Currently, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) is the most common endpoint in cardiovascular stem cell therapy research. However, this global measure of cardiac function might not be suitable to detect the regional effects sorted by this therapy and is hampered by high operator variability and loading dependency. Deformation imaging might be more accurate in detecting potential regional functional improvements by cardiac regenerative therapy. The aim of this systematic review is to provide a comprehensive overview of current literature on the value of deformation imaging in cardiac regenerative therapy. A systematic review of current literature available on PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane databases was performed regarding both animal and patient studies in which deformation imaging was used to study cardiac cell therapy. After critical appraisal, outcomes regarding study design, type of cell therapy, procedural characteristics, outcome measure, method for measuring strain, and efficacy on both LVEF and deformation parameters were depicted. A total of 30 studies, 15 preclinical and 15 clinical, were included for analysis. Deformation outcomes improved significantly in 14 out of 15 preclinical studies and in 10 out of 15 clinical studies, whereas LVEF improved in 12 and 4 articles, respectively. Study designs and used deformation outcomes varied significantly among the included papers. Six studies found a positive effect on deformation outcomes without LVEF improvement. Hence, deformation imaging seems at least equal, and perhaps superior, to LVEF measurement in the assessment of cardiac regenerative therapy. However, strategies varied substantially and call for a standardized approach.
Full Access Link: Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine