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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 4139635, 10 pages
Review Article

Echocardiographic Techniques of Deformation Imaging in the Evaluation of Maternal Cardiovascular System in Patients with Complicated Pregnancies

1Department of Woman’s and Child’s Health, University of Padua, Padua, Italy
2Department of Cardiac, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences, University of Padua, Padua, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Silvia Visentin

Received 6 February 2017; Accepted 17 July 2017; Published 22 August 2017

Academic Editor: Marco Scioscia

Copyright © 2017 Silvia Visentin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) represent the leading cause of maternal mortality and morbidity. Knowledge of CVD in women is constantly evolving and data are emerging that female-specific risk factors as complications of pregnancy are conditions associated with an increased risk for the long-term development of CVD. Echocardiography is a safe and effective imaging technique indicated in symptomatic or asymptomatic pregnant women with congenital heart diseases who require close monitoring of cardiac function. Deformation imaging is an echocardiographic technique used to assess myocardial function by measuring the actual deformation of the myocardium through the cardiac cycle. Speckle-tracking echocardiography (STE) is a two-dimensional (2D) technique which has been found to be more accurate than tissue Doppler to assess both left ventricular (LV) and right ventricular (RV) myocardial function. The use of 2D STE however might present some technical issues due to the tomographic nature of the technique and the motion in the three-dimensional space of the myocardial speckles. This has promoted the use of 3D STE to track the motion of the speckles in the 3D space. This review will focus on the clinical value of the new echocardiographic techniques of deformation imaging used to assess the maternal cardiovascular system in complicated pregnancies.