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.
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.