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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

Rienzi Díaz-Navarro and Petros Nihoyannopoulos

A 54-year-old male developed a left ventricular pseudoaneurysm (Ps) along the lateral wall of the left ventricle (LV), which was diagnosed incidentally by two-dimensional transthoracic echocardiography (2DTTE) 6 months after an acute myocardial infarction. Color flow imaging (CFI) showed blood flow from the LV into the aneurysmal cavity and invasive coronary angiography revealed sub-occlusion of the circumflex artery. A complementary study using cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) confirmed a dilated left ventricle with depressed ejection fraction, thin dyskinetic anterolateral and inferolateral walls, a Ps adjacent to the lateral wall of the LV contained by the pericardium and blood passing in and out through a small defect in the LV mid-anterolateral wall. Late gadolinium-enhanced imaging demonstrated transmural myocardial infarction in the lateral wall and delayed enhancement of the pericardium, which formed the walls of the Ps. A conservative approach was adopted in this case, optimizing the patient’s heart failure medications, including cardioselective beta-blocker agents, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, spironolactone and chronic anticoagulation therapy because of a high risk of ischemic stroke in these patients. At the 13-month follow-up, the patient remained stable with New York Heart Association class II heart failure. In conclusion, 2DTTE and CFI seem to be suitable initial methods for diagnosing Ps of the LV, but CMR is an excellent complementary method for characterizing further this cardiac entity. Furthermore, the long-term outcome of patients with Ps of the LV who are treated medically appears to be relatively benign.

Learning points:

  • Left ventricular pseudoaneurysms are uncommon but severe complications of acute myocardial infarction.

  • Transthoracic two-dimensional echocardiography and CFI are suitable non-invasive diagnostic methods for diagnosing left ventricular pseudoaneurysms.

  • Cardiac magnetic resonance is an excellent complementary method, as it offers additional information for further characterization of this cardiac complication.

  • Despite the fact that surgery is the treatment of choice to avoid a risk of fatal rupture, the long-term outcome of patients with left ventricular pseudoaneurysm who are treated medically appears to be relatively benign.

Open access

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.

Open access

Sothinathan Gurunathan and Roxy Senior


We present the case of a 32-year-old man who presented with a remote history of chest pain and was diagnosed with non-compaction cardiomyopathy on echocardiography. On presentation, he was relatively asymptomatic with normal cardiac function. Unfortunately, he presented 1 year later with a catastrophic embolic stroke.

Learning points:

  • Left ventricular non-compaction (LVNC) is a myocardial disorder characterised by prominent left ventricular (LV) trabeculae, a thin compacted layer and deep intertrabecular recesses.

  • Two-dimensional echocardiography with colour Doppler is the study of choice for diagnosis and follow-up of LVNC. CMR serves an important role where adequate echocardiographic imaging cannot be obtained.

  • LVNC is associated with high rates of mortality and morbidity in adults, including heart failure, thromboembolic events and tachyarrhythmias.

Open access

Real Lebeau, Karim Serri, Maria Di Lorenzo, Claude Sauvé, Van Hoai Viet Le, Vicky Soulières, Malak El-Rayes, Maude Pagé, Chimène Zaïani, Jérôme Garot and Frédéric Poulin


Simpson biplane method and 3D by transthoracic echocardiography (TTE), radionuclide angiography (RNA) and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) are the most accepted techniques for left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) assessment. Wall motion score index (WMSI) by TTE is an accepted complement. However, the conversion from WMSI to LVEF is obtained through a regression equation, which may limit its use. In this retrospective study, we aimed to validate a new method to derive LVEF from the wall motion score in 95 patients.


The new score consisted of attributing a segmental EF to each LV segment based on the wall motion score and averaging all 16 segmental EF into a global LVEF. This segmental EF score was calculated on TTE in 95 patients, and RNA was used as the reference LVEF method. LVEF using the new segmental EF 15-40-65 score on TTE was compared to the reference methods using linear regression and Bland–Altman analyses.


The median LVEF was 45% (interquartile range 32–53%; range from 15 to 65%). Our new segmental EF 15-40-65 score derived on TTE correlated strongly with RNA-LVEF (r = 0.97). Overall, the new score resulted in good agreement of LVEF compared to RNA (mean bias 0.61%). The standard deviations (s.d.s) of the distributions of inter-method difference for the comparison of the new score with RNA were 6.2%, indicating good precision.


