Subxiphoid Cross-Sectional Echocardiography in Infants and Children with Congenital Heart Disease

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We developed anatomically related cross-sectional echocardiographic views to image the heart from the subxiphoid area in 100 children and infants with various forms of congenital heart disease studied prospectively before cardiac catheterization. Wide-angle cross-sectional views were achieved using a mechanical sector scanner in a scan plane oriented parallel to a line between the patient's shoulders (a coronal plane) showing the equivalent anatomy of an anteroposterior angiogram. The subxiphoid technique appeared to be better than chest wall-based imaging in demonstrating obstructive lesions in the proximal portion of the right ventricular outflow tract (19 patients), i.e., the subpulmonic area, which is often at the narrow edge of the sector and behind the transducer artifact in chest wall studies. The subxiphoid technique was also useful for imaging the interatrial and interventricular septae; in subxiphoid views, as opposed to four-chamber apical views, there was significantly less false septal dropout and atrial septal defects (19 patients) as well as ventricular septal aneurysms (seven patients) were easily imaged. Finally, the subxiphoid orientation provided more adequate imaging in patients with discrete diaphragmatic subaortic stenosis (four patients), even when the diaphragm was just beneath the aortic valve. Subxiphoid cross-sectional echocardiography is an easily understood anatomical format for imaging cross-sectional anatomy in congenital heart disease and is a valuable adjunct to cross-sectional echocardiography from the chest wall.

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