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Open access

Z H Teoh, J Roy, J Reiken, M Papitsas, J Byrne, and M J Monaghan

Moderate-to-severe tricuspid regurgitation is associated with higher mortality and morbidity yet remains significantly undertreated. The reasons for this are complex but include a higher operative mortality for patients undergoing isolated tricuspid valve surgery. This study sought to determine the prevalence of patients with moderate-to-severe tricuspid regurgitation and identify those who could be potentially suitable for percutaneous tricuspid valve intervention by screening patients referred for transthoracic echocardiography (ECHO) at a tertiary center. Our results showed that the prevalence of moderate-to-severe tricuspid regurgitation in our total ECHO patient population was 2.8%. Of these, approximately one in eight patients with moderate-to-severe tricuspid regurgitation would be potentially suitable for percutaneous intervention and suggests a large, unmet clinical need in this population.

Open access

Victor Galusko, Owen Bodger, and Adrian Ionescu

Introduction

Hand-held imaging devices are widely used in clinical practice and are a useful tool. There is no published review examining the diagnostic parameters achieved with these devices in clinical practice.

Methods

We searched three online medical literature databases (PubMed, EMBASE and MEDLINE) for all literature published up until January 2018. We selected studies that (1) were conducted in the adult population; (2) used a truly hand-held device; (3) featured sensitivities and/or specificities on the use of the hand-held scanner. We extracted and summarised the diagnostic metrics from the literature.

Results

Twenty-seven articles were excluded from the initial 56 relevant articles, as the device featured was not truly hand-held. Ultimately a total of 25 studies were analysed. Sixteen studies were carried out by experienced users, seven by users with little previous experience and two studies by nurses. High diagnostic parameters were achieved by all three groups when scanning cardiac pathology and intra-abdominal structures. Training of non-expert users varied, taking a mean of 21.6 h. These hand-held devices can change diagnoses at the bedside and be used as gate-keepers to formal echocardiography. Individual studies show them to be cost-effective.

Conclusion

Hand-held echocardiography is a useful tool in the hands of experts and novices alike. Studies conducted are highly heterogeneous making it difficult to pool data for the diagnostic metrics. Further studies with rigorous methodology are needed to evaluate the true diagnostic potential in the hands of non-experts and in the community as well as to validate training protocols.

Open access

Neil David Hauser and Justiaan Swanevelder

Transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) has, in certain clinical situations, become an almost universal monitor and diagnostic tool. In the perioperative environment, TOE is frequently used to guide anaesthetic management and assist with surgical decision making for, but not limited to, cardiothoracic, major vascular and transplant operations. The use of TOE is not limited to the theatre environment being frequently used in outpatient clinics, emergency departments and intensive care settings. Two case reports, one of oesophageal perforation and another of TOE utilization in a patient having previously undergone an oesophagectomy, introduce the need for care while using TOE and highlight the need for vigilance. The safe use of TOE, the potential complications and the suggested contra-indications are then considered together with suggestions for improving the safety of TOE in adult and paediatric patients.

Open access

Sadie Bennett, Duwarakan Satchithananda, and Gareth Law

Summary

A 42-year-old male was admitted with shortness of breath secondary to suspected heart failure and chest infection. An echocardiogram revealed a dilated and impaired left ventricle; ejection fraction 29%, with a large, mobile thrombus within the left ventricular apex. Due to the presence of liver dysfunction, vitamin K antagonists were deemed inappropriate; thus, the decision was taken to use the novel anticoagulation agent Apixaban. After 6 days of receiving Apixaban, a cardiac magnetic resonance scan was preformed, which showed complete resolution of the LV apical thrombus.

Learning points:

  • Patients with a dilated and impaired LV are at an increased risk of developing LV thrombus.

  • A large and mobile LV thrombus is associated with an increased risk of embolic events.

  • Vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) are often the first-line therapy for LV thrombus; however, these may be inappropriate in some patients.

  • NOACs are advantageous in comparison to VKAs and are used to treat: non-valvular atrial fibrillation, pulmonary embolisms and used in the prevention of recurrent deep vein thrombosis in adults.

  • To date, NOACs are not licensed for the treatment of an LV thrombus; however, there are growing evidence whereby there use has shown promise in reducing the risk of embolic events and demonstrate rapid reduction in size/full resolution of an LV thrombus.

  • Large, randomised research trials comparing NOACs and VKAs in the treatment of LV thrombus are needed, which may lead to a change in standard clinical practice that could benefit patients.

Open access

Sothinathan Gurunathan and Roxy Senior

Summary

We present the case of a 32-year-old man who presented with a remote history of chest pain and was diagnosed with non-compaction cardiomyopathy on echocardiography. On presentation, he was relatively asymptomatic with normal cardiac function. Unfortunately, he presented 1 year later with a catastrophic embolic stroke.

Learning points:

  • Left ventricular non-compaction (LVNC) is a myocardial disorder characterised by prominent left ventricular (LV) trabeculae, a thin compacted layer and deep intertrabecular recesses.

  • Two-dimensional echocardiography with colour Doppler is the study of choice for diagnosis and follow-up of LVNC. CMR serves an important role where adequate echocardiographic imaging cannot be obtained.

  • LVNC is associated with high rates of mortality and morbidity in adults, including heart failure, thromboembolic events and tachyarrhythmias.

Open access

Bashir Alaour, Christina Menexi, and Benoy N Shah

International best practice guidelines recommend lifelong follow-up of patients that have undergone valve repair or replacement surgery and provide recommendations on the utilization of echocardiography during follow-up. However, such follow-up regimes can vary significantly between different centres and sometimes within the same centre. We undertook this study to determine the patterns of clinical follow-up and use of transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) amongst cardiologists in a large UK tertiary centre. In this retrospective study, we identified patients that underwent heart valve repair or replacement surgery in 2008. We used local postal codes to identify patients within our hospital’s follow-up catchment area. We determined the frequency of clinical follow-up and use of transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) during the 9-year follow-up period (2009–2016 inclusive). Of 552 patients that underwent heart valve surgery, 93 (17%) were eligible for local follow-up. Of these, the majority (61/93, 66%) were discharged after their 6-week post-operative check-up with no further follow-up. Of the remaining 32 patients, there was remarkable heterogeneity in follow-up regimes and use of TTE. This variation did not correlate with the prosthesis type. In summary, the frequency of clinical follow-up and use of echocardiography is highly variable in contemporary practice. Many patients are inappropriately discharged back to their family doctor with no plans for hospital follow-up. These data further support the creation of dedicated specialist heart valve clinics to optimize patient care, ensure rational use of TTE and optimize adherence with best practice guidelines.

Open access

Daniel X Augustine, Lindsay D Coates-Bradshaw, James Willis, Allan Harkness, Liam Ring, Julia Grapsa, Gerry Coghlan, Nikki Kaye, David Oxborough, Shaun Robinson, Julie Sandoval, Bushra S Rana, Anjana Siva, Petros Nihoyannopoulos, Luke S Howard, Kevin Fox, Sanjeev Bhattacharyya, Vishal Sharma, Richard P Steeds, Thomas Mathew, and the British Society of Echocardiography Education Committee

Pulmonary hypertension is defined as a mean arterial pressure of ≥25 mmHg as confirmed on right heart catheterisation. Traditionally, the pulmonary arterial systolic pressure has been estimated on echo by utilising the simplified Bernoulli equation from the peak tricuspid regurgitant velocity and adding this to an estimate of right atrial pressure. Previous studies have demonstrated a correlation between this estimate of pulmonary arterial systolic pressure and that obtained from invasive measurement across a cohort of patients. However, for an individual patient significant overestimation and underestimation can occur and the levels of agreement between the two is poor. Recent guidance has suggested that echocardiographic assessment of pulmonary hypertension should be limited to determining the probability of pulmonary hypertension being present rather than estimating the pulmonary artery pressure. In those patients in whom the presence of pulmonary hypertension requires confirmation, this should be done with right heart catheterisation when indicated. This guideline protocol from the British Society of Echocardiography aims to outline a practical approach to assessing the probability of pulmonary hypertension using echocardiography and should be used in conjunction with the previously published minimum dataset for a standard transthoracic echocardiogram.

Open access

Lindsey E Hunter and Anna N Seale

This review article will guide the reader through the background of prenatal screening for congenital heart disease. The reader will be given insight into the normal screening views, common abnormalities, risk stratification of lesions and also recent advances in prenatal cardiology.

Open access

Robina Matyal, Faraz Mahmood, Ziyad Omar Knio, Stephanie B Jones, Lu Yeh, Rabia Amir, Ruma Bose, and John D Mitchell

Various metrics have been used in curriculum-based transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) training programs to evaluate acquisition of proficiency. However, the quality of task completion, that is the final image quality, was subjectively evaluated in these studies. Ideally, the endpoint metric should be an objective comparison of the trainee-acquired image with a reference ideal image. Therefore, we developed a simulator-based methodology of preclinical verification of proficiency (VOP) in trainees by tracking objective evaluation of the final acquired images. We utilized geometric data from the simulator probes to compare image acquisition of anesthesia residents who participated in our structured longitudinal simulator-based TEE educational program vs ideal image planes determined from a panel of experts. Thirty-three participants completed the study (15 experts, 7 postgraduate year (PGY)-1 and 11 PGY-4). The results of our study demonstrated a significant difference in image capture success rates between learners and experts (χ 2 = 14.716, df = 2, P < 0.001) with the difference between learners (PGY-1 and PGY-4) not being statistically significant (χ 2 = 0, df = 1, P = 1.000). Therefore, our results suggest that novices (i.e. PGY-1 residents) are capable of attaining a level of proficiency comparable to those with modest training (i.e. PGY-4 residents) after completion of a simulation-based training curriculum. However, professionals with years of clinical training (i.e. attending physicians) exhibit a superior mastery of such skills. It is hence feasible to develop a simulator-based VOP program in performance of TEE for junior anesthesia residents.