LVEF assessment using segmental EF derived from the wall motion score applied to each of the 16 LV segments has excellent correlation and agreement with a reference method.

Open access

Sara Di Michele, Francesca Mirabelli, Domenico Galzerano and Sunil Mankad


We present a 74-year-old male with a chondrosarcoma, who presented with chest pain. The history, electrocardiogram (ECG), and biomarkers established the diagnosis of myocardial infarction (MI); angiography did not show coronary atherosclerosis and, both initial transthoracic echocardiogram and chest computed tomography (CT), did not demonstrate any cardiac abnormalities. A second echocardiogram following a routine ECG showed presence of a mass involving the right ventricle and the cardiac apex that was confirmed by chest CT scan. We underline the importance of considering cardiac tumors in the clinical arena of MI management.

Learning points

  • Cardiac tumors cause ECG changes similar to ischemic heart diseases.

  • Keep in mind cardiac tumors when performing transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) in the setting of suspected MI.

  • TTE is the technique of choice in detecting cardiac tumors.

Open access

Boyang Liu, Nicola C Edwards, Simon Ray and Richard P Steeds

Mitral regurgitation (MR) is the second most common form of valvular disease requiring surgery. Correct identification of surgical candidates and optimising the timing of surgery are key in management. For primary MR, this relies upon a balance between the peri-operative risks and rates of successful repair in patients undergoing early surgery when asymptomatic with the potential risk of irreversible left ventricular dysfunction if intervention is performed too late. For secondary MR, recognition that this is a highly dynamic condition where MR severity may change is key, although data on outcomes in determining whether concomitant valve intervention is performed with revascularisation has raised questions regarding timing of surgery. There has been substantial interest in the use of stress echocardiography to risk stratify patients in mitral regurgitation. This article reviews the role of stress echocardiography in both primary and secondary mitral regurgitation and discusses how this can help clinicians tackle the challenges of this prevalent condition.

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

Mohamed Ahmed, Ashraf Roshdy, Rajan Sharma and Nick Fletcher


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

Manasawee Indrabhinduwat, Maria C Arciniegas Calle, Joseph P Colgan and Hector R Villarraga


Thirty-seven-year-old male presented with cough, dyspnea, significant weight loss (20 kg) and subacute fever for the past 2 months. Physical examination revealed inspiratory and expiratory wheezing bilaterally. A normal S1, S2 and a 3/6 systolic ejection murmur at the left upper parasternal border with respiratory variation were found during cardiac auscultation. Kidney and bone marrow biopsy reported a high-grade B-cell lymphoma. Echocardiography and cardiac CT findings consisted of multiple intracardiac masses affecting the right ventricular (RV) outflow track, RV apex, medial portion of the right atrium and posterior left atrium, as well as mild impairment of the RV systolic function. The masses in the RV outflow track caused partial obstruction (pulmonary valve peak velocity 2.3 m/s) with a RV systolic pressure of 43 mmHg. The infiltrative mass in the interatrial septum extended into both the right and left atrial cavities. The right superior pulmonary vein was occluded. This patient was treated with aggressive chemotherapy and had a good clinical response that resulted in mass size reduction after the first course of chemotherapy. Multimodality imaging techniques such as echocardiography, cardiac CT and PET scan can provide complementary information to better evaluate, stage and manage these patients.

Learning points:

  • Lymphoma can be found as a primary tumor in cardiac tissue, but secondary cardiac lymphoma is far more common.

  • Appropriate investigation, histopathology, immunophenotype, staging and risk assessment are required for definite diagnosis and treatment.

  • Cardiac lymphoma frequently manifests as an ill-defined, infiltrative mass. Typical location is in the atrium (right atrium is the most common site). Pericardial thickening or effusion is also common.

  • Echocardiography is a quick, bedside, non-invasive assessment of anatomical involvement and hemodynamics affected by cardiac lymphoma. Echocardiographic findings of cardiac lymphoma include a hypoechoic, ill-defined infiltrative masses in the myocardium, nodular protrusion into cardiac chambers and pericardial effusion. Obstruction of inflow/outflow track can also be found.

  • If a diagnosis of cardiac lymphoma is made, the most effective treatment is chemotherapy. Surgical treatment may have a role when hemodynamic compromise does not respond to chemotherapy and radiotherapy.