The role of contrast enhanced transesophageal echocardiography in the diagnosis and in the morphological and functional characterization of acute aortic syndromes

Eustachio Agricola, Massimo Slavich, Luca Bertoglio, Andrea Fisicaro, Michele Oppizzi, Enrico Marone, Germano Melissano, Vincenzo Tufaro, Alberto Margonato, Roberto Chiesa

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The aim of this study is to evaluate the role of contrast transesophageal echocardiography (cTEE) in the diagnostic characterization of acute aortic syndromes (AAS) [aortic dissection, intramural hematoma, penetrating ulcer]. We enrolled 66 non-consecutive patients with clinical suspicion of AAS. Standard transesophageal echocardiography and cTEE were performed prior to gated-CT angiography, which has been assumed as reference standard. cTEE was obtained with a single bolus of contrast agent injection. The definitive diagnosis of AAS was made in 48 patients by gated-CT angiography: 22 aortic dissections, 15 intramural hematomas and 11 penetrating aortic ulcers. Standard TEE and cTEE correctly diagnosed AAS in 87 and 100% (P = 0.03) cases respectively. Standard TEE correctly diagnosed aortic dissection in 20/22 (91%) and cTEE in 22/22 (100%) ( P = 0.5) cases. cTEE was superior than standard TEE in the visualization of false lumen entry tear (22/22 vs. 16/22, P = 0.03). Standard TEE correctly diagnosed intramural hematoma in 11/15 and cTEE 15/15 (P = 0.12) cases. Microtears were identified in 3 patients by cTEE an in 1 patient by standard TEE (P = 0.4). The presence of focal contrast enhancement was identified in 4 and 0 patients by cTEE and standard TEE respectively (P = 0.06). Both standard and cTEE correctly diagnosed penetrating aortic ulcer in 11/11 (100%) (P = 1.0) cases. cTEE provides additional value over standard TEE in the diagnosis and in the anatomic and functional characterization of AAS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Acute aortic syndromes
  • Aortic dissection
  • Contrast echocardiography
  • Transesophageal echocardiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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