Measurement of left ventricular mass: Methodology and expertise
Cause of Death
Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
The strong relation between increased left ventricular mass and cardiovascular events makes accurate measurement of left ventricular mass a high priority, especially in patients with hypertension. M-mode echocardiography is used most widely to measure left ventricular mass because of its wide availability, moderate expense, anatomic and prognostic validation and lack of radiation or claustrophobia; however, this technique is expertise-dependent and may give erroneous results in distorted ventricles. Two-dimensional and especially three-dimensional echocardiography increase the precision with which left ventricular mass is measured but they are more time-consuming and difficult to perform on a large scale. Magnetic resonance imaging provides highly accurate left ventricular mass measurements and permits tissue imaging but its use is limited by expensive, fixed facilities and claustrophobia. Cine computed X-ray tomography also measures left ventricular mass accurately and permits perfusion assessment with contrast injection but it involves radiation and the use of fixed facilities of limited availability. Understanding the strengths and limitations of available techniques can facilitate selection of the most appropriate method to measure left ventricular mass in a particular setting.