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New Heart Ultrasound Research Shows Hope for Diagnosing and Treating Fatal Heart Conditions

Leading-edge findings revealed at the American Society of

Echocardiography's Scientific Sessions

TORONTO, June 9 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) holds its 19th Annual Scientific Sessions June 7-11 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The event provides a forum for the world's leading researchers in cardiovascular medicine to present their most-recent findings. This year's presentations include several that will have significant impact on diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and the application of echocardiograms, otherwise called heart ultrasounds.

To view the full text of the press releases and study abstracts, please visit

DISEASE Early detection of congenital heart disease in the fetus is often critical to successful treatment. New research revealed at the 19th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) indicates fetal heart ultrasound technology can help detect congenital heart anomalies before birth, thereby allowing doctors to plan treatment sooner.

Prenatal ventricular size discrepancy with a disproportionately smaller left ventricle than right ventricle (L-R/VD) in the fetus is a strong marker for various forms of congenital heart disease. The study concluded that fetal parameters expressing the magnitude of L-R/VD can help identify those who will require neonatal intervention. The findings will improve the ability to determine which fetuses are likely to need neonatal intervention and which will not.

TRANSPLANTED HEART Research unveiled at the 19th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) could provide doctors with a non-invasive procedure to monitor how well a patient's body is accepting or rejecting a transplanted heart. New two-dimensional ultrasound speckle tracking imaging (STI) -- highly sensitive and specific heart ultrasound technology -- has proven successful in detecting transplant rejection, according to study findings.

Currently, patients who undergo a heart transplant must endure several biopsies. Discovering an alternative, safe and non-invasive method to accurately monitor heart acceptance or rejection would significantly improve patient care and effective treatment.

STENOSIS MUST CONSIDER BODY SURFACE AREA In a study presented at the 19th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) researchers stated that cardiologists must consider both aortic valve area and body surface area (BSA) in the assessment of the severity of aortic stenosis, a heart valve condition caused by a narrowing of the main valve that directs blood flow to the rest of the body. The study revealed not correcting the calculated valve area for an individual patient's body size resulted in an under diagnosis of this condition, which can lead to heart failure and sudden cardiac death.

BSA is determined by recording a patient's height and weight. A cardiac ultrasound exam in a patient with aortic stenosis that does not correct for BSA could result in a misdiagnosis of the severity of the condition. This is because a patient's body size will determine what the normal size of aortic valve should be.


Researchers unveiled a study that explored methods using contrast-enhanced ultrasound to track the fate of stem cells after their administration. Newer techniques to repair damaged heart muscle and blood vessels using stem cells are currently being tested; however, the best method to track these cells after their delivery is still unknown. Results from this study could help direct strategies to reverse damage to the heart muscle or circulation system by tracking incorporation of stem cells to specific parts of the heart and its blood vessels. These new findings were presented at the 19th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE).

This study is a potential breakthrough in research using stem cells to treat heart muscle and circulation damage. By using contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging, doctors can "see" where stems cells go, and how they interact with a patient's heart and circulation, thereby helping to determine which strategies to direct cells to the specific areas of the heart and circulatory system are the most effective.


Research revealed at the 19th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) indicates that the use of ultrasound contrast agents during stress echocardiograms is safe. This study comes just months after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated a black box warning be added to the labels of contrast agents used for cardiovascular ultrasound.

The risk of major adverse effects is no different in patients that received contrast during their stress echocardiogram than in those who did not receive contrast, according to research findings. This held true even though contrast was more often used in patients with a higher cardiac risk profile.

DECISION-MAKING Cardiac ultrasound exams (echocardiography) performed with ultrasound contrast agents can result in more targeted therapy according to a study released at the 19th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE). Researchers sought to prove that the use of these contrast agents during cardiac ultrasound exams is a valuable tool for doctors in certain cases and can influence patient management.

The data showed that improved visualization of endocardial border has a direct positive impact on the quality and confidence of cardiac ultrasound reporting which translates to improved management decisions.


There is no increased risk of death for patients who receive the contrast agent DEFINITY(R) (Bristol-Myers Squibb) during an ultrasound contrast echocardiogram, according to research presented today at the 19th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE). Scientists sought to determine if there is an association between DEFINITY and mortality in high-risk subgroups of patients who underwent contrast echocardiography in the Calgary Health Region.

A chart review of patient deaths revealed that all of the patients were critically ill at the time of DEFINITY administration and there was no clear association between ECA administration and death.

WITHOUT TYPICAL CHEST PAIN Research released today at the 19th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) reports that stress echocardiography, a heart ultrasound performed during stress testing, can predict and classify risk of myocardial infarction and cardiac death in women with atypical angina.

Study results suggest that women experiencing any kind of chest pain should receive a stress echocardiogram to most accurately assess their potential for coronary artery disease. The study showed that stress echocardiography effectively risk stratified patients into a normal (low risk) versus abnormal (high risk) group. Women experiencing atypical symptoms and atypical chest pain could overlook serious problems without the aid of a stress echocardiogram.

OF SURVIVAL IN PATIENTS WITH CHRONIC HEART FAILURE Doppler restrictive filling of the left ventricle (LV) is an accurate predictor of survival regardless of symptoms associated with New York Heart Association's (NYHA) functional classification, according to a study presented at the 19th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Society of Echocardiography (ASE).

Restrictive filling by Doppler echocardiography -- a measure of severe diastolic dysfunction -- is associated with chronic heart failure and can provide an accurate assessment of heart health irrespective of how the patient is classified by the NYHA scale. This study shows that there are other important determinants for the degree of heart failure beyond the NYHA functional classification

The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) is a professional organization of physicians, cardiac sonographers, nurses and scientists involved in echocardiography, the use of ultrasound to image the heart and cardiovascular system. The organization was founded in 1975 and has more than 13,000 members nationally and internationally. For more information on ASE, visit or ASE's Public Information site,


Kevin King

Imre Communications


SOURCE American Society of Echocardiography
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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