A systematic approach to transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) is essential to ensure that no pathology is missed during a study. In addition, a standardised approach facilitates the education and training of operators and is helpful when reviewing studies performed in other departments or by different operators. This document produced by the British Society of Echocardiography aims to provide a framework for a standard TOE study. In addition to a minimum dataset, the layout proposes a recommended sequence in which to perform a comprehensive study. It is recommended that this standardised approach is followed when performing TOE in all clinical settings, including intraoperative TOE to ensure important pathology is not missed. Consequently, this document has been prepared with the direct involvement of the Association of Cardiothoracic Anaesthetists (ACTA).
Richard Wheeler, Richard Steeds, Bushra Rana, Gill Wharton, Nicola Smith, Jane Allen, John Chambers, Richard Jones, Guy Lloyd, Kevin O'Gallagher, and Vishal Sharma
Vishal Sharma, Susan Alderton, Helen McNamara, Richard Steeds, Will Bradlow, Adrian Chenzbraun, David Oxborough, Thomas Mathew, Richard Jones, Richard Wheeler, Julie Sandoval, Guy Lloyd, Kevin O'Gallagher, Daniel Knight, Liam Ring, Katherine Collins, Niall O'Keeffe, Nick Fletcher, Allan Harkness, and Bushra Rana
The World Health Organisation (WHO) launched the Surgical Safety Checklist in 2008. The introduction of this checklist resulted in a significant reduction in the incidence of complications and death in patients undergoing surgery. Consequently, the WHO Surgical Safety checklist is recommended for use by the National Patient Safety Agency for all patients undergoing surgery. However, many invasive or interventional procedures occur outside the theatre setting and there are increasing requirements for a safety checklist to be used prior to such procedures. Transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) is an invasive procedure and although generally considered to be safe, it carries the risk of serious and potentially life-threatening complications. Strict adherence to a safety checklist may reduce the rate of significant complications during TOE. However, the standard WHO Surgical Safety Checklist is not designed for procedures outside the theatre environment and therefore this document is designed to be a procedure-specific safety checklist for TOE. It has been endorsed for use by the British Society of Echocardiography and the Association of Cardiothoracic Anaesthetists.
Jenny Duke, Kim Greaves, and Andrew Dettrick
A papillary fibroelastoma is a rare, avascular, cardiac tumour that is often found incidentally using transthoracic echocardiography (TTE). Peripheral i.v. injection of a microbubble contrast agent is often used to characterize abnormal masses within the heart allowing further delineation of physical features, the area of attachment, and vascularity of the mass in order to differentiate the growth from a tumour or a thrombus. This case highlights a potential pitfall when assessing a cardiac tumour's vascularity using contrast TTE. A cardiac mass was identified on a TTE of a 53-year-old man and was further investigated with microbubble contrast-enhanced TTE. Contrast TTE imaging suggested a vascularized structure in the left ventricle. However, after histological examination the tumour was found to be entirely avascular.
Differentiation of cardiac tumour is usually best performed with contrast echocardiography.
Contrast echocardiography may not be best tool to determine if cardiac mass is vascularized.
A papillary fibroelastoma can appear vascularized with contrast echocardiography due to it's frond-like structures.
Physicians should be aware of this potential confusion when assessing a cardiac tumour in patients.
Clare Quarterman, Nick Fletcher, and Vishal Sharma
The number of potentially preventable medical errors that occur has been steadily increasing. These are a significant cause of patient morbidity, can lead to life-threatening complications and may result in a significant financial burden on health care. Effective communication and team working reduce errors and serious incidents. In particular the implementation of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Safe Surgery Checklist has been shown to reduce in-hospital mortality, postoperative complications and the incidence of surgical site infection. However an increasing number of complex medical procedures and interventions are being performed outside of the theatre environment. The lessons learnt from the surgical setting are relevant to other procedures performed in other areas. For the echocardiographer, transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) is one such procedure in which there is the potential for medical errors that may result in patient harm. This risk is increased if patient sedation is being administered. The British Society of Echocardiography and the Association of Cardiothoracic Anaesthetists have developed a procedure specific checklist to facilitate the use of checklists into routine practice. In this article we discuss the evolution of the WHO safety checklist and explore its relevance to TOE.
Aleksandra Trzebiatowska-Krzynska, Mieke Driessen, Gertjan Tj Sieswerda, Lars Wallby, Eva Swahn, and Folkert Meijboom
Assessment of right ventricular (RV) function is a challenge, especially in patients with congenital heart disease (CHD). The aim of the present study is to assess whether knowledge-based RV reconstruction, used in the everyday practice of an echo-lab for adult CHD in a tertiary referral center, is accurate when compared to cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) examination.
Subjects and methods
Adult patients who would undergo CMR for assessment of the RV were asked to undergo an echo of the heart for further knowledge-based reconstruction (KBR). Echocardiographic images were acquired in standard views using a predefined imaging protocol. RV volumes and ejection fraction (EF) calculated using knowledge-based technology were compared with the CMR data of the same patient.
Nineteen consecutive patients with congenital right heart disease were studied. Median age of the patients was 28 years (range 46 years). Reconstruction was possible in 16 out of 19 patients (85%). RV volumes assessed with this new method were smaller than with CMR. Indexed end diastolic volumes were 114±17 ml vs 121±19 ml, P<0.05 and EFs were 45±8% vs 47±9%, P<0.05 respectively. The correlation between the methods was good with an intraclass correlation of 0.84 for EDV and 0.89 for EF, P value <0.001 in both cases.
KBR enables reliable measurement of RVs in patients with CHDs and can be used in clinical practice for analysis of volumes and EFs.
Miriam Shanks, Lucas Valtuille, Jonathan B Choy, and Harald Becher
Various Doppler-derived parameters of left atrial electrical remodeling have been demonstrated to predict recurrence of atrial fibrillation (AF) after AF ablation. The aim of this study was to compare three Doppler-derived measures of atrial conduction time in patients undergoing AF ablation, and to investigate their predictive value for successful procedure. In 32 prospectively enrolled patients undergoing the first AF ablation, atrial conduction time was estimated by measuring the time delay between the onset of P-wave on the surface ECG to the peak of the a′-wave on the pulsed-wave Doppler and color-coded tissue Doppler imaging of the left atrial lateral wall, and to the peak of the A-wave on the pulsed-wave Doppler of the mitral inflow. There was a significant difference in the baseline atrial conduction time measured by different echocardiographic techniques. Most (88%) patients had normal or only mildly dilated left atrium. At 6 months, 12 patients (38%) had recurrent AF/atrial tachycardia. The duration of history of AF was the only predictor of AF/atrial tachycardia recurrence following the first AF ablation (P=0.024; OR 1.023, CI 1.003–1.044). A combination of normal left atrial volume and history of paroxysmal AF of ≤48 months was associated with the best outcome. Predictive value of the Doppler derived parameters of atrial conduction time may be reduced in the early stages of left atrial remodeling. Future studies may determine which echocardiographic parameter correlates best with the extent of left atrial remodeling and is most predictive of successful AF ablation.
Charles L Brassard, Claudia Viens, André Denault, and Pierre Couture
We present a case of mitral valve (MV) replacement that resulted in multiple complications, as diagnosed by transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), including left ventricular outflow tract obstruction, aortic dissection and left ventricular rupture. We also describe that identification of bleeding originating from the posterior aspect of the heart by the surgical team should trigger a complete TEE evaluation for adequate diagnosis. An 84-year-old woman underwent a MV replacement. Weaning from cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) revealed a late-peaking gradient of 44 mmHg over the left ventricular outflow tract caused by obstruction from a bioprosthetic strut. After proper surgical correction, TEE evaluation showed a type A aortic dissection that was subsequently repaired. After separation from CPB, the surgical team identified a major bleed that originated from the posterior aspect of the heart. Although the initial suspicion was injury to the atrioventricular groove, a complete TEE evaluation confirmed a left ventricular free wall rupture by showing the dissecting jet using colour-flow Doppler. TEE is an essential component in cardiac surgery for assessment of surgical repair and potential complications. Posterior bleeding should trigger a complete TEE examination with assessment of nearby structures to rule out a life-threatening pathology. Left ventricular free wall rupture can be identified using colour-flow Doppler.
Multiple complications may occur after MVR.
TEE is an essential component in the evaluation of surgical repair and its potential associated complications, including LVOT obstruction, aortic dissection and LV rupture.
Posterior bleeding, from the region of AV groove, should trigger a complete TEE examination with assessment of nearby structures such as the atria, coronary sinus and myocardium to rule out a life threatening pathology.
The diagnosis of a LV rupture can be confirmed with 2-D imaging and colour-flow Doppler demonstrating a dissecting jet through the myocardium.
J D R Thomson and S A Qureshi
Cardiac erosion related to transcatheter atrial septal defect closure devices is of increasing concern. Erosion is reported to have occurred with most of currently available occluder devices. Perhaps due to the very large number of implants worldwide, the Amplatzer (St Jude) occluder is associated with the majority of cardiac erosion events reported in the literature. Best current estimates of the incidence of erosion with the St Jude device are between one and three cases per 1000 implants. Most events occur early after implantation and it is rare, although not unheard of, for events to occur after a year following device insertion. It is important that those involved with closure programmes are vigilant for the problem, because device-related erosion is associated with a significant mortality risk. Despite considerable debate, the risk factors (either patient or device) for erosion remain unclear and require further investigation. Currently available data sets have focussed largely on erosion cohorts and are unable to place these cases in appropriate context with non-erosion closure cases. What is certain is that programmes implanting these devices must take care to implant appropriately sized devices and have in place plans to ensure that patients are both well informed and can access help and advice in the event of developing symptoms.
Vishal Sharma, David E Newby, Ralph A H Stewart, Mildred Lee, Ruvin Gabriel, Niels Van Pelt, and Andrew J Kerr
Stress echocardiography is recommended for the assessment of asymptomatic patients with severe valvular heart disease (VHD) when there is discrepancy between symptoms and resting markers of severity. The aim of this study is to determine the prognostic value of exercise stress echocardiography in patients with common valve lesions. One hundred and fifteen patients with VHD (aortic stenosis (n=28); aortic regurgitation (n=35); mitral regurgitation, (n=26); mitral stenosis (n=26)), and age- and sex-matched controls (n=39) with normal ejection fraction underwent exercise stress echocardiography. The primary endpoint was a composite of death or hospitalization for heart failure. Asymptomatic VHD patients had lower exercise capacity than controls and 37% of patients achieved <85% of their predicted metabolic equivalents (METS). There were three deaths and four hospital admissions, and 24 patients underwent surgery during follow-up. An abnormal stress echocardiogram (METS <5, blood pressure rise <20 mmHg, or pulmonary artery pressure post exercise >60 mmHg) was associated with an increased risk of death or hospital admission (14% vs 1%, P<0.0001). The assessment of contractile reserve did not offer additional predictive value. In conclusion, an abnormal stress echocardiogram is associated with death and hospitalization with heart failure at 2 years. Stress echocardiography should be considered as part of the routine follow-up of all asymptomatic patients with VHD.