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Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi (Taipei). 2001 Aug;64(8):469-73.

Transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiographic diagnosis of aneurysm of the sinus of Valsalva: a review of five year experience.

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Division of Cardiology, Kaohsiung Veterans General Hospital, Taiwan, ROC.



Aneurysms of the sinus of Valsalva (SVA) are uncommon congenital lesions. The clinical presentations vary from asymptomatic to progressive heart failure following rupture of the aneurysm into an adjacent cardiac chamber. Retrograde aortogram is the diagnostic tool of choice preoperatively. Recent studies have demonstrated that the SVA can be accurately diagnosed using transthoracic two-dimensional, and color Doppler flow mapping, even for surgical preparation without cardiac catheterization. We report our 5-year experience of transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) and transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) in the evaluation of SVA.


Eleven adult patients with SVA with or without rupture were studied using both TTE and TEE. All of the diagnoses were subsequently comfirmed by either cardiac catheterization or surgical findings.


Aneurysms originated in the right coronary sinus (n = 9) and noncoronary sinus (n = 2); they ruptured into the right ventricle in 5 patients and the right atrium in 5 patients. An unruptured right SVA was noted in 1 patient. Both TTE and TEE could identify the site of the aneurysm, rupture sites, and the receiving chamber equally well. Co-existent cardiac lesions included 11 cases of valvular aortic regurgitation (mild in 7, moderate in 2 and severe in 2). Two cases of perimembranous type ventricular septal defect (VSD) and 6 cases of supracristal type VSD (including 1 case of tetraology of Fallot, 3 supracristal, 1 muscular and 1 subaortic) were noted. Three cases were complicated with valvular vegetations (1 aortic valve, 1 aortic and tricuspid valve and 1 aortic and pulmonic valve). One patient had patent ductus arteriosus and 2 patients had pulmonic valvular stenosis.


TEE provides clearer definition for the detailed anatomy of the ruptured sac and co-existent cardiac lesions than TTE through high resolution and closer approach. We conclude that TEE is a powerful complementary diagnostic tool in the evaluation of patients with SVA. TEE also provides additionally useful information for guiding the surgical approach and for assessing the operative results even without cardiac catheterization.

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