[Diagnostic accuracy of transesophageal echocardiography in the diagnosis of aortic dissection: comparison with computerized axial tomography]

A Nicosia, G Greco, S Felis, A Drago, W Deste, C Tamburino, V Calvi, V Monaca, M Abbate, G Giuffrida
Cardiologia: Bollettino Della Società Italiana di Cardiologia 1995, 40 (5): 329-39
This study was designed to assess the sensibility, specificity and diagnostic accuracy of transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) and X-ray contrast enhanced computed tomography (CT) in the diagnosis of aortic dissection and its complications. Fifty patients with clinically suspected aortic dissection were examined. Imaging results were validated in each case by intraoperative and/or autopsy findings and/or the results of cineangiography. The Stanford and DeBakey classifications were used to differentiate the dissection type; the patients were also subdivided by TEE according to a modified DeBakey classification. The sensibility of TEE to detect aortic dissection was 100%, significantly higher (p < 0.05) than that of CT for type A dissections (77.2%). The two imaging procedures did not statistically differ (NS) in the detection of type B dissection (CT sensibility 87.5%). The specificity of TEE for the detection of type A aortic dissection was 94%; it was not significantly higher (NS) than that of CT (CT specificity 86.6%). Both TEE and CT had no false negative findings in the diagnosis of type B aortic dissection (100%; TEE vs CT, NS). TEE was reliable in the correct identification of the primary entry site in the ascending aorta (80%), the arch (62.5%) and descending aorta (71.4%), and also in the involvement of coronary arteries (62.5%), and aortic arch branch vessels (71.4%); CT scanning was not effective in detecting any of these complications. Aortic regurgitation was accurately identified by TEE in each case. Both TEE and CT scanning correctly identified thrombosis of the false lumen and pericardial effusion. Intraoperative TEE documented in all patients postrepair persistence of the intimal flap in aortic segments that were not operated; flow in the false lumen was detected in 46.6% of the patients; in 26.6% of them secondary tears, not seen before surgical treatment, were detected. In conclusion, TEE allows a bedside, safe and accurate diagnosis and classification of aortic dissection. It also provides the diagnostic information necessary for the therapeutical decision making. Intraoperative TEE allows improvement in preoperatory diagnosis and gives important information for the management of the patient immediately after cardiopulmonary bypass and in the follow-up.


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