Background: Echo-Particle Image Velocimetry (echoPIV) tracks speckle patterns from ultrasound contrast agent(UCA), being less angle-sensitive than colour Doppler. High frame rate (HFR) echoPIV enables tracking of high velocity flow in the left ventricle (LV). We aimed to demonstrate the potential clinical use of HFR echoPIV and investigate the feasibility and accuracy in patients. Methods: Nineteen patients admitted for heart failure were included. HFR contrast images were acquired from an apical long axis view (ALAX), using a fully-programmable ultrasound system. A clinical UCA was continuously infused with a dedicated pump. Additionally, echocardiographic images were obtained using a clinical system, including LV contrast-enhanced images and pulsed-wave (PW) Doppler of the LV inflow and outflow in ALAX. 11 patients underwent CMR and 4 cardiac CT as clinically indicated. These CMR and CT images were used as reference. In 10 patients with good echoPIV tracking and reference imaging, the intracavitary flow was compared between echoPIV, conventional and UCA echocardiography. Results: EchoPIV tracking quality was good in 12/19 (63%), moderate in 2/19 (10%) and poor in 5/19 (26%) subjects. EchoPIV could determine inflow velocity in 17/19 (89%), and outflow in 14/19 (74%) patients. The correlation of echoPIV and PW Doppler was good for the inflow (R2 = 0.77 to PW peak; R2 = 0.80 PW mean velocity) and moderate for the outflow (R2 = 0.54 to PW peak; R2 = 0.44 to PW mean velocity), with a tendency for echoPIV to underestimate PW velocities. In selected patients, echoPIV was able in a single acquisition to demonstrate flow patterns which required multiple interrogations with classical echocardiography. Those flow patterns could also be linked to anatomical abnormalities as seen in CMR or CT. Conclusion: HFR echoPIV tracks multidirectional and complex flow patterns which are unapparent with conventional echocardiography, while having comparable feasibility. EchoPIV tends to underestimate flow velocities as compared to PW Doppler. It has the potential to provide in one acquisition all the functional information obtained by conventional imaging, overcoming the angle dependency of Doppler and low frame rate of classical contrast imaging.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported in part by ZonMw within the Innovative Medical Devices Initiative Program under the Project “Heart Failure and 4-D Flow”; and in part by the project “Ultrafast Ultrasound Imaging for Extended Diagnosis and Treatment of Vascular Disease (ULTRA- X-TREME)” with project number P17-32 of the research programme “Perspectief” which is (partly) financed by the Dutch Research Council (NWO).
© 2022, The Author(s).