Validation of two echocardiographic indexes to improve the diagnosis of complex coarctations

Mivelaz, Yvan ; Di Bernardo, Stefano ; Meijboom, Erik Jan ; Sekarski, Nicole