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Main coronary artery and coronary ostial stenosis in children: detection by transthoracic color flow and pulsed Doppler echocardiography.

Coronary artery stenosis (CAS) and coronary ostial stenosis (COS) are potentially life-threatening conditions. The echocardiographic diagnosis of CAS and COS in children has not been described. We report on the transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) findings of CAS and COS in children. Six patients, aged 1 week to 12 years, with clinically confirmed COS (n = 5) and CAS (n = l) were diagnosed by TTE. Their echocardiographic findings were compared with 26 healthy control subjects of a similar age range. Left COS was associated with an aberrant left coronary artery (CA) from the contralateral aortic sinus (n = 2), an intramural left CA with d-transposition of the great vessels (n = l), and supravalvular aortic stenosis (n = l). Right COS was present in a patient with aortic valvular stenosis. Acquired left main CAS was diagnosed in the sixth patient 3 years after orthotopic heart transplantation. Coronary ostial stenosis was recognized when a color flow acceleration signal was present proximal to and extending into the coronary ostium (CO). Coronary artery stenosis was detected when a coarctated color flow stream was present within the stenosed CA segment with turbulent distal flow. These findings were not detected in the control cohort who demonstrated laminar CA and CO flow signals. All patients had increased spectral velocity in the CA distal to the stenosed segment (patients = 50 +/- 5 cm/s, controls = 24 +/- 6 cm/sec; P <.01). Delayed peak diastolic velocity seemed to indicate severe stenosis. We conclude that (1) CO acceleration signals and turbulent coarctated CA flow signals are abnormal findings in TTE coronary Doppler assessment. They indicate COS and CAS, respectively. (2) Knowledge of the normal TTE CA flow velocity patterns is essential so that abnormal velocity signals such as seen with CAS and COS can be recognized and a timely diagnosis made.

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