Changes in left ventricular filling and ejection as potential markers of cardiac allograft rejection were evaluated by serial Doppler echocardiography performed in 23 normal volunteers and within 24 hr of endomyocardial biopsy in 22 patients aged 14 to 53 years (mean 37). Peak aortic velocity, left ventricular ejection time index (ETI), isovolumic relaxation time (IVRT), mitral valve pressure half-time (PHT), peak early mitral flow velocity (M1), and velocity following donor atrial systole (M2) were measured without prior knowledge of endomyocardial biopsy findings. Biopsy specimens were graded histologically as: no rejection, mild rejection (cellular infiltrate), and moderate rejection (myocyte necrosis). A total of 120 biopsy-correlated Doppler echocardiographic studies were performed during 16 weeks after cardiac transplantation. Heart rate and mean arterial pressure were significantly higher in transplant recipients than in normal subjects. IVRT and PHT were significantly longer, while M1 and M2 were similar. Peak aortic velocity was higher in normal subjects than in transplant recipients, while ejection time was similar. Rejection of increasing severity was associated with a progressive shortening of IVRT and PHT and with an increase in M1 (p less than .0005 for all comparisons). Peak aortic velocity and ejection time index did not change significantly with rejection. These data indicate that acute cardiac rejection is accompanied by alteration in left ventricular filling dynamics detectable by Doppler echocardiography, without measureable changes in systolic function. These changes may provide noninvasive markers for surveillance of rejection.
View details for Web of Science ID A1987L004500016