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New Heart Ultrasound Research Reveals Life-Saving Treatment Alternatives and Advancements for Heart Patients

Breakthrough findings unveiled at the American Society of Echocardiography's Scientific Sessions

WASHINGTON, June 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Society of Echocardiography (ASE) welcomes the world's leading researchers in cardiovascular medicine to present their most-recent findings at its 20th Annual Scientific Sessions, June 6-10, at the Gaylord National Convention Center in Washington, DC. This year, NBA basketball player and former heart patient, Ronny Turiaf will be in attendance to talk about how echocardiography, otherwise known as heart ultrasound, saved his life.

Many of the studies revealed will have a significant impact on the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and the application of echocardiograms. Studies detail the following:

  • A nonsurgical option for common heart procedures
  • Lack of adherence to guidelines leave symptoms unidentified and patients untreated
  • Newer technology that can better predict survival chances for heart patients

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


Technique presents options to elderly patients who may not survive open-heart surgery

This study found that patients unable to undergo open-heart surgery may be candidates for a new nonsurgical aortic valve replacement procedure. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement is a promising new treatment for patients with severe aortic stenosis who are considered high risk for conventional surgical aortic valve replacement.

With this approach, echocardiography, or heart ultrasound, is used to guide interventional cardiologists through the procedure and to assess the effects of intervention after the procedure.

"Some people with severe aortic stenosis, or narrowing of the aortic valve, are not good candidates for open-heart surgery because they may have other medical conditions that would classify them as high risk for surgery," said Dr. Linda D. Gillam of the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, a lead author on the study. "These findings are especially critical for elderly patients who could not survive open-heart surgery."

The study concluded that transcatheter and surgical aortic valve replacement result in comparable improvements in radial strain, strain rate and left ventricular ejection fraction in elderly patients with severe symptomatic aortic stenosis.


More than 75 percent of patients studied did not have aortic valve replacement surgery even though they met established criteria

Symptoms of severe aortic stenosis are under-diagnosed, preventing patients from receiving potentially life-saving aortic valve replacement surgery, according to research unveiled at ASE's Scientific Sessions. By using cardiovascular ultrasound and other objective tests, physicians can more accurately diagnose symptoms of severe aortic stenosis and help prevent the rapid progression of the disease.

For this research, physicians examined 106 patients and found that only 25 percent with severe aortic stenosis (AS) were referred for surgery. The other 75 percent did not have valve replacement (AVR) surgery even though they met echocardiographic criteria.

"Patients are not being referred for aortic valve replacement surgery because symptoms of aortic stenosis are not being identified or are not attributed to aortic stenosis. As a result, surgery in these patients is frequently delayed or not performed," said Dr. Benjamin H. Freed of the University of Chicago Medical Center, a lead author of the study.

Patients with suspected aortic stenosis should talk to their doctors about whether they need an echocardiogram or other diagnostic tests. Patients with existing aortic stenosis should monitor their conditions carefully and if their conditions become severe, they should discuss their options for aortic valve replacement surgery with their doctors.


Study finds 3-D echocardiography serves as a stronger predictor of patient outcomes than 2-D

This study showed that physicians can better predict potentially life-threatening cardiac events with real-time, three-dimensional echocardiography technology.

Physicians can use echocardiograms, or heart ultrasound, to view the heart's left ventricular end systolic volume (this measurement refers to the volume of blood in the ventricle immediately after the contraction of the heart) and ejection fraction, (a measurement that determines how well the heart is pumping), which determines the severity of the patient's heart condition. The study concluded that 3-D measurements could help guide management decisions on how to best treat the patient and therefore, better predict the patient's chance of survival.

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 is the largest international organization for cardiac imaging. For more information on ASE, visit or ASE's Public Information site,

SOURCE The American Society of Echocardiography
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