Nine patients with obstruction of coronary artery blood flow caused by myocardial bridging underwent surgery after failure of medical treatment. The diagnoses were made angiographically at rest or during beta-stimulation. Impaired blood flow was found only in the left anterior descending artery in seven patients and additionally in the diagonal branch in two. The operations, performed with cardiopulmonary bypass consisted of complete dissection of the overlying myocardium. All patients survived the operation. Major intraoperative complications were accidental opening of the right ventricle in two patients. Postoperative scintigraphic and angiographic studies demonstrated restoration of coronary flow and myocardial perfusion without residual myocardial bridges under beta-stimulation. Surgical relief of myocardial ischemia due to systolic compression of intramyocardial coronary arteries can be accomplished with low operative risk and with excellent functional results.
Using the transesophageal approach the descending part of the aorta can be imaged by two-dimensional enchocardiography in cross sections comparable to computer tomograms. The value of combined transesophageal and transthoracic echocardiography was evaluated in 53 patients who were studied consecutively from 1983 to 1986 with symptoms of aortic dissection and compared with computed tomography, angiography, surgery and/or autopsy. In all patients the transthoracic aorta could be visualized and the dissection could be classified according to DeBakey: in 9 of 29 patients (34%) type I dissection, in 4 (14%) type II dissection and in 16 (55%) type III dissection was found. Operation was carried out because of acute symptoms in 11 of the 29 patients, and 3 additional patients died before operation. In 24 patients aortic dissection could be ruled out. A sensitivity of 97% for transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography, of 80% for computed tomography and of 78% for angiography was calculated. The specificity for echocardiography was 100%, for computed tomography 100% and for angiography 95%. The positive predictive accuracy for echocardiography and computed tomography was 100% and 95% for angiography. The negative predictive accuracy for echocardiography was 96%, for computed tomography 77% and for angiography 79%. In no patient was an aortic dissection found by computed tomography or angiography which was not detected by echocardiography. In 1 patient with a large ectasia of the aorta ascendens aortic dissection was overlooked as retrospective analysis demonstrated. Signs of aortic insufficiency and pericardial effusion were detected.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
In a prospective study, the clinical value of transoesophageal two-dimensional echocardiography (TOE) as compared with transthoracic two-dimensional echocardiography (TTE) was determined in patients with suspected infective endocarditis. Ninety-six patients were studied consecutively with an electronic sector scanner using 2.25 and 3.5 MHz probes for TTE and a 3.5 MHz probe embedded in tip of a flexible 12 mm gastroscope for TOE. Results of surgery and autopsy were available for 20 of the 96 patients with infective endocarditis and echocardiographically demonstrated vegetations and 70 control patients with valvular heart disease without infective endocarditis and no signs of vegetations, who were studied preoperatively with TTE and TOE. For TTE and TOE, the measured sensitivity was 63% and 100%, specificity 98% and 98%, positive predictive accuracy 92% and 95%, and negative predictive accuracy 91% and 100%, respectively. In 39 patients who had positive blood cultures, vegetations were found by TOE in 32 patients (82%), but in only 27 patients (69%) by TTE. Image quality was the main factor contributing to the superiority of TOE over TTE: it was reduced in 11/20 patients (55%) in whom vegetations were not detected by TTE. Another important factor was the size of vegetations. Only 6/24 vegetations (25%) of less than 5 mm but 9/13 vegetations of 6-10 mm, and 14/14 vegetations of greater than 11 mm detected by TOE were also observed with TTE. The clinical importance of detecting vegetations was demonstrated by the rate of embolism. In patients with vegetations embolism was 25% when blood cultures were positive and 21% when they were negative. In patients without echocardiographically detectable vegetations signs of embolism were seen in no patient with positive and 7% of the patients with negative blood cultures. Evidence of vegetations was found on the aortic valve in 14 patients and on the mitral valve in seven patients in whom valvular incompetence was not present, indicating that the valve had not yet been damaged significantly. TOE is superior to TTE in detecting vegetations in suspected infective endocarditis because of better image quality, particularly when vegetations are small. TOE seems to be indicated in patients with suspected endocarditis and reduced image quality or negative TTE results. Early detection of vegetations on valves may help confirm the diagnosis of infective endocarditis at an early stage and hopefully lead to an improved prognosis by reducing delay in instituting appropriate therapy.
Following cardiac surgery, electrocardiography and creatine kinase isoenzyme MB (CK-MB) activities are of limited value in diagnosing a non-transmural infarction. With the recent availability of an assay to detect serial levels of the specific cardiocyte contractile protein troponin T the possibility has been increased of closing a diagnostic gap among cardiosurgical patients. Ninety patients with severe diffuse three-vessel disease undergoing myocardial revascularization were grouped by their postoperative electrocardiographic (ECG) findings (group I--unchanged ECG; group II--new Q-waves representing perioperative myocardial infarction (PMI)). Serial levels of troponin T and the activity of CK-MB were measured 6, 12, 24 and 48 h after aortic unclamping. The course of CK-MB activity was compared to a profile and values derived from patients with unchanged (n = 1312) or new Q-wave ECGS (n = 89). In 72 patients (80.0%) with unchanged postoperative ECG (group I) serial troponin T levels remained constantly low and reached a median peak value of 0.37 microgram/l (quartile 0.13-0.50 microgram/l) after 24 h. Serial CK-MB activities demonstrated the typical non-ischemic course with a monoexponential decline from an initial median peak value of 15.5 U/l (quartile 12.0-21.0 U/l) to 7.0 U/l (quartile 6.0-9.0 U/l). In seven patients (7.8%) with new Q-waves and a pathologic CK-MB profile (group II) troponin T reached median levels of 10.47 micrograms/l (quartile 6.34-12.50 micrograms/l) (P < 0.001 I vs II). Four of five patients with a new right bundle branch block demonstrated low troponin T levels below 1 microgram/l and a normal CK-MB profile. Among six patients with unchanged QRS-configuration and elevated troponin T levels between 0.84 and 4.99 micrograms/l CK-MB activity showed a characteristic PMI pattern in two patients. Troponin T is characterized by a very narrow margin of normal values represented by a maximum third quartile of 0.50 microgram/l. A singular value of troponin after 6 h or 24 h may be sufficient evidence to confirm the diagnosis of a PMI.
Primary tumours of the pulmonary arteries are rare neoplasms seldom diagnosed during the patient's life time. We report on two cases of pulmonary artery sarcomas diagnosed during life time of the respective patients in intra-operative frozen sections by histopathological examination. Case 1 was of a 55-year-old man with a fibrosarcoma originating from the main pulmonary trunk. Case 2 was of a 43-year-old woman with a malignant fibrous histiocytoma originating from the right pulmonary artery. In both patients a radical tumour resection under cardiopulmonary bypass was attempted. Both patients, however, had a local tumour recurrence and died 18 months (patient 1) and 6 months (patient 2) after surgery. A review of pulmonary artery sarcomas is given.
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