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OBJECTIVE—To test the hypothesis that diastolic mitral annular motion velocity, as determined by Doppler tissue imaging and left ventricular diastolic flow propagation velocity, is related to the histological degree of heart transplant rejection according to the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation (ISHLT).
METHODS—In 41 heart transplant recipients undergoing 151 myocardial biopsies, the following Doppler echocardiographic measurements were performed within one hour of biopsy: transmitral and pulmonary vein flow indices; mitral annular motion velocity indices; left ventricular diastolic flow propagation velocity.
RESULTS—Late diastolic mitral annular motion velocity (ADTI) and mitral annular systolic contraction velocity (SCDTI) were higher in patients with ISHLT < IIIA than in those with ISHLT IIIA (ADTI, 8.8 cm/s v 7.7 cm/s (p = 0.03); SCDTI, 19.3 cm/s v 9.3 cm/s (p < 0.05)). Sensitivity and specificity of ADTI < 8.7 cm/s (the best cut off value) in predicting significant heart transplant rejection were 82% and 53%, respectively. Early diastolic mitral annular motion velocity (EDTI) and flow propagation velocity were not related to the histological degree of heart transplant rejection.
CONCLUSIONS—Doppler tissue imaging of the mitral annulus is useful in diagnosing heart transplant rejection because a high late diastolic mitral annular motion velocity can reliably exclude severe rejection. However, a reduced late diastolic mitral annular motion velocity cannot predict severe rejection reliably because it is not specific enough.
Keywords: heart transplant rejection; diastolic function; Doppler tissue imaging; echocardiography