OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the feasibility and ability of percutaneous transvenous intracardiac echocardiography (ICE) to image the left ventricle (LV) and monitor its function from the right ventricular (RV) cavity. METHODS: A 10 MHz catheter was advanced into the RV from the jugular vein and positioned along the septum at the LV papillary muscle level in five dogs. The catheter was manipulated until a stable catheter position along the septum, which provided on-axis images of LV, was obtained. Different states of LV size and systolic function (n = 80) were created with dobutamine or esmolol, both in the presence and absence of coronary stenoses. LV stroke area (cm2) obtained by ICE was measured at the mid-ventricular level and compared with stroke volume (cm3) obtained simultaneously with a transaortic flow probe. LV end diastolic, end systolic, and stroke areas obtained by ICE were also compared with those obtained by short-axis epicardial echocardiography. RESULTS: In 96% of the stages, short axis images of the LV could be obtained and measured by ICE. LV end diastolic, end systolic, and stroke areas measured by ICE were not significantly different from epicardial echocardiographic values. Stroke area correlated with stroke volume in each dog (mean correlation coefficient 0.79 (SEE 0.19) cm2) (P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Percutaneous intracardiac ultrasound imaging allows monitoring of LV function from the RV with an accuracy comparable to a short-axis epicardial echocardiogram. The present device can be used in closed chest experimental studies. With the development of lower frequency devices, this technique may be valuable for continuous monitoring of LV function in patients in the intensive care unit or operating room.
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