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Open access

Ewa A Konik, Merri Bremer, Peter T Lin and Sorin V Pislaru

Summary

A 67-year-old man with myelodysplastic syndrome, disseminated histoplasmosis, and mitral valve replacement presented with dyspnea and peripheral edema. Transthoracic echocardiography demonstrated abnormal pulmonic valve with possible vegetation. Color flow imaging showed laminar flow from main pulmonary artery into right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT) in diastole. The continuous wave Doppler signal showed dense diastolic envelope with steep deceleration slope. These findings were consistent with severe pulmonic valve regurgitation, possibly due to endocarditis. Transesophageal echocardiography demonstrated an echodense mass attached to the pulmonic valve. The mitral valve bioprosthesis appeared intact. Bacterial and fungal blood cultures were negative; however, serum histoplasma antigen was positive. At surgery, the valve appeared destroyed by vegetations. Gomori methenamine silver-stains showed invasive fungal hyphae and yeast consistent with a dimorphic fungus. Valve cultures grew one colony of filamentous fungus. Itraconazole was continued based on expert infectious diseases diagnosis. After surgery, dyspnea and ankle edema resolved. To the best of our knowledge, histoplasma endocarditis of pulmonic valve has not been previously reported. Isolated pulmonic valve endocarditis is rare, accounting for about 2% of infectious endocarditis (IE) cases. Fungi account for about 3% of cases of native valve endocarditis. Characterization of pulmonary valve requires thorough interrogation with 2D and Doppler echocardiography techniques. Parasternal RVOT view allowed visualization of the pulmonary valve and assessment of regurgitation severity. As an anterior structure, it may be difficult to image with transesophageal echocardiography. Mid-esophageal right ventricular inflow–outflow view clearly showed the pulmonary valve and vegetation.

Learning points

  • Identification and characterization of pulmonary valve abnormalities require thorough interrogation with 2D and Doppler echocardiography techniques.

  • Isolated pulmonary valve IE is rare and requires high index of suspicion.

  • Histoplasma capsulatum IE is rare and requires high index of suspicion.

Open access

Isaac Adembesa, Adriaan Myburgh and Justiaan Swanevelder

Summary

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

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

Daniel Hammersley, Aamir Shamsi, Mohammad Murtaza Zaman, Philip Berry and Lydia Sturridge

A 63-year-old female presented to hospital with progressive exertional dyspnoea over a 6-month period. In the year preceding her admission, she reported an intercurrent history of abdominal pain, diarrhoea and weight loss. She was found to be hypoxic, the cause for which was initially unclear. A ventilation–perfusion scan identified a right-to-left shunt. Transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) demonstrated a significant right-to-left intracardiac shunt through a patent foramen ovale (PFO); additionally severe tricuspid regurgitation was noted through a highly abnormal tricuspid valve. The findings were consistent with carcinoid heart disease with a haemodynamically significant shunt, resulting in profound systemic hypoxia. 24-h urinary 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) and imaging were consistent with a terminal ileal primary carcinoid cancer with hepatic metastasis. Liver biopsy confirmed a tissue diagnosis. The patient was commenced on medical therapy for carcinoid syndrome. She subsequently passed away while undergoing anaesthetic induction for valvular surgery to treat her carcinoid heart disease and PFO.

Learning points:

  • Carcinoid syndrome is a rare condition, which presents a significant diagnostic challenge due to its insidious presentation and symptoms. This frequently results in a marked delay in diagnosis.

  • Carcinoid heart disease is characterised by distortion and fixation of right-sided heart valves, which cause valvular regurgitation, stenosis or both. Valvular abnormalities are often found in association with right ventricular failure.

  • In the case described, carcinoid heart disease was found in association with a significant right-to-left intracardiac shunt, created through a PFO due to right atrial volume overload. This prevented right ventricular failure at the expense of creating a state of severe induced systemic hypoxia.

  • This physiological adaptation resulted in an unusual presentation of this condition, due to symptoms resulting from hypoxia, rather than the classical symptoms of carcinoid syndrome or right ventricular failure.

Open access

Emily Worley, Bushra Rana, Lynne Williams and Shaun Robinson

Objective

The left atrium (LA) is exposed to left ventricular pressure during diastole. Applying the 2016 American Society of Echocardiography left ventricular diastolic function (LVDF) guidelines, this study aims to investigate whether left atrial ejection fraction (LAEF) and left atrial active emptying fraction (LAAEF) are markers of diastolic dysfunction (LVDD).

Methods

Retrospective cohort of consecutive patients (n = 124) who underwent transthoracic echocardiography were studied. Doppler peak velocities of passive (MV E) and active filling (MV A) were measured and ratio E/A calculated. Tissue Doppler imaging parameters of peak early (e′) of the septal and lateral mitral annulus were measured, and average E/e′ ratio (E/e′) was calculated. Tricuspid regurgitation velocity, left atrial maximum volume, left atrial minimum volume and LA volume pre-contraction were measured, allowing calculation of LAEF and LAAEF. Subjects were assigned LVDF categories.

Results

Binomial logistic regression model (X 2(2) = 48.924, P < 0.01) determined that LAEF and LAAEF predicted diastolic dysfunction with sensitivity 85.5% and specificity 78%. ROC curves determined good diagnostic accuracy for LAEF and LAAEF to predict LVDD, AUC 0.826 and 0.861 respectively. Logistic regression model (X 2(2) = 39.525, P < 0.01) predicted those patients with E/e′ ≥14 using LAEF and LAAEF with sensitivity 51.6% and specificity 92.4%. Moderate correlations were found between E/e′ and log derivatives of LAEF and LAAEF.

Conclusions

A decline in LAAEF and LAEF is associated with worsening LVDD.

Open access

Kai Neoh, Jamal Khan, Khaled Albouaini and Adrian Chenzbraun

A 42-year-old intravenous drug user presented with sepsis and multiple brain and systemic emboli. Blood cultures were positive for Staphylococcus aureus. Transoesophageal echocardiography showed two masses in the left and the right ventricle. The LV mass was large (2.3x1.5cm), irregular, mobile and attached to the basal anterolateral LV segment, abutting but not involving the mitral valve. (Figure 1, Video 1). The RV mass was smaller (1.7x1.5 cm) irregular and mobile, possibly involving the subvalvular apparatus but not encroaching the tricuspid valve (Figure 2). Once commenced on antibiotics the patient improved and there were no further embolic events. Although the echocardiographic definition of vegetation includes masses on any endocardial surface1, mural endocarditis without valvular involvement is considered extremely rare2. The diagnosis is supported by the septic and embolic clinical picture but requires awareness of this uncommon entity. The present case is even more unusual in view of the biventricular mural localisation of the vegetations, a pattern that has been mentioned in only very few case reports3,4.

Open access

Girish Dwivedi, Ganadevan Mahadevan, Donie Jimenez, Michael Frenneaux and Richard P Steeds

Only limited data are available from which normal ranges of mitral annular (MA) and tricuspid annular (TA) dimensions have been established. Normative data are important to assist the echocardiographer in defining the mechanism of atrioventricular valve regurgitation and to inform surgical planning. This study was conceived to establish normal MA and TA dimensions. Consecutive healthy subjects over the age of 60 were randomly recruited from the community as part of a screening project within South Birmingham. MA and TA dimensions in end-systole and end-diastole were evaluated in the parasternal and apical acoustic windows views using transthoracic echocardiography. Gender (males (M) and females (F))-specific dimensions were then assessed. A total of 554 subjects were screened and 74 with pathology considered to have an effect on annular dimensions were excluded from analysis. The mean age of the remaining 480 subjects was 70±7 years and the majority were female (56%). Dimensions were larger in men than in women and greater at end-diastole than end-systole (both P<0.05). Mean MA diameters at end-systole in the parasternal long axis view (cm) were 3.44 cm (M) and 3.11 cm (F) and at end-diastole 3.15 cm (M) and 2.83 cm (F) respectively. Mean TA diameters (cm) at end-systole in the apical 4 chamber view were 2.84 (M) and 2.80 (F) and at end-diastole 3.15 (M) and 3.01 (F) respectively. The reference ranges derived from this study differ from current published standards and should help to improve distinction of normal from pathological findings, in identifying aetiology and defining the mechanism of regurgitation.

Open access

Annari van Rensburg, Philip Herbst and Anton Doubell

The therapeutic implications of bicuspid aortic valve associations have come under scrutiny in the transcatheter aortic valve implantation era. We evaluate the spectrum of mitral valve disease in patients with bicuspid aortic valves to determine the need for closer echocardiographic scrutiny/follow-up of the mitral valve. A retrospective analysis of echocardiograms done at a referral hospital over five years was conducted in patients with bicuspid aortic valves with special attention to congenital abnormalities of the mitral valve. One hundred and forty patients with a bicuspid aortic valve were included. A congenital mitral valve abnormality was present in eight (5.7%, P = 0.01) with a parachute mitral valve in four (2.8%), an accessory mitral valve leaflet in one (0.7%), mitral valve prolapse in one, a cleft in one and the novel finding of a trileaflet mitral valve in one. Minor abnormalities included an elongated anterior mitral valve leaflet (P < 0.001), the increased incidence of physiological mitral regurgitation (P < 0.001), abnormal papillary muscles (P = 0.002) and an additional chord or tendon in the left ventricle cavity (P = 0.007). Mitral valve abnormalities occur more commonly in patients with bicuspid aortic valves than matched healthy individuals. The study confirms that abnormalities in these patients extend beyond the aorta. These abnormalities did not have a significant functional effect.

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

Mohammad Qasem, Victor Utomi, Keith George, John Somauroo, Abbas Zaidi, Lynsey Forsythe, Sanjeev Bhattacharrya, Guy Lloyd, Bushra Rana, Liam Ring, Shaun Robinson, Roxy Senior, Nabeel Sheikh, Mushemi Sitali, Julie Sandoval, Richard Steeds, Martin Stout, James Willis and David Oxborough

Introduction

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is an inherited pathology that can increase the risk of sudden death. Current task force criteria for echocardiographic diagnosis do not include new, regional assessment tools which may be relevant in a phenotypically diverse disease. We adopted a systematic review and meta-analysis approach to highlight echocardiographic indices that differentiated ARVC patients and healthy controls.

Methods

Data was extracted and analysed from prospective trials that employed a case–control design meeting strict inclusion and exclusion as well as a priori quality criteria. Structural indices included proximal RV outflow tract (RVOT1) and RV diastolic area (RVDarea). Functional indices included RV fractional area change (RVFAC), tricuspid annular systolic excursion (TAPSE), peak systolic and early diastolic myocardial velocities (S′ and E′, respectively) and myocardial strain.

Results

Patients with ARVC had larger RVOT1 (mean ± s.d.; 34 vs 28 mm, P < 0.001) and RVDarea (23 vs 18 cm2, P < 0.001) compared with healthy controls. ARVC patients also had lower RVFAC (38 vs 46%, P < 0.001), TAPSE (17 vs 23 mm, P < 0.001), S′ (9 vs 12 cm/s, P < 0.001), E′ (9 vs 13 cm/s, P < 0.001) and myocardial strain (−17 vs −30%, P < 0.001).

Conclusion

The data from this meta-analysis support current task force criteria for the diagnosis of ARVC. In addition, other RV measures that reflect the complex geometry and function in ARVC clearly differentiated between ARVC and healthy controls and may provide additional diagnostic and management value. We recommend that future working groups consider this data when proposing new/revised criteria for the echocardiographic diagnosis of ARVC.