Apex echocardiography. A two-dimensional technique for evaluating congenital heart disease.
We have evaluated apex echocardiography, using an 80 degrees phased array sector scanner, in 368 patients with congenital heart disease. With the patient lying with the left side dependent, the transducer is placed over the apex of the heart and cross sectional images are obtained in the plane perpendicular to the cardiac septa and through the orifices of the mitral and tricuspid valves. In this view, the chambers are side by side and both atria and ventricles are separated by their respective septa and atrioventricular valves. Defects in the region of the septa can be detected. Congenital defects involving the atrioventricular valves, such as endocardial cushion defects, tricuspid atresia, and Ebstein's anomaly, can be defined. The location of the baffle after Mustard's operation for aortopulmonary transposition and intra-atrial structures, such as the membrance in cor triatriatum, can be seen. The position of the apex of the heart can be located in dextro, levo, or mesocardia by definition of the apex image. The relative size of the ventricular septum can be identified with the apex image. We have found this technique to be valuable in patients with congenital heart disease who are undergoing cross sectional echocardiography.
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