Although adriamycin (Doxorubicin) is one of the most effective and useful antineoplastic agents for the treatment of a variety of malignancies, its repeated administration can induce irreversible myocardial damage and resultant heart failure. Currently, no marker to detect early cardiac damage is available. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether an assessment of the acoustic properties of the myocardium could enable the earlier detection of myocardial damage after adriamycin chemotherapy. Forty Wistar rats were treated with adriamycin (2 mg/kg, i.v.) once a week for 2, 4, 6 or 8 weeks consecutively. Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) was calculated using M-mode echocardiography data. The magnitude of cardiac cycle dependent variation of integrated backscatter (CVIB) of the myocardium was measured in the mid segment of the septum and in the posterior wall of the left ventricle, using a real time two dimensional integrated backscatter imaging system. LVEF was significantly lower in the adriamycin-treated 8-week group than in the controls (75 ± 9 vs 57 ± 8%, p<0.05). Myocyte damage was only seen in the 8-week adriamycin-treated group. However, no significant changes of CVIB were observed between base-line or during follow-up in the ADR or control group. In conclusion, serial assessment of the acoustic properties of the myocardium may not be an optimal tool for the early detection of myocardial damage after doxorubicin chemotherapy in a rat model.
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