Usefulness of Speckle Tracking Echocardiography in Hypertensive Crisis and the Effect of Medical Treatment
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The acute impact of hypertensive crisis, and changes after treatment, on left ventricular (LV) systolic and diastolic function using comprehensive echocardiography, including speckle tracking, has not been well characterized. Thirty consecutive patients admitted to the hospital from the emergency room with hypertensive crisis underwent Doppler echocardiography at baseline and after blood pressure optimization. The mean age of the patients was 54 ± 13 years, with 19 men (63%). The most common presenting symptoms included dyspnea (70%), chest pain (43%), and altered mental status (13%). Mean systolic and diastolic blood pressures at presentation were 198 ± 12 and 122 ± 12 mm Hg, decreasing to 143 ± 15 and 77 ± 12 mm Hg (p <0.001 for both) after treatment. There was no significant change in LV ejection fraction between baseline and follow-up (48 ± 18% vs 46 ± 18%, p = 0.50); however, global longitudinal LV systolic strain (-10 ± 4% to -12 ± 4%, p = 0.01) and global systolic strain rate (-1.0 ± 0.4 vs -1.4 ± 0.6 s(-1), p = 0.01) significantly improved. Mean global early diastolic strain (-7.2 ± 4.0% to -9.4 ± 2.9%, p = 0.004) and early diastolic strain rate (0.3 ± 0.2 to 0.5 ± 0.4 s(-1), p = 0.05) also improved after treatment. On multivariate analysis, the independent predictors of LV longitudinal strain at follow-up were LV ejection fraction (p <0.001), heart rate (p = 0.005), systolic blood pressure (p = 0.04), and left atrial volume index (p = 0.05). In conclusion, as opposed to LV ejection fraction, LV systolic strain and strain rate were depressed during hypertensive crisis and significantly improved after medical treatment. LV diastolic function, assessed using conventional and speckle-tracking parameters, was also depressed and significantly improved after treatment.
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