Ambulatory follow-up of aortic dissection by transesophageal two-dimensional and color-coded Doppler echocardiography.
Follow-up of 18 patients with aortic dissection (five with type I, one with type II, 11 with type III dissection according to DeBakey) by transesophageal, two-dimensional and color-coded Doppler echocardiography showed a persistence of the false lumen in five of seven patients (71%) after surgery and in nine of 11 patients (82%) after medical therapy. In two patients treated with surgery, the dissected part of the aorta had been resected, whereas in two patients treated medically, a progressive and complete obliteration of the false lumen was observed. In the false lumen, thrombus formation was absent in four, localized in four, and progressive in six patients. Flow within the false lumen could be registered in 14 patients, and two distinct flow patterns were differentiated (laminar biphasic flow or slowly circulating flow). Persisting intimal tears were visualized by two-dimensional echocardiography in four patients, whereas color-coded Doppler showed an additional one to three intimal tears in the descending aorta in 10 patients. Flow across these intimal tears was biphasic in 75% of patients; that is, systolic flow was directed from the true to the false lumen with diastolic flow reversal. Unidirectional flow was detected in 25% of the communications, directed in 20% from the true to the false lumen, serving as an entry only and in one (5%) as reentry only. Additional information concerning complications like extension of the dissection (one of 18 patients), localized dilatation of the regurgitation (three of 18 patients) were detected by this method. Concerning the morphologic findings and the detection of flow characteristics, the transesophageal approach was superior to conventional echocardiography especially in the descending thoracic aorta. Thus, transesophageal two-dimensional and color-coded Doppler echocardiography seems to be an ideal method not only for the easy detection of aortic dissection but also for follow-up.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association