DOI: 10.1111/echo.15753 ISSN: 0742-2822

Myocardial strain of the left ventricle by speckle tracking echocardiography: From physics to clinical practice

Elisa Gherbesi, Silvia Gianstefani, Francesco Angeli, Khrystyna Ryabenko, Luca Bergamaschi, Matteo Armillotta, Emiliano Guerra, Domenico Tuttolomondo, Nicola Gaibazzi, Angelo Squeri, Cristina Spaziani, Carmine Pizzi, Stefano Carugo
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Speckle tracking echocardiography (STE) is a reliable imaging technique of recognized clinical value in several settings. This method uses the motion of ultrasound backscatter speckles within echocardiographic images to derive myocardial velocities and deformation parameters, providing crucial insights on several cardiac pathological and physiological processes. Its feasibility, reproducibility, and accuracy have been widely demonstrated, being myocardial strain of the various chambers inserted in diagnostic algorithms and guidelines for various pathologies. The most important parameters are Global longitudinal strain (GLS), Left atrium (LA) reservoir strain, and Global Work Index (GWI): based on large studies the average of the lower limit of normality are −16%, 23%, and 1442 mmHg%, respectively. For GWI, it should be pointed out that myocardial work relies primarily on non‐invasive measurements of blood pressure and segmental strain, both of which exhibit high variability, and thus, this variability constitutes a significant limitation of this parameter. In this review, we describe the principal aspects of the theory behind the use of myocardial strain, from cardiac mechanics to image acquisition techniques, outlining its limitation, and its principal clinical applications: in particular, GLS have a role in determine subclinical myocardial dysfunction (in cardiomyopathies, cardiotoxicity, target organ damage in ambulatory patients with arterial hypertension) and LA strain in determine the risk of AF, specifically in ambulatory patients with arterial hypertension.

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