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Circulation. 1991 Jan;83(1):70-8.

Diagnosis of noninfective cardiac mass lesions by two-dimensional echocardiography. Comparison of the transthoracic and transesophageal approaches.

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Division of Cardiology, Hannover Medical School, FRG.


This study was conducted in 46 patients with cardiac thrombi, 15 patients with atrial myxomas, and 32 patients with other cardiac or paracardiac tumors. Diagnoses were subsequently proven by surgery, autopsy, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, or angiography in all patients. All patients underwent precordial and transesophageal two-dimensional echocardiography to assess the various mass detection rates. Atrial myxomas and predominantly left-sided cardiac tumors were identified by both echocardiographic techniques with comparable detection rates. Left ventricular apical thrombi were detected more frequently by precordial echocardiography. In contrast, transesophageal echocardiography was superior in visualizing left atrial appendage thrombi, small and flat thrombi in the left atrial cavity, thrombi and tumors in the superior vena cava, and masses attached to the right heart and the descending thoracic aorta. These data indicate that transesophageal echocardiography leads to a clinically relevant improvement of the diagnostic potential in patients in whom cardiac masses are suspected or have to be excluded in order to ensure the safety of clinical procedures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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