The aim here was to describe the role of speckle tracking echocardiography (STE), in identifying impairment in systolic function in children and adolescents with focal myocarditis and without reduction in ejection fraction. We describe data from 33 pediatric patients (age 4–17 years) admitted for focal myocarditis, confirmed by cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR), and without impaired ejection fraction and/or wall motion abnormalities. All children underwent Doppler echocardiography examination with analysis of global (G) and segmental longitudinal strain (LS) and CMR for the quantification of edema and myocardial fibrosis. Reduction in LS was defined according to age-specific partition values. At baseline, impaired GLS was present in 58% of patients (n = 19), albeit normal ejection fraction. LS was also regionally impaired, according to the area of higher edema at CMR (i.e. most impaired at the level of the infero-lateral segments as compared to other segments (p < 0.05). GLS impairment was also moderately correlated with the percentage edema at CMR (r = − 0.712; p = 0.01). At follow-up, GLS improved in all patients (p < 0.001), and normal values were found in 13/19 patients with baseline reduction. Accordingly persistent global and regional impairment was still observed in 6 patients. Patients with persistent LS reduction demonstrated residual focal cardiac fibrosis at follow-up CMR. Both global and regional LS is able to identify abnormalities in systolic longitudinal mechanics in children and adolescents with focal myocarditis and normal ejection fraction. The reduction in LS is consistent with edema amount and localization at CMR. Furthermore, LS identifies regional recovery or persistent cardiac function impairment, possibly related to residual focal fibrosis.
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