Feasibility of two-dimensional speckle tracking in evaluation of arterial stiffness: Comparison with pulse wave velocity and conventional sonographic markers of atherosclerosis.Vascular. 2018 Feb; 26(1):63-69.V
Objective Arterial stiffening is an early marker of atherosclerosis that has a prognostic value for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Although many markers of arterial hardening have been proposed, the search is on for newer, more user-friendly and reliable surrogates. One such potential candidate has emerged from cardiology, the speckle-tracking technique. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of the two-dimensional speckle tracking for the evaluation of arterial wall stiffness in comparison with standard stiffness parameters. Methods Carotid ultrasound and applanation tonometry were performed in 188 patients with no cardiovascular risk factors. The following parameters were then evaluated: the intima-media complex thickness, distensibility coefficient, β-stiffness index, circumferential strain/strain rate, and pulse wave velocity and augmentation index. These variables were compared with each other and with patient age, and their reliability was assessed with Bland-Altman plots. Results Strain parameters derived from two-dimensional speckle tracking and intima-media complex thickness correlated better with age and pulse wave velocity than standard makers of arterial stiffness. Moreover, the reliability of these measurements was significantly higher than conventional surrogates. Conclusions Two-dimensional speckle tracing is a reliable method for the evaluation of arterial stiffness. Therefore, together with intima-media complex thickness measurement, it offers great potential in clinical practice as an early marker of atherosclerosis.