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Open access

Francesca Tedoldi, Maximilian Krisper, Clemens Köhncke, and Burkert Pieske

Summary

We present a very rare example of chronic right heart failure caused by torrent tricuspid regurgitation. Massive right heart dilatation and severe tricuspid regurgitation due to avulsion of the tricuspid valve apparatus occurred as a result of a blunt chest trauma following the explosion of a gas bottle 20 years before admission, when the patient was a young man in Vietnam. After this incident, the patient went through a phase of severe illness, which can retrospectively be identified as an acute right heart decompensation with malaise, ankle edema, and dyspnea. Blunt chest trauma caused by explosives leading to valvular dysfunction has not been reported in the literature so far. It is remarkable that the patient not only survived this trauma, but had been managing his chronic heart failure well without medication for over 20 years.

Learning points

  • Thorough clinical and physical examination remains the key to identifying patients with relevant valvulopathies.

  • With good acoustic windows, TTE is superior to TEE in visualizing the right heart.

  • Traumatic avulsion of valve apparatus is a rare but potentially life-threatening complication of blunt chest trauma and must be actively sought for. Transthoracic echocardiography remains the method of choice in these patients.

Open access

Thomas Sturmberger, Johannes Niel, Josef Aichinger, and Christian Ebner

Summary

We present the case of a 26-year-old male with acute tonsillitis who was referred for coronary angiography because of chest pain, elevated cardiac biomarkers, and biphasic T waves. The patient had no cardiovascular risk factors. Echocardiography showed no wall motion abnormalities and no pericardial effusion. 2D speckle tracking revealed distinct decreased regional peak longitudinal systolic strain in the lateral and posterior walls. Ischemic disease was extremely unlikely in view of his young age, negative family history regarding coronary artery disease, and lack of regional wall motion abnormalities on the conventional 2D echocardiogram. Coronary angiography was deferred as myocarditis was suspected. To confirm the diagnosis, cardiac magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) was performed, showing subepicardial delayed hyperenhancement in the lateral and posterior walls correlating closely with the strain pattern obtained by 2D speckle tracking echocardiography. With a working diagnosis of acute myocarditis associated with acute tonsillitis, we prescribed antibiotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The patient’s clinical signs resolved along with normalization of serum creatine kinase (CK) levels, and the patient was discharged on the third day after admission.

Learning points

  • Acute myocarditis can mimic acute coronary syndromes.

  • Conventional 2D echocardiography lacks specific features for detection of subtle regional wall motion abnormalities.

  • 2D speckle tracking expands the scope of echocardiography in identifying myocardial dysfunction derived from edema in acute myocarditis.

Open access

Rajesh Janardhanan, Muhammad Umar Kamal, Irbaz Bin Riaz, and M Cristy Smith

Summary

In intravenous drug abusers, infective endocarditis usually involves right-sided valves, with Staphylococcus aureus being the most common etiologic agent. We present a patient who is an intravenous drug abuser with left-sided (aortic valve) endocarditis caused by Enterococcus faecalis who subsequently developed an anterior mitral valve aneurysm, which is an exceedingly rare complication. A systematic literature search was conducted which identified only five reported cases in the literature of mitral valve aneurysmal rupture in the setting of E. faecalis endocarditis. Real-time 3D-transesophageal echocardiography was critical in making an accurate diagnosis leading to timely intervention.

Learning objectives

  • Early recognition of a mitral valve aneurysm (MVA) is important because it may rupture and produce catastrophic mitral regurgitation (MR) in an already seriously ill patient requiring emergency surgery, or it may be overlooked at the time of aortic valve replacement (AVR).

  • Real-time 3D-transesophageal echocardiography (RT-3DTEE) is much more advanced and accurate than transthoracic echocardiography for the diagnosis and management of MVA.

Open access

Sitara G Khan, Dimitris Klettas, Stam Kapetanakis, and Mark J Monaghan

Abstract

Cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) can profoundly improve outcome in selected patients with heart failure; however, response is difficult to predict and can be absent in up to one in three patients. There has been a substantial amount of interest in the echocardiographic assessment of left ventricular dyssynchrony, with the ultimate aim of reliably identifying patients who will respond to CRT. The measurement of myocardial deformation (strain) has conventionally been assessed using tissue Doppler imaging (TDI), which is limited by its angle dependence and ability to measure in a single plane. Two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography is a technique that provides measurements of strain in three planes, by tracking patterns of ultrasound interference (‘speckles’) in the myocardial wall throughout the cardiac cycle. Since its initial use over 15 years ago, it has emerged as a tool that provides more robust, reproducible and sensitive markers of dyssynchrony than TDI. This article reviews the use of two-dimensional and three-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography in the assessment of dyssynchrony, including the identification of echocardiographic parameters that may hold predictive potential for the response to CRT. It also reviews the application of these techniques in guiding optimal LV lead placement pre-implant, with promising results in clinical improvement post-CRT.

Open access

John B Chambers, Denise Parkin, James Roxburgh, Vinayak Bapat, and Christopher Young

Abstract

Aim

To compare the classical and simplified form of the continuity equation in small Trifecta valves.

Methods

This is a retrospective analysis of post-operative echocardiograms performed for clinical reasons after implantation of Trifecta bioprosthetic valves.

Results

There were 60 patients aged 74 (range 38–89) years. For the valves of size 19, 21 and 23mm, the mean gradient was 11.3, 10.7 and 9.7mmHg, respectively. The effective orifice areas by the classical form of the continuity equation were 1.4, 1.7 and 1.9cm2, respectively. There was a good correlation between the two forms of the continuity equation, but they were significantly different using a t-test (P<0.00001). Results using the classical form were a mean 0.11 (s.d. 0.18)cm2 larger than those using the simple formula.

Conclusion

Haemodynamic function of the Trifecta valve in the small aortic root is good. There are significant differences between the classical and simplified forms of the continuity equation.

Open access

Yau-Huei Lai, Chun-Ho Yun, Cheng-Huang Su, Fei-Shih Yang, Hung-I Yeh, Charles Jia-Yin Hou, Tung-Hsin Wu, Ricardo C Cury, Hiram G Bezerra, and Chung-Lieh Hung

Abstract

Purpose

Pericardial adipose tissue had been shown to exert local effects on adjacent cardiac structures. Data regarding the mechanistic link between such measures and left atrial (LA) structural/functional remodeling, a clinical hallmark of early stage heart failure (HF) and atrial fibrillation (AF) incidence, in asymptomatic population remain largely unexplored.

Methods

This retrospective analysis includes 356 subjects free from significant valvular disorders, atrial fibrillation, or clinical HF. Regional adipose tissue including pericardial and periaortic fat volumes, interatrial septal (IAS), and left atrioventricular groove (AVG) fat thickness were all measured by multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) (Aquarius 3D Workstation, TeraRecon, San Mateo, CA, USA). We measured LA volumes, booster performance, reservoir capacity as well as conduit function, and analyzed their association with adiposity measures.

Results

All four adiposity measures were positively associated with greater LA volumes (all P < 0.05), while IAS and AVG fat were also related to larger LA kinetic energy and worse reservoir capacity (both P < 0.01). In multivariate models, IAS fat thickness remained independently associated with larger LA volumes, increased LA kinetic energy and ejection force (β-coef: 0.17 & 0.15, both P < 0.05), and impaired LA reservoir and conduit function (β-coef: −0.20 & −0.12, both P < 0.05) after adjusting for clinical variables.

Conclusion

Accumulated visceral adiposity, especially interatrial fat depots, was associated with certain LA structural/functional remodeling characterized by impaired LA reservoir and conduit function though augmented kinetic energy and ejection performance. Our data suggested that interatrial fat burden may be associated with certain detrimental LA functions with compensatory LA adaptation in an asymptomatic population.

Open access

Jun Zhang, Yani Liu, Ligang Liu, and Youbin Deng

Summary

We present quite a rare case of extracardiac unruptured right sinus of valsalva aneurysm (SVA) complicated with atherothrombosis in a young adult man. A 35-year-old male with a giant unruptured SVA arising from the right coronary sinus (RCS) with extracardiac protrusion was diagnosed by echocardiography. Contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) revealed a huge calcified aneurysm with mural thrombi originating from the aortic root, and about 80% stenosis at the initial segment of the right coronary artery (RCA). Intraoperative exploration demonstrated a giant unruptured aneurysm arising from the RCS. Different from other SVAs reported before, this aneurismal wall appeared thick and atheromatous-like. In this aneurysm, there was a small localized intima tearing and mural thrombosis, and the orifice of the RCA was almost blocked. This patient underwent surgical patch repair to prevent aneurysm rupture and coronary artery bypass grafting for RCA revascularization. In conclusion, the pathological examination demonstrated marked foam cells, inflammatory cells, and thrombosis in the aneurismal wall.

Learning points

  • Echocardiographic characteristics of sinus of valsalva aneurysm (SVA).

  • Diagnostic evaluation of extracardiac unruptured SVA.

  • Pathology of rare SVA.

Open access

Isaac B Rhea, Shuja Rehman, Upasana Jarori, Muhammad W Choudhry, Harvey Feigenbaum, and Stephen G Sawada

Abstract

Assessment of global longitudinal systolic strain (GLS) and longitudinal systolic strain of the basal segments (BLS) has shown prognostic value in cardiac disorders. However, strain is reduced with increased afterload. We assessed the prognostic value of GLS and BLS adjusted for afterload. GLS and BLS were determined in 272 subjects with normal ejection fraction and no known coronary disease, or significant valve disease. Systolic blood pressure (SP) and diastolic blood pressure (DP) obtained at the time of echocardiography were used to adjust GLS and BLS as follows: strain×SP (mmHg)/120 mmHg and strain×DP (mmHg)/80 mmHg. Patients were followed for cardiac events and mortality. The mean age was 53±15 years and 53% had hypertension. There were 19 cardiac events and 70 deaths over a mean follow-up of 26±14 months. Cox analysis showed that left ventricular mass index (P=0.001), BLS (P<0.001), and DP-adjusted BLS (P<0.001) were independent predictors of cardiac events. DP-adjusted BLS added incremental value (P<0.001) to the other two predictors and had an area under the curve of 0.838 for events. DP (P=0.001), age (P=0.001), ACE inhibitor use (P=0.017), and SP-adjusted BLS (P=0.012) were independent predictors of mortality. SP-adjusted BLS added incremental value (P=0.014) to the other independent predictors. In conclusion, DP-adjusted BLS and SP-adjusted BLS were independent predictors of cardiac events and mortality, respectively. Blood pressure-adjusted strain added incremental prognostic value to other predictors of outcome.

Open access

Mohamed Ahmed, Ashraf Roshdy, Rajan Sharma, and Nick Fletcher

Abstract

The aetiology of sudden cardiac arrest can often be identified to underlying cardiac pathology. Mitral valve prolapse is a relatively common valvular pathology with symptoms manifesting with increasing severity of mitral regurgitation (MR). It is unusual for severe MR to be present without symptoms, and there is growing evidence that this subset of patients may be at increased risk of sudden cardiac arrest or death. The difficulty lies in identifying those patients at risk and applying measures that are appropriate to halting progression to cardiac arrest. This article examines the association of mitral valve prolapse with cardiac arrests, the underlying pathophysiological process and the strategies for identifying those at risk.

Open access

Nikhil Ahluwalia, Sanjeev Bhattacharyya, Christopher Munns, and John Chambers

Transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) can be used to expedite DC cardioversion (DCCV) in the absence of adequate anticoagulation. There are no guidelines for the management of sedation or general anaesthetic. We performed a survey of NHS echocardiography departments to determine UK practice. Responses were received from 95 (50%) of 189 centres, and TOE-guided DCCV was performed in 81 centres. The numbers were <10 a year in 41 (50%), 10 – 50 in 31 (38%), 50 – 100 in 8 (10%) and >100 in 4 (5%) centres. Sedation for TOE was a usual practice in 67 (80%) centres but often temporally disconnected from DCCV due to logistical reasons. TOE under general anaesthetic was performed in 35 (43%) centres and as the usual method in 16 (20%). The patient was in the supine position with endotracheal intubation in 20 (57%) of centres, but without any form of airway protection while supine in 5 (14%). There is variability in practice across centres in the UK, in part due to limitations to services in most centres but also because of an absence of UK guidelines. The development of national standards may address this and aid in the development of local business cases to extend services.