Myocardial contractility on echo: Understanding its significance in cardiovascular health
The human heart is a remarkable organ, responsible for pumping blood and supplying oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. However, like any other organ, the heart can experience dysfunction, and one of the most common is a decrease in myocardial contractility.
Myocardial contractility refers to the heart`s ability to contract and pump blood effectively. This function is essential in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system, and any decline in contractility can lead to various heart-related problems.
Echocardiography is a non-invasive diagnostic imaging technique that is commonly used to evaluate myocardial contractility. Echo, as it is commonly called, uses sound waves to create images of the heart`s structure and function.
During an echocardiogram, the technician measures several parameters that reflect myocardial contractility. These parameters include ejection fraction, fractional shortening, and global longitudinal strain.
Ejection fraction (EF) measures the amount of blood that is pumped out of the left ventricle with each heartbeat. A normal EF is around 55-60%, while a reduced EF indicates a decline in myocardial contractility and can be a sign of heart failure.
Fractional shortening (FS) measures the percentage of the left ventricle that contracts during each heartbeat. A decrease in FS is also an indicator of decreased myocardial contractility.
Global longitudinal strain (GLS) is a newer measure of myocardial contractility that evaluates the strain or deformation of the heart`s muscle fibers during contraction. GLS provides more precise information on the heart`s function than traditional measures like EF and FS.
Decreased myocardial contractility can result from various factors, including heart disease, heart attack, hypertension, diabetes, and aging. Early detection of reduced contractility is essential in managing cardiovascular health and preventing complications.
Management of decreased contractility depends on the underlying cause. For example, medication to treat heart failure may be necessary, and lifestyle modifications such as exercise and a healthy diet can help maintain heart health.
In conclusion, myocardial contractility is a crucial function of the heart that requires evaluation to maintain cardiovascular health. Echocardiography is an essential non-invasive technique that can provide valuable information on myocardial contractility, and healthcare providers should integrate this diagnostic test as part of their routine evaluations to ensure that patients receive the best care possible.