Introduction: Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) is the most common right-to-left shunt (RLS) and is often found in young patients with stroke related to paradoxical embolism. Contrast-Enhanced Transesophageal Echocardiography (TEE) is considered a gold standard to visualize PFO. Transcranial Doppler (TCD) with bubble test is often used to detect RLS with good correlation to TEE for the diagnostic of PFO. More recently, Transcranial Color Coded Sonography (TCCS) which included B-mode and color coded imaging has overcome TCD in many clinical applications but the accuracy of TCCS for detection of RLS and PFO has not been systematically evaluated.
Hypothesis: To determine if the TCCS is an accurate tool to identify both PFO and RLS.
Methods: We investigate 106 patients with ischemic stroke under 55 years-old admitted from 2012 to 2014 in a tertiary academic hospital. Patients were evaluated with TEE, TCD and TCCS, and all exams included a saline bubble test. The examiners were blinded for the other tests results. Kappa agreement was calculated inter-examiners for TCCS and TCD. Accuracy of TCCS was calculated in comparison to TEE.
Results: We detected a RLS in 54 (50.9%) patients (age mean 43.9 ± 8.2) with kappa agreement 0.92 (95%CI 0.78-1.0) when performed TCCS and TCD. TEE and TCSS were positive in 23/98 (23.4%) and TEE did not reveal contrast in 20/98 (20.4%). In 30 (28.3%) patients only TEE revealed a PFO. TCSS had a sensitivity of 88.4% (95%CI 0.68-0.97), specificity of 72.2% (95%CI 0.60-0.81) and positive likelihood ratio of 3.18 (2.14-4.73) of the diagnosis of PFO.
Conclusion: TCCS and TCD had an excellent agreement. TCCS has a good accuracy for the detection of PFO and RLS in young patients with stroke.