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Speckle tracking echocardiographically-based analysis of ventricular strain in children: an intervendor comparison

  • Ferraro, Alessandra M.1, 2
  • Adar, Adi1
  • Ghelani, Sunil J.1, 2
  • Sleeper, Lynn A.1, 2
  • Levy, Philip T.2
  • Rathod, Rahul H.1, 2
  • Marx, Gerald R.1, 2
  • Harrild, David M.1, 2
  • 1 Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA, USA , Boston (United States)
  • 2 Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA , Boston (United States)
Published Article
Cardiovascular Ultrasound
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
May 21, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12947-020-00199-x
Springer Nature


BackgroundStrain and synchrony can be calculated from a variety of software packages, but there is a paucity of data with inter-vendor comparisons in children. To test the hypothesis that different packages may affect results, independent of acquisition, we compared values obtained using two commercially available analysis tool (QLAB and TomTec), with several different settings.MethodsThe study population included 108 children; patients were divided into three groups: (1) normal cardiac structure and conduction; (2) ventricular paced rhythm; and (3) flattened ventricular septum (reflecting right ventricular pressure or volume load lesions). We analyzed the same image acquired from the apical 4-chamber (AP4) and short-axis at the mid-papillary level (SAXM) views in both QLAB (versions 10.5 and 10.8) and TomTec (version 1.2). In QLAB version 10.8, low, medium, and high quantification smoothness settings were employed. In TomTec, images were analyzed with both low and high frame rates. Tracking quality for each package was graded. AP4 and SAXM strain and synchrony values were recorded. A mixed-effects linear regression model was used, with main effect considered significant if the p-value was < 0.05.ResultsTracking scores were high for all packages except QLAB 10.5 in the SAXM view. AP4 and SAXM strain values varied significantly between QLAB 10.5 and the other packages. Synchrony values varied widely for all strain values (p < 0.001 for both) in all packages. Quantification smoothness changes in QLAB 10.8 did not impact strain significantly in any patient group; temporal resolution changes in TomTec resulted in strain differences in children with flat ventricular septums, but not those with normal or ventricular paced hearts.ConclusionSynchrony values varied substantially among all packages in children. Strain values varied widely between QLAB 10.5 and all other software packages, recommending avoidance of QLAB 10.5 for future studies. Quantification smoothness settings in QLAB 10.8 resulted in minimal strain differences. In TomTec, low and high frame rate strain values differed only in a subset of patients (flattened septum). These data suggest that reliable comparisons between strain values derived from QLAB and TomTec is possible in certain cases, but that caution should be used especially in different hemodynamics conditions.

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