Group publishes new stress echo guidelines for ischemic heart disease

The American Society of Echocardiography has published a new set of guidelines for using stress echocardiography in patients with ischemic heart disease, replacing its 2007 recommendations.

Ischemic heart disease occurs when arteries fail to deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart, and is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Stress echo is often used to detect blockages that may limit blood flow in the coronary arteries in those with chest pain or shortness of breath.

Included in the 49-page updated guidelines are a class of recommendations and level of evidence for using the modality, both of which were absent from the 2007 edition.

“Stress echocardiography is appropriate for evaluation of the patient presenting with symptoms of suspected ischemic heart disease. In addition to detecting ischemia, stress echo can reveal diastolic dysfunction, pulmonary hypertension, valvular disease and other cardiac causes of symptoms,” Patricia Pellikka, MD, chair of the group that wrote the guidelines, said in a statement. “Stress echo is also useful in periodic assessment of children at risk of ischemia, such as those who have undergone heart transplant or with Kawasaki Disease.”

The current guidelines also include new recommendations regarding quantitative analysis of stress echocardiography, including assessment of myocardial deformation with speckle tracking.

Read the full guidelines in the Journal of the American Society of Echocardiography.