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Echocardiographic evaluation of left ventricular diastolic function in cats: hemodynamic determinants and pattern recognition

Karsten E. Schober, Valérie Chetboul
Journal of veterinary cardiology 2015 v.17 pp. S102
cardiomyopathy, cats, compliance, diagnostic techniques, echocardiography, epidemiological studies, exercise, field experimentation, functional properties, heart failure, hemodynamics
Left ventricular (LV) diastolic dysfunction is highly prevalent in cats and is a functional hallmark of feline cardiomyopathy. The majority of cats with hypertrophic, restrictive, and dilated cardiomyopathy have echocardiographic evidence of abnormal LV filling, even during the occult (preclinical) phase. Moderate and severe diastolic dysfunction is an indicator of advanced myocardial disease, is associated with clinical signs including exercise intolerance and congestive heart failure, affects outcome, and influences therapeutic decisions. Therefore, identification and quantification of LV diastolic dysfunction are clinically important. Surrogate measures of diastolic function determined by transthoracic two-dimensional, M-mode, and Doppler echocardiographic (DE) methods have been used widely for such purpose. Major functional characteristics of LV diastole, including global function, relaxation and untwist, chamber compliance, filling volume, and the resultant filling pressures can be semi-quantified by echocardiographic methods, and variables retrieved from transmitral flow, pulmonary vein flow, and tissue Doppler recordings are most frequently used. Although there is still a critical lack of well-designed studies in the field, knowledge has steadily accumulated over the past 20 years, reference ranges of diastolic echocardiographic variables have been determined, epidemiological studies have been conducted, and new treatments of diastolic dysfunction in cats have been evaluated. This report will give the reader a summary of the current status in the field of feline diastology with focus on the noninvasive diagnostic methods and interpretation of echocardiographic surrogate measures of LV diastolic function. Lastly, a grading system using a composite of left atrial size and various DE variables potentially useful in the functional classification of LV diastole in cats is introduced.