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  • Abstract: prosthetic valves x
  • Abstract: prosthetic valve endocarditis x
  • Abstract: prosthetic valve thrombosis x
  • Abstract: heart valve replacement x
  • Abstract: transcatheter aortic valve replacement x
  • Abstract: infective endocarditis x
  • Abstract: replacement heart valves x
  • Abstract: TAVI x
  • Abstract: transcatheter valves x
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Open access

Caroline Bleakley, Mehdi Eskandari and Mark Monaghan

Transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) was initially proven as an alternative to valve replacement therapy in those beyond established risk thresholds for conventional surgery. With time the technique has been methodically refined and offered to a progressively lower risk cohort, and with this evolution has come that of the significant imaging requirements of valve implantation. This review discusses the role of transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) in the current TAVI arena, aligning it with that of cardiac computed tomography, and outlining how TOE can be used most effectively both prior to and during TAVI in order to optimise outcomes.

Open access

Y Tayyareci, R Dworakowski, P Kogoj, J Reiken, C Kenny, P MacCarthy, O Wendler and M J Monaghan

Objective

To assess the impact of mitral geometry, left ventricular (LV) remodelling and global LV afterload on mitral regurgitation (MR) after trans-catheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI).

Methods

In this study, 60 patients who underwent TAVI were evaluated by 3D echocardiography at baseline, 1 month and 6 months after procedure. The proportional change in MR following TAVI was determined by examining the percentage change in vena contracta (VC) at 6 months. Patients having a significant reduction of at least 30% in VC were defined as good responders (GR) and the remaining patients were defined as poor responders (PR).

Results

After 6 months of TAVI, 27 (45%) patients were GR and 33 (55%) were PR. There was a significant decrease in 3DE-derived mitral annular diameter and area (P = 0.001), mitral valve tenting area (TA) (P = 0.05), and mitral papillary muscle dyssynchrony index (DSI) (P = 0.05) in the GR group. 3DE-derived LVESV (P = 0.016), LV mass (P = 0.001) and LV DSI, (P = 0.001) were also improved 6 months after TAVI. In addition, valvulo-arterial impedance (ZVA) was significantly higher at baseline in patients with PR (P = 0.028). 3DE-derived mitral annular area (β: 0.47, P = 0.04), mitral papillary DSI (β: −0.65, P = 0.012) and ZVA (β: 0.45, P = 0.028) were the strongest independent parameters that could predict the reduction of functional MR after TAVI.

Conclusion

GR patients demonstrate more regression in mitral annulus area and diameter after significant decrease in high LVEDP and trans-aortic gradients with TAVI. PR patients appear to have increased baseline ZVA, mitral valve tenting and restriction in mitral valve coaptation. These factors are important for predicting the impact of TAVI on pre-existing MR.

Open access

Renuka Jain, Daniel P O’Hair, Tanvir K Bajwa, Denise Ignatowski, Daniel Harland, Amanda M Kirby, Tracy Hammonds, Suhail Q Allaqaband, Jonathan Kay and Bijoy K Khandheria

Background

While transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) has traditionally been supported intraprocedurally by transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE), transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is increasingly being used. We evaluated echocardiographic imaging characteristics and clinical outcomes in patients who underwent TTE during TAVI (TTE-TAVI).

Methods and results

A select team of dedicated sonographers and interventional echocardiographers performed TTE-TAVI in 278 patients, all of whom underwent TAVI through transfemoral access. We implanted the Medtronic EVOLUT R valve in 258 patients (92.8%). TTE images were acquired immediately pre-procedure by a dedicated sonographer in the cardiac catheterization laboratory with the patient in the supine position. TTE was then performed post deployment of TAVI. In the procedure, TTE image quality was fair or better in 249 (89.6%) cases. Color-flow Doppler was adequate or better in 275 (98.9%) cases. In 2 cases, paravalvular regurgitation (PVL) could not be assessed confidently by echocardiography due to poor image quality; in those cases, PVL was assessed by fluoroscopy, aortic root injection and invasive hemodynamics. Both TTE and invasive hemodynamics were used in the assessment of need for post-deployment stent ballooning (n = 23, 8.3%). TTE adequately recognized new pericardial effusion in 3 cases. No case required TOE conversion for image quality. There was only 1 case of intraprocedural TTE failing to recognize moderate PVL, without clinical implication. In 99% of patients, TTE-TAVI adequately assessed PVL compared with 24-h and 1-month follow-up TTE.

Conclusions

With the current generation of TAVI, TTE-TAVI is adequate intraprocedurally when performed by specialized sonographers and dedicated cardiologists in a highly experienced TAVI center.

Open access

John Fryearson, Nicola C Edwards, Sagar N Doshi and Richard P Steeds

Transcatheter aortic valve implantation is now accepted as a standard mode of treatment for an increasingly large population of patients with severe aortic stenosis. With the availability of this technique, echocardiographers need to be familiar with the imaging characteristics that can help to identify which patients are best suited to conventional surgery or transcatheter aortic valve implantation, and what parameters need to be measured. This review highlights the major features that should be assessed during transthoracic echocardiography before presentation of the patient to the ‘Heart Team’. In addition, this review summarises the aspects to be considered on echocardiography during follow-up assessment after successful implantation of a transcatheter aortic valve.

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

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

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

Charles L Brassard, Claudia Viens, André Denault and Pierre Couture

Summary

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.

Learning points

  • 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.

Open access

Caroline Bleakley, Mehdi Eskandari, Omar Aldalati, Konstantinos Moschonas, Marilou Huang, Almira Whittaker and Mark Monaghan

The mitral valve orifice area (MVOA) is difficult to assess accurately by 2D echocardiography because of geometric assumptions, therefore 3D planimetry may offer advantages. We studied differences in MVOA measurements and prediction of clinical outcomes between 2D and 3D methods. Methods This was a head to head comparison of the most commonly used techniques to grade mitral stenosis (MS) by orifice area. 2D measurements (pressure half-time (PHT), planimetry) and 3D planimetry were performed retrospectively on patients with at least mild MS. The clinical primary endpoint was defined as a composite of MV balloon valvotomy, mitral valve repair or replacement (MVR), and/or acute heart failure (HF) admissions. Results 41 consecutive patients were included; the majority were female (35; 85.4%), average age 55 (17) years. Mean and peak MV gradients were 9.4 (4) mmHg and 19 (6) mmHg, respectively. 2D and 3D measures of MVOA differed significantly; mean 2D planimetry MVOA was 1.28 (0.40) cm2, mean 3D planimetry MVOA 1.15 (0.29) cm2 (p = 0.003). Mean PHT MVOA was 1.43 (0.44) cm2 (p = 0.046 and p < 0.001 in comparison to 2D and 3D planimetry methods, respectively). 3D planimetry reclassified 7 (17%) patients from mild to moderate MS, and 1 (2.4%) from moderate to severe. Overall, differences between the 2 methods were significant (X2, p < 0.001). Only cases graded as severe by 3D predicted the primary outcome measure compared with mild or moderate cases (odds ratio 5.7). Conclusion 3D planimetry in MS returns significantly smaller measurements, which in some cases results in the reclassification of severity. Routine use of 3D may significantly impact on the management of MS, with a degree of prediction of clinical outcomes.

Open access

Baskar Sekar, Richard Wheeler, Navroz Masani and Sean Gallagher

Summary

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.