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Open access

Alexandra Savis and John Simpson

Echocardiography is the imaging modality of choice to diagnose different types of atrial septal defect and to determine which defects are suitable for catheter occlusion. In addition to assessment of defect size and rims, transoesophageal echocardiography may be used to guide the procedure itself including device placement, procedural complications and post-procedural checks. This review covers a practical approach to this subject and is accompanied by online videos illustrating the technique.

Open access

Michelle Carr, Stephanie Curtis, and Jan Marek

Congenital obstruction of the left ventricular outflow tract remains a significant problem and multilevel obstruction can often coexist. Obstruction can take several morphological forms and may involve the subvalvar, valvar or supravalvar portion of the aortic valve complex. Congenital valvar stenosis presenting in the neonatal period represents a spectrum of disorders ranging from the hypoplastic left heart syndrome to almost normal hearts. Treatment options vary dependent on the severity of the left ventricular outflow tract obstruction (LVOTO) and the variable degree of left ventricular hypoplasia as well as the associated lesions such as arch hypoplasia and coarctation.

Open access

L D Hunter, M Monaghan, G Lloyd, A J K Pecoraro, A F Doubell, and P G Herbst


The 2012 World Heart Federation (WHF) criteria for echocardiographic diagnosis of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) identify that the finding of ‘pathological’ mitral regurgitation (MR) in a screened individual increases the likelihood of detecting underlying RHD. Cases of isolated ‘pathological MR’ are thus identified as ‘borderline RHD’. A large-scale echocardiographic screening program (Echo in Africa) in South Africa has identified that inter-scallop separations of the posterior mitral valve leaflet (PMVL) can give rise to ‘pathological’ MR. The authors propose that this entity in isolation should be identified and excluded from the WHF ‘borderline RHD’ category. In this case report, we present two examples of ‘pathological’ MR related to inter-scallop separation from the Echo in Africa image database. We further provide screening tips for the accurate identification of this entity.

Open access

Baskar Sekar, Richard Wheeler, Navroz Masani, and Sean Gallagher


This case describes an unusual presentation of prosthetic valve endocarditis (PVE): an acute coronary syndrome. A 67-year-old male presented with cardiac sounding chest pain on a background of a short history of night sweats, weight loss and general malaise. Four months previously, he had undergone bio-prosthetic aortic valve replacement for severe aortic stenosis and single vessel bypass grafting of the obtuse marginal. Whilst having chest pain, his ECG showed infero-lateral ST depression. Early coronary angiography revealed a new right coronary artery (RCA) lesion that was not present prior to his cardiac surgery. Using multi-modality cardiac imaging, the diagnosis of PVE was made. An aortic root abscess was demonstrated that was causing external compression of the RCA.

Learning points:

  • PVE accounts for up to 20% of all cases of infective endocarditis.

  • High clinical suspicion and early blood cultures before empirical antibiotics are key as the presentation of PVE can often be atypical.

  • PVE rarely presents as an acute coronary syndrome. Potential mechanisms by which PVE may result in an ACS include coronary embolization, obstruction of coronary ostia by a large mobile vegetation and external coronary artery compression from an infective aneurysms/abscess.

  • Repeat cardiac surgery is often required for high-risk PVE such as those caused by staphylococcal infection or severe prosthetic dysfunction.

Open access

Frank A Flachskampf and Petros Nihoyannopoulos

Normal values provide the background for interpretation of quantitative imaging data and thus are essential information for daily routine. Nevertheless, the ways how normal values are obtained, presented and interpreted, often do not receive the attention they deserve. We review the concepts of normalcy, the implications of typical normal ranges including the types of distribution of normal data, the possibilities to index for confounding biological factors like body surface area and the limitations of the very concept of normal values, demonstrating that there are no easy statistical solutions for difficult clinical problems.

Open access

Sarosh Khan, Maria Ribeiro, Diogo Fernandes, and Colin Reid

Open access

Isaac Adembesa, Adriaan Myburgh, and Justiaan Swanevelder


We present a patient with rheumatic heart disease involving all the heart valves. An intraoperative transoesophageal echocardiography confirmed severe mitral stenosis, severe aortic regurgitation, severe tricuspid regurgitation and stenosis, and severe pulmonary stenosis. The patient underwent successful quadruple valve replacement during a single operation at the Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa.

Learning points:

  • Rheumatic heart disease can affect all the heart valves including the pulmonary valve.

  • Intraoperative transoesophageal echocardiography is key for diagnosis, monitoring and confirmation of successful surgical result during heart valve surgery.

  • Combined surgical procedure of all four valves is possible though associated with long procedural time.

Open access

Bo Xu, Serge C Harb, and Allan L Klein

Disorders of the pericardium represent a diverse range of conditions that traditionally may not have received the same level of attention by cardiologists and physicians, owing partly to a lack of research into advanced diagnostic modalities, and limited, evidence-based treatment options. In recent years, there has been a timely resurgence of interest in pericardial diseases, in particular pericarditis. This is attributable to advances in multimodality cardiovascular imaging, in particular cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR), which may help guide treatment decisions for patients with pericardial syndromes. Additionally, increased research and understanding of the pathophysiological basis of pericarditis have shed light on the role of inflammation in pericarditis. This knowledge may help identify potential specific treatment targets. This article aims to provide a practical review of the role of multimodality cardiovascular imaging (echocardiography, multi-detector cardiac computed tomography (MDCT), CMR) in pericardial conditions, focusing on the strengths and potential limitations of each imaging modality.

Open access

Tan Suwatanaviroj, Weimin He, Edith Pituskin, Ian Paterson, Jonathan Choy, and Harald Becher


There are limited data on what is the minimum change that can be detected in cancer patients undergoing treatment with cardiotoxic drugs and are referred for monitoring left ventricular (LV) function.


To assess the variability in the measurement of LV volumes and ejection fraction (EF) in contrast echocardiography and to determine the minimum detectable difference (MDD) between two EF measurements that can be deemed significant.


A total of 150 patients were divided into three groups according to EF (EF <53, 53–60, and >60%). Each group consisted of 50 randomly selected cancer patients who underwent contrast echocardiography between July 2010 and May 2014. Repeated measurements of LV volumes and EF were performed offline by a sonographer and a cardiologist. Inter-observer variability was assessed by analysis of variance. Measurement error was estimated by standard error of measurement and MDD.


The 95% confidence interval with a single measurement of EF was 2 percentage points in the groups of patients with EF <53% and EF >60%, and 2.5 percentage points for patients with EF 53–60%. The MDD for EF, end-diastolic volume and end-systolic volume that could be recognized with 95% confidence interval were 4 percentage points, 7 mL and 4 mL, respectively.


Contrast echocardiography is a reliable tool for serial measurements of EF to monitor cardiotoxicity due to chemotherapy. In a high-volume echocardiography laboratory with experienced staff, the MDD for EF of 4 percentage points on a good-quality recording demonstrates the high reproducibility of the Simpson’s method using contrast echocardiography.

Open access

T-J John, H W Snyman, J Janson, and A J K Pecoraro


Ebstein’s anomaly is a rare entity affecting around 1 in 200,000 live births and accounts for less than 1% of congenital heart diseases. Ebstein’s anomaly with an associated right-sided myxoma is extremely rare, with only one other case report found in the literature. Previous reports have also noted cases of Ebstein’s anomaly associated with left-sided myxomas. We describe a female patient with, to our knowledge, the first case of a histopathologically confirmed right ventricular myxoma in the setting of Ebstein’s anomaly.