The role of intraoperative two-dimensional echocardiography is discussed in 15 consecutive patients with thoracic aorta pathology undergoing cardiac surgery. A 5 MHz mechanical scanner was used before and immediately after cardiopulmonary bypass. In 5 patients intraoperative two-dimensional studies revealed crucial morphologic information which, consequently, had a marked influence on their planned surgical procedure. In 3 patients the findings provided additional information whereas in the remaining patients the intraoperative echocardiographic findings confirmed the preoperative diagnosis. Following surgery the adequacy of cardiac repair was assessed and, in one patient, epicardial echocardiography indicated the necessity for reoperation. The application of intraoperative two-dimensional echocardiography leads to a better understanding of the pathology involved and facilitates a more appropriate decision concerning the surgical procedure.
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