Shear wave (SW) imaging is a novel ultrasound-based technique for assessing tissue characteristics. SW elasticity may be useful to assess the severity of hypertensive left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy. This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of SW elasticity for assessing the degree of myocardial hypertrophy using hypertensive rats. Rats were divided into hypertension group and control group. SW elasticity was measured on the excised heart. Myocardial hypertrophy was assessed histologically. LV weight was greater in hypertension group. An increase in interventricular septum and LV free wall thicknesses was observed in hypertension group. SW elasticity was significantly higher in hypertension group than in control group (14.6 ± 4.3 kPa vs. 6.5 ± 1.1 kPa, P < 0.01). The cross-sectional area of cardiomyocytes was larger in hypertension group than in control group (397 ± 50 μm2 vs. 243 ± 14 μm2, P < 0.01), and SW elasticity was positively correlated with the cross-sectional area of cardiomyocytes (R = 0.96, P < 0.01). This study showed that SW elasticity was higher in hypertensive rats and was closely correlated with the degree of myocardial hypertrophy, suggesting the efficacy of SW elasticity for estimating the severity of hypertensive LV hypertrophy.
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