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J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2006 Dec;19(12):1511-9.

Illustration of the additional value of real-time 3-dimensional echocardiography to conventional transthoracic and transesophageal 2-dimensional echocardiography in imaging muscular ventricular septal defects: does this have any impact on individual patient treatment?

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  • 1Cardiac Center, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.



We sought to answer the question of whether the additional morphologic details obtained by real-time 3-dimensional (3D) echocardiographic (RT3DE) imaging of muscular ventricular septal defect (VSD) has any significant impact on treatment options of individual patient.


Muscular VSD can be safely and effectively closed by interventional catheterization procedure using VSD devices under transesophageal echocardiographic (TEE) guidance. Recent application of RT3DE has shown great promise for imaging VSD with better display of the exact geometry, size, and location of the defect.


Nineteen patients with different types of VSDs were imaged with RT3DE matrix-array transducer; there were 6 cases with muscular VSD. Based on standard transthoracic echocardiographic and TEE imaging, one patient was considered a good candidate for perventricular VSD device occlusion, three patients were considered for surgical closure, and in two patients no intervention was deemed necessary.


RT3DE successfully displayed the exact morphology of the VSD in all 6 patients, whereas transthoracic echocardiography and TEE showed the defect as a dropout with variable diameter in different views. Such planer images did not accurately predict the exact morphology in the patient in whom device occlusion was considered and the device embolized to the left ventricle in a few heartbeats. Surgical circular patch was used in two patients and primary suture was used in two patients in agreement with the 3D morphology. In two patients the 3D morphology of the VSD was small enough that no intervention was considered.


RT3DE imaging of muscular VSD can accurately display the exact geometry of the defect, which can have significant impact on treatment strategies of individual patients. This new imaging modality should be an important adjunct to the standard transthoracic echocardiographic and TEE imaging of these defect before any intervention.

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