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Dynamic morphology of the secundum atrial septal defect evaluated by three dimensional transoesophageal echocardiography
  1. Y V Maenoa,
  2. L N Bensona,
  3. P R McLaughlinb,
  4. C Boutina
  1. aDivision of Cardiology, The Variety Club Cardiac Catheterization Laboratories, The Hospital for Sick Children, the University of Toronto School of Medicine, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, bDivision of Cardiology, The Toronto Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Dr Christine Boutin, Division of Cardiology, Hôpital Sainte-Justine, 3175 Chemin Côte Sainte-Catherine, Montréal, Québec H3T IC5, Canada


OBJECTIVE To define by three dimensional echocardiography the pattern and potential determinants of contraction of a secundum atrial septal defect through the cardiac cycle, and to evaluate the possibility of using cross sectional transthoracic and transoesophageal imaging to assess the dynamic nature of the defect.

DESIGN Three dimensional echocardiography was performed using a multiplane transoesophageal probe on 50 patients with a secundum atrial septal defect (median age 9.8 years). Nine patients were excluded because of poor images or morphological features that precluded defect measurement. In 41 cases, defect area, long and short axis length, and distance of the attenuated anterior rim were measured in their largest and smallest dimensions.

RESULTS Defect area changed significantly through the cardiac cycle (mean change 61%, p < 0.0001; range 17% to 86%). The defect contracted symmetrically and was not related to patient age, defect size, heart rate, Qp/Qs ratio, the presence of an aneurysmal atrial septum, or attenuated anterior rim. In all cases with an attenuated anterior rim (n = 13), the length of the rim significantly decreased (p = 0.001) during atrial systole. Dynamic changes measured by either transthoracic or transoesophageal cross sectional images did not correlate with those obtained by three dimensional imaging.

CONCLUSIONS Three dimensional echocardiography shows dynamic features of defects in the atrial septum. This information may lead to an improved understanding of the pathophysiology of atrial shunting.

  • echocardiography
  • atrial septal defect
  • congenital heart disease

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