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Question:

Could echo results showing low EF and enlarged left ventricle be significant? 

My partner had 2 echoes done within 45 days. One showed an EF of 25%, moderately enlarged left atrium (Left ventricle extremely enlarged on both); the other showed EF of 35%, normal right atrium size.  Are these differences significant? Thank you. 

submitted by Mary from Arizona on 9/25/2012

Answer:

by Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Scott R. Sherron, MD  

Scott R. Sherron, MDSeveral thoughts come to mind… First of all, echo has a +/- 5% in its ability to measure EF and therefore a "true" EF of 30% could measure 25% and subsequently 35% by random chance.  In fact, EF is most commonly reported as 25-30% or 30-35% by most major echo centers. Also, depending on the cause of the cardiomyopathy (weak heart muscle), improvement in as short as 6 weeks is not unheard of and the change may be due to an actual improvement in heart muscle function. The enlargement in LV size is unfortunately not an encouraging finding. The reports of left atrial and right atrial sizes are less significant and can be related to technique and reporting style, especially if performed at different institutions. If severe heart failure symptoms are also present, a number of new and exciting protocols involving stem cells and gene therapy are under development at the Texas Heart Institute at St Luke's Episcopal Hospital and we would be happy to evaluate your partner for participation if she is interested. Best wishes.

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Updated October 2012
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Texas Heart Institute Heart Information Center
Through this community outreach program, staff members of the Texas Heart Institute (THI) provide educational information related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cardiovascular disease. It is not the intention of THI to provide specific medical advice, but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided and THI urges you to visit a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your questions.
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