Left ventricular systolic impairment after pediatric cardiac surgery assessed by ste analysis

Massimiliano Cantinotti, Pietro Marchese, Marco Scalese, Paola Medino, Vivek Jani, Eliana Franchi, Pak Vitali, Giuseppe Santoro, Cecilia Viacava, Nadia Assanta, Shelby Kutty, Martin Koestenberger, Raffaele Giordano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Speckle-tracking echocardiography (STE) has gained increasing value in the evaluation of congenital heart diseases (CHD); however, its use in pediatric cardiac surgery is limited. Aim: To evaluate left ventricular (LV) systolic impairment after biventricular pediatric cardiac surgery by STE strain (ε) analysis. Methods: We prospectively enrolled 117 children undergoing cardiac surgery for CHD. Echocardiography was performed at four different times: pre-operatively, 12–36 h (Time 1), 3–5 days (Time 2), and 6–8 days (Time 3). Images were obtained in the 4-2-and 3 apical chamber’s views to derive LV global and regional (basal/mid/apical) ε values. Results: At different postoperative times, we performed 320 examinations in 117 children (mean age: 2.4 ± 3.9, range: 0–16 years); 117 age-matched healthy children served as controls. All global, basal, and mid LVε values decreased after surgery; the lowest values being at Time 1 (p < 0.0001), which increased thereafter. At discharge, all global, basal, and mid LVε values remained lower than in pre-operative and healthy children (p < 0.05). Instead, apical segments (lowest at baseline) increased after surgery (p < 0.0001) but remained lower compared to controls. LV ejection fraction (LVEF) decreased at Time 1 (p = 0.0004) but promptly recovered to Time 2 and normalized at Time 3. Conclusions: STE ε analysis revealed a significant LV systolic impairment after surgery with amelioration thereafter but incomplete normalization at discharge. Base-apex differences emerged with apical segments that, contrary to all the other regions, showed relative hypercontractility after surgery. The slower recovery of LVε values compared to LVEF suggests that STE ε analysis may be more accurate for the follow-up of mild LV post-surgical impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1338
JournalHealthcare (Switzerland)
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Cardiac surgery
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Echocardiography
  • Speckle tracking echocardiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy
  • Health Information Management
  • Leadership and Management


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