Right ventricular strain rate during exercise accurately identifies male athletes with right ventricular arrhythmias.

Mathias Claeys; Guido Claessen; Piet Claus; Ruben De Bosscher; Christoph Dausin; Jens-Uwe Voigt; Rik Willems; Hein Heidbuchel; Andre La Gerche
Athletes with right ventricular (RV) arrhythmias, even in the absence of desmosomal mutations, may have subtle RV abnormalities which can be unmasked by deformation imaging. As exercise places a disproportionate stress on the right ventricle, evaluation of cardiac function and deformation during exercise might improve diagnostic performance.We performed bicycle stress echocardiography in 17 apparently healthy endurance athletes (EAs), 12 non-athletic controls (NAs), and 17 athletes with RV arrhythmias without desmosomal mutations (EI-ARVCs) and compared biventricular function at rest and during low (25% of upright peak power) and moderate intensity (60%). At rest, we observed no differences in left ventricular (LV) or RV function between groups. During exercise, however, the increase in RV fractional area change (RVFAC), RV free wall strain (RVFWSL), and strain rate (RVFWSRL) were significantly attenuated in EI-ARVCs as compared to EAs and NAs. At moderate exercise intensity, EI-ARVCs had a lower RVFAC, RVFWSL, and RVFWSRL (all P < 0.01) compared to the control groups. Exercise-related increases in LV ejection fraction, strain, and strain rate were also attenuated in EI-ARVCs (P < 0.05 for interaction). Exercise but not resting parameters identified EI-ARVCs and RVFWSRL with a cut-off value of >-2.35 at moderate exercise intensity had the greatest accuracy to detect EI-ARVCs (area under the curve 0.95).Exercise deformation imaging holds promise as a non-invasive diagnostic tool to identify intrinsic RV dysfunction concealed at rest. Strain rate appears to be the most accurate parameter and should be incorporated in future, prospective studies to identify subclinical disease in an early stage.
ISSN 2047-2412
Published 03 Oct 2019
DOI 10.1093/ehjci/jez228
Type Journal Article