Tissue Doppler, strain, and strain rate measurements assessed by two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography in healthy newborns and infants
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Objectives: To evaluate cardiac maturational and haemodynamic alteration in healthy newborns and infants and determine reference values in this period using tissue Doppler, strain, and strain rate echocardiography. Material and Methods: The study included 149 healthy subjects. Babies from 1 day to 3 months were selected from the well-baby nursery department, and infants were selected from paediatric clinics during routine visits for health maintenance. Subjects were allocated to four groups: preterm (36-37 weeks, n = 32), term (>= 38 weeks, n = 32), 1 month of age (n = 47), and 3 months of age (n = 38). Standard echocardiographic evaluations, pulsed wave Doppler, tissue Doppler echocardiography, strain, and strain rate studies were applied by the same person using a MyLab50 echo machine. Longitudinal and circumferential systolic strain and strain rate measurements were assessed by two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography in all subjects. Results: The longitudinal systolic velocity, strain, and strain rate values derived from left ventricle apical four-, three-, and two-chamber images, and circumferential systolic velocity, strain, and strain rate values derived from left ventricle short-axis images decreased from the base to the apex in all subjects (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Significant cardiac haemodynamic alterations occurred during the newborn and early infancy periods and were detected by tissue Doppler, strain, and strain rate echocardiography. Although two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography is useful and can produce improved, reliable results in clinical practice, it has some limitations. Therefore, more studies on this issue are required.