Transesophageal echocardiographic diagnosis of right to left shunting across the foramen ovale in adults without prior stroke

Eric K. Louie, Steven N. Konstadt, Tadikonda L.K. Rao, Patrick J. Scanlon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives. The purpose of the study was to estimate the prevalence of potential right to left interatrial shunting and to quantify the morphologic characteristics of the fossa ovalis in adults without a prior history of stroke or systemic embolism. Background. Paradoxic embolization through a patent foramen ovale is an important cardiac mechanism for embolic stroke. Although anatomic and physiologic data obtained by transesophageal echocardiography increase the frequency of demonstration of potential cardiac sources of systemic embolism and occasionally can conclusively demonstrate the mechanism for embolic stroke, the prevalence and prognostic implications of these findings in neurotogically healthy persons are still being actively investigated. Methods. Intraoperative transesophageal saline contrast echocardiography was performed on 50 adult patients without prior history of stroke or systemic embolism who were undergoing elective cardiovascular surgery. Results. No patient had a manifest atrial septal defect by right heart oximetric measurements or transesophageal Doppler echocardiographic examination. Eleven of the 50 patients demonstrated right to left atrial passage of saline contrast medium during apnea or alter release of 20-cm H2O positive airway pressure, signifying patency of the foramen ovale. These 11 patients with a patent foramen ovate had increased total excursion of the flap valve (septum primum) of the fossa ovalis (1.3 ±0.7 cm) compared with findings in the 39 patients without a patent foramen ovate (0.3± 0.5 cm, p < 0.601). All patients with a patent foramen ovate exhibited some mobility of the septum primum and 73% of these patients had 1&#x0306; cm total excursion of the septum primum. In contrast, 56% of patients without a patent foramen ovale exhibited no motion of the septum primum out of the plane of the atrial septum. The maximal diameter of the fossa ovalis was greater in patients with (1.4 ± 0.4 cm) than in patients without (1.0 ± 0.3 cm, p < 0.003) a patent foramen ovale. Conclusions. Hypermobility of the septum primum and enlargement of the fossa ovalis are morphologic findings that occur in the presence of a patent foramen ovale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1231-1237
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Volume21
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1993
Externally publishedYes

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