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Stress echocardiography in patients with morbid obesity

Abstract

The incidence of significant obesity is rising across the globe. These patients often have a clustering of cardiovascular risk factors and are frequently referred for noninvasive cardiac imaging tests. Stress echocardiography (SE) is widely used for assessment of patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease (CAD), but its clinical utility in morbidly obese patients (in whom image quality may suffer due to body habitus) has been largely unknown. The recently published Stress Ultrasonography in Morbid Obesity (SUMO) study has shown that SE, when performed appropriately with ultrasound contrast agents (whether performed with physiological or pharmacological stress), has excellent feasibility and appropriately risk stratifies morbidly obese patients, including identification of patients who require revascularization. This article reviews the evidence supporting the use of echocardiographic techniques in morbidly obese patients for assessment of known or suspected CAD and briefly discusses other noninvasive modalities, including magnetic resonance and nuclear techniques, comparing and contrasting these techniques against SE.

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Correspondence to Benoy N. Shah BSc MBBS MRCP.

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Shah, B.N., Senior, R. Stress echocardiography in patients with morbid obesity. Echo Res Pract 3, R18 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1530/ERP-16-0010

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Key Words

  • obesity
  • stress echocardiography
  • ultrasound contrast
  • cardiac imaging