An Evaluation of the Left Atrial/Aortic Root Ratio in Children with Ventricular Septal Defect

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Echocardiograms were performed in 80 infants and children with isolated ventricular septal defect (VSD) who underwent cardiac catheterization. The pulmonary-to-systemic flow ratio (Qp/Qs) was correlated with the echocardiographic left atrial-to-aortic root diameter ratio (LA/Ao), and a relatively poor correlation (r = 0.62) was found.

The end-systolic diameters of the left atrium and aorta at the level of the aortic root, obtained from lateral cineangiograms of 55 of the 80 patients, were compared with the corresponding echocardiographic dimensions. To assess the possible effect of transducer beam angulation upon the echocardiographic determinations, the angiographic measurements were made at 00 position (perpendicular to the frontal plane) and at angles of 50, 100, 15%deg; and 200 from zero, using the aortic root center as the point of intersection. The echocardiographic and angiographic aortic root measurements were comparable (r = 0.95), and the angiographically derived aortic diameter did not vary with different angle projections. However, the left atrial angiographic dimensions were significantly influenced by the angle of projection. We conclude that the echocardiographic LA/Ao ratio cannot reliably estimate the severity of the shunt flow in VSD.

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