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J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2003 Jul;16(7):756-63.

Aberrant coronary arteries: a reliable echocardiographic screening method.

Author information

  • 1Section of Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, Saint Louis University School of Medicine/Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, St Louis, Missouri 63104, USA. jureidsb@slu.edu



Aberrant origin (ABO) of a coronary artery (CA) from the contralateral aortic sinus with a subsequent interarterial course is a life-threatening condition. It carries a 28% to 55% risk for a sudden coronary event or death, but there are no reliable screening methods.


We sought to determine whether imaging a cross section of a coronary segment in the anterior aortic wall on the long-axis view may be used as an echocardiographic screening sign for ABO CA.


The echocardiograms of all patients with ABO CA were evaluated for the screening sign and compared with those of age-matched control patients.


Between January 1989 and October 2002, we identified 8 patients with ABO CA (median age: 15 years). Of these patients, 4 were symptomatic and 4 were discovered incidentally. The electrocardiogram produced normal findings in 5 of 8 patients, maximal stress test produced normal findings in 5 of 6 patients, and thallium perfusion test produced negative results in 2 of 3 patients. There were 4 patients with ABO in the main left CA, 3 with ABO in the right CA, and 1 with ABO in the circumflex CA branch. The screening sign was readily visible in 7 of the 8 patients (88%), and all 7 of these patients had ABO in a main CA. Only in the ABO in the circumflex CA branch was the screening sign not detected. The 1743 control patients (median age: 14 years) showed normal anterior aortic wall, which was void of any CA segment. In 5 control patients (0.3%, P <.001) the normal right CA was visible on the long-axis view, but was not confused for a false-positive screening sign.


We concluded that the proposed screening sign for ABO CA is reliable and easily recognizable, and should prompt a comprehensive assessment of the CA.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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