The assessment of regional wall motion is useful to identify myocardial ischaemia because wall motion abnormalities occur relatively upstream in the ischaemic cascade. Echocardiography is widely used for this, but the subjectivity of visual observation may hamper accurate evaluation. The analysis of myocardial velocity and strain by tissue Doppler and speckle tracking echocardiography has allowed the quantitative assessment of regional wall motion and facilitated the detection of subtle myocardial deformation that is difficult to identify by conventional methods, such as post-systolic shortening (PSS). PSS is defined as myocardial shortening that occurs after end-systole (or aortic valve closure), and it is observed in the myocardium with regional contractile dysfunction. In experimental and clinical studies, it has been reported that the assessment of PSS is superior to that of conventional parameters such as wall thickening or peak systolic strain in detecting acute ischaemia and diagnosing coronary artery disease. Moreover, it has recently been found that PSS remains after recovery from brief ischaemia despite the rapid recovery of peak systolic strain. The assessment of PSS allows after-the-fact recognition of myocardial ischaemic insults and is expected to be used for ischaemic memory imaging. In this review, the usefulness of the assessment of PSS for the diagnosis of acute ischaemia and ischaemic memory is demonstrated, and issues that need to be resolved for the widespread use of this assessment in the echocardiographic laboratory are discussed.
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