PMC5837912 DOI: 10.1016/j.echo.2017.11.010


Background: Pediatric heart transplant recipients are at risk for increased left ventricular (LV) diastolic stiffness. However, the noninvasive evaluation of LV stiffness has remained elusive in this population. The objective of this study was to compare novel echocardiographic measures of LV diastolic stiffness versus gold-standard measures derived from pressure-volume loop (PVL) analysis in pediatric heart transplant recipients.

Methods: Patients undergoing left heart catheterization were prospectively enrolled. PVLs were obtained via conductance. The end-diastolic pressure-volume relationship was obtained via balloon occlusion. The stiffness constant, β, was calculated. Echocardiographic measures of diastolic function were derived from spectral and tissue Doppler and two-dimensional speckle-tracking. Ventricular volumes were measured using three-dimensional echocardiography. The novel echocardiographic estimates of ventricular stiffness included E:e'/end-diastolic volume (EDV) and E:early diastolic strain rate/EDV.

Results: Of 24 children, 18 were heart transplant recipients. Six control patients had hemodynamically insignificant patent ductus arteriosus or coronary fistula. The mean age was 9.1 ± 5.6 years. Median end-diastolic pressure was 9 mm Hg (interquartile range, 8-13 mm Hg). Lateral E:e'/EDV (r = 0.59, P < .01), septal E:e'/EDV (r = 0.57, P < .01), and (E:circumferential early diastolic strain rate)/EDV (r = 0.54, P < .01) correlated with β. Lateral E:e'/EDV displayed a C statistic of 0.93 in detecting patients with abnormal LV stiffness (β > 0.015 mL-1). A lateral E:e'/EDV of >0.15 mL-1 had 89% sensitivity and 93% specificity in detecting an abnormal β.

Conclusions: Echocardiographic estimates of ventricular stiffness may be accurate compared with the gold standard in pediatric heart transplant recipients. The clinical usefulness of these noninvasive measures in assessing LV stiffness merits further study in children.

Journal Title

Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography : official publication of the American Society of Echocardiography





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MeSH Keywords

Heart Transplantation; Echocardiography; Heart Ventricles; Diastole; Cardiac Output; Infant; Child, Preschool; Child; Adolescent


Diastolic function; Echocardiography; Pediatric; Pressure-volume relationship