Faster and highly reproducible: These are the advantages of automated calculation of the ejection fraction (EF) and global longitudinal strain (GLS) of the left ventricle, according to a current study by a research team around Dr. Partho Sengupta (The Mount Sinai Hospital, NYC) and Dr. Christian Knackstedt (University of Maastricht). Based on data sets from 255 patients, the scientists showed that an automated measurement produces equivalent, but more consistent measurement values than the procedures that have commonly been performed to date. The researchers used software from the company TomTec Imaging Systems GmbH for the automated calculation of these important cardiological parameters.
The LVEF is an important marker for diagnosing cardiac disorders. It is a standard calculation in clinics and practices. However, the use of other markers, such as the GLS, is increasing. To date, cardiological equipment has predominantly used manual measurement methods and visual estimations of the EF, based on ultrasound images of the heart. However, this could soon change. The result of a multicentric study, reported today in the American specialist journal, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and conducted by the Universities of Maastricht, Hannover, Padua and New York, shows that an automated investigation with less time expenditure delivers precise results.
The researchers used the program AutoLV© from TomTec, which can analyze ultrasound images independently of the manufacturer, to calculate the cardiac EF and GLS. This software uses image-processing algorithms, which determine the volume, EF and deformation of the left ventricle within a matter of seconds based on ultrasound images. Thanks to the automation, the values are also in no way subject to user-specific fluctuations - a decisive advantage with respect to manual and visual procedures. “The notorious lack of time, high patient throughput and individual interpretations of echocardiography by different doctors, or even simply visual assessment of the EF clearly represent a large area of application for this kind of software,” says Dr Knackstedt. According to him, “software-based applications like AutoLV offer the chance to obtain the data that we need for accurate diagnosis quicker and more easily.” Even the reproducibility of the data is a crucial advantage for continuous diagnostic quality.
Dr. Sengupta points out that “such a platform for automated analysis also heralds a new direction in cardiac ultrasound research where standardized high-quality feature tracking data generation can be used for big-data analytics, pattern recognition and precision medicine.”
The reliability of the measurement results is paramount to Rolf Baumann, Chief Technology Officer at TomTec: “For a long time, TomTec has focused on the automation of clinical measurements to meet the increasing demand for efficiency on the one hand and provide comparable results that go beyond hospital limits on the other. By doing so, we limit the effects of individual factors and are able to contribute to improvement of the diagnostic quality.”
The study is a decisive step towards a better understanding of how software-supported applications can contribute to simplification and improvement of standard measurements in clinics and medical practices. TomTec offers free web seminars and product demonstrations, as well as extensive training, to interested clinics and cardiologists through the TomTec Academy. More information can be obtained at: www.tomtec.de/academy