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  • Author or Editor: Giorgia Santarelli x
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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


OBJECTIVE To determine effects of a combination of acepromazine maleate and butorphanol tartrate on conventional echocardiographic variables and on strain values obtained by use of 2-D speckle tracking echocardiography (STE) in healthy dogs.

ANIMALS 18 healthy medium- and large-size adult dogs.

PROCEDURES Transthoracic echocardiographic examination (2-D, M-mode, color flow, spectral Doppler, and tissue Doppler ultrasonography) and high-definition oscillometric blood pressure measurement were performed before and after dogs were sedated by IM administration of a combination of acepromazine (0.02 mg/kg) and butorphanol (0.2 mg/kg). Adequacy of sedation for echocardiographic examination was evaluated. Circumferential and longitudinal global and segmental strains of the left ventricle (LV) were obtained with 2-D STE by use of right parasternal short-axis and left parasternal apical views. Values before and after sedation were compared.

RESULTS The sedation combination provided adequate immobilization to facilitate echocardiographic examination. Heart rate and mean and diastolic blood pressures decreased significantly after dogs were sedated. A few conventional echocardiographic variables differed significantly from baseline values after sedation, including decreased end-diastolic LV volume index, peak velocity of late diastolic transmitral flow, and late diastolic septal mitral and tricuspid annulus velocities, increased ejection time, and increased mitral ratio of peak early to late diastolic filling velocity; global strain values were not affected, but 1 segmental (apical lateral) strain value decreased significantly.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE Results indicated that acepromazine and butorphanol at the doses used in this study provided sedation adequate to facilitate echocardiography, with only mild influences on conventional and 2-D STE variables.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research



To determine variability of global longitudinal strain (GLS) and strain rate (SR) measurements in dogs with and without cardiac disease derived from 2-D speckle tracking echocardiography (STE) by use of various software.


2 cohorts comprising 44 dogs (23 cardiovascularly healthy and 21 with cardiac disease) and 40 dogs (18 cardiovascularly healthy and 22 with cardiac disease).


Transthoracic echocardiographic images in each cohort were analyzed with vendor-independent software and vendor-specific 2-D STE software for each of 2 vendors. Values for GLS and SR obtained from the same left parasternal apical views with various software were compared. Intraobserver and interobserver variability was determined, and agreement among results for the various software was assessed.


Strain analysis was not feasible with vendor-independent software for 20% of images obtained with the ultrasonography system of vendor 1. Intraobserver and interobserver coefficient of variation was < 10% for GLS values, whereas SR measurements had higher variance. There was a significant difference in GLS and SR obtained for each cohort with different software. Evaluation of Bland-Altman plots revealed wide limits of agreement, with variance for GLS of up to 6.3 units in a single dog.


Results of longitudinal strain analysis were not uniform among software, and GLS was the most reproducible measurement. Significant variability in results among software warrants caution when referring to reference ranges or comparing serial measurements in the same patient because changes of < 6.5% in GLS might be within measurement error for different postprocessing software.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of radiographically derived measurements of vertebral heart score (VHS) and sphericity index (SI) in the detection of pericardial effusion (PE) in dogs.

Design—Retrospective case-control study.

Animals—51 dogs with PE associated with various cardiac disorders, 50 dogs with left- or right-sided cardiac disorders without PE, 50 dogs with bilateral cardiac disorders without PE, and 50 healthy dogs.

Procedures—Measurements of VHS on lateral (lateral VHS) and ventrodorsal (ventrodorsal VHS) radiographs, SI on lateral (lateral SI) and ventrodorsal (ventrodorsal SI) radiographs, and global SI (mean of lateral SI and ventrodorsal SI) were obtained. Receiver operating characteristic curves were calculated to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of the radiographic indexes at differentiating dogs with PE from those with other cardiac disorders without PE.

Results—Measurements of lateral and ventrodorsal VHS were significantly higher in dogs with PE, compared with values for all dogs without PE. Measurements of lateral, ventrodorsal, and global SI were significantly lower in dogs with PE, compared with values for all dogs without PE. Cutoff values of > 11.9, > 12.3, and ≤ 1.17 for lateral VHS, ventrodorsal VHS, and global SI, respectively, were the most accurate radiographic indexes for identifying dogs with PE.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Cardiac silhouettes of dogs with PE were larger and more rounded, compared with those of dogs with other cardiac disorders without PE. Objective radiographic indexes of cardiac size and roundness were only moderately accurate at distinguishing dogs with PE from dogs with other cardiac disorders without PE.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association