Impact of valvular calcification on the diagnostic accuracy of transesophageal echocardiography for the detection of congenital aortic valve malformation.
BACKGROUND: Degeneration of congenital bicuspid or unicuspid aortic valves can progress more rapidly than that of tricuspid valves, and an early diagnosis significantly impacts decision making and outcome. We hypothesized that the extent of valvular calcification would negatively influence the diagnostic accuracy of multiplane transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) for the diagnosis of congenital aortic valve disease. METHODS: TEE was performed in 57 patients undergoing aortic valve replacement surgery for aortic stenosis (n = 46), pure regurgitation (n = 9), or significant regurgitation with less than severe aortic stenosis (n = 2). The degree of aortic valve calcification and the number of valve cusps were determined at surgery. RESULTS: Surgical inspection confirmed 14 bicuspid and 43 tricuspid aortic valves. Sensitivity and specificity of TEE for the diagnosis of congenital aortic valve malformation was 93% (13/14) and 91% (39/43) (P = 0.0001), respectively. In patients with no or mild aortic valve calcification (n = 13), sensitivity and specificity of TEE for the diagnosis of congenitally malformed aortic valve was 100% (5/5) and 100% (8/8) (P = 0.001), respectively. In patients with moderate or marked aortic valve calcification (n = 44), sensitivity and specificity of TEE for the diagnosis of congenitally malformed aortic valve was 89% (8/9) and 89% (31/35) (P<0.0001), respectively. In this subgroup of 44 patients, there were four false-positive and one false-negative diagnoses due to valvular calcification. CONCLUSIONS: Although TEE is highly sensitive and specific for the detection of congenital aortic valve malformations, presence of moderate or marked calcification of the aortic valve may result in false positive and false negative diagnoses.
Makkar, A; Siddiqui, TS; Stoddard, MF; Lewis, RK; Dawn, B
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