Segmental Analysis of Carotid Arterial Strain Using Speckle-Tracking
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BACKGROUND: Increased arterial stiffness has been shown to be associated with aging and cardiovascular risk factors. Speckle-tracking algorithms are being used to measure myocardial strain. The aims of this study were to evaluate whether speckle-tracking could be used to measure carotid arterial strain (CAS) reproducibly in healthy volunteers and to determine if CAS was lesser in individuals with diabetes. METHODS: Bilateral electrocardiographically gated ultrasound scans of the distal common carotid arteries (three cardiac cycles; 14-MHz linear probe; mean frame rate, 78.7 ± 8.9 frames/sec) were performed twice (2-4 days apart) on 10 healthy volunteers to test repeatability. Differences in CAS between healthy subjects (n = 20) and patients with diabetes (n = 21) were examined. Peak CAS was measured in each of six equal segments, and averages of all segments (i.e., the global average), of the three segments nearest the probe, and of the three segments farthest from the probe (i.e., the far wall average) were obtained. RESULTS: Global CAS (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.40) and far wall average (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.63) had the greatest test-retest reliability. Global and far wall averaged CAS values were lower in patients with diabetes (4.29% [SE, 0.27%] and 4.30% [SE, 0.44%], respectively) than in controls (5.48% [SE, 0.29%], P = .001, and 5.58% [SE, 0.44%], P = .003, respectively). This difference persisted after adjustment for age, gender, race, and hemodynamic parameters. CONCLUSIONS: Speckle-tracking to measure CAS is feasible and modestly reliable. Patients with diabetes had lower CAS obtained with speckle-tracking compared with healthy controls.
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