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The safe use of intraoperative transesophageal echocardiography in the management of total anomalous pulmonary venous connection in newborns and infants: a case series.

BACKGROUND: Intraoperative transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is useful in evaluating the repair of lesions in patients with congenital heart disease. But the use of TEE in infants with total anomalous pulmonary venous connection (TAPVC) remains unclear. We reviewed the safety and efficacy of intraoperative TEE during TAPVC repair.

METHODS: Twenty-eight consecutive 1 day to 7 month-old infants with TAPVC (14 supracardiac, six intracardiac and eight infracardiac type) had surgical repair with intraoperative TEE monitoring.

RESULTS: Four patients received immediate surgical revision after primary surgery for residual anastomotic stenosis diagnosed by TEE. In addition, two unsuspected ventricular septal defects and three persistent ductus arteriosus were detected before surgery. Eight infants (29%) had hypotension and hypoxemia associated with TEE probe insertion before surgery, but this hemodynamic disturbance returned to baseline value after withdrawing the TEE probe from the esophagus. However, these eight patients had uneventful TEE probe insertion following sternotomy. The mechanism was probably because of the reduction of intrathoracic pressure when the chest was opened.

CONCLUSIONS: TEE probe insertion in TAPVC patients may pose a potential risk of compression of pulmonary venous confluence resulting in hemodynamic instability. Therefore, we suggest that the use of TEE in such TAPVC patients appears to be safer after sternotomy.

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