Purpose of review
This article reviews the recent advances in stress echocardiography, with particular attention to articles published in 2010 and 2011. It summarizes the developments in the diagnostic and prognostic capabilities of stress echocardiography, discusses new data regarding the safety of stress echocardiography, and highlights emerging roles for stress echocardiography in the areas of left ventricular assist devices, cardiac transplantation, strain-rate echocardiography, and myocardial perfusion imaging.
Stress echocardiography represents a well validated tool in the diagnosis and assessment of patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease. Recently, data have emerged supporting the prognostic capabilities of stress echocardiography in patients with various levels of systolic dysfunction, diastolic abnormalities, and valvular heart disease. New studies continue to document the safety of stress echocardiography, particularly with regard to arrhythmias, neuropsychiatric symptoms, dosing of dobutamine, and intravenous contrast. Studies are now suggesting that stress echocardiography may play novel roles in the evaluation of patients with left ventricular assist devices or potential donors for cardiac transplantation. Technologic developments in myocardial contrast perfusion imaging, three-dimensional imaging, and strain-rate echocardiography will continue to advance the field.
Stress echocardiography represents a dynamic, versatile, and well validated tool for the noninvasive assessment of patients with a wide spectrum of cardiovascular diseases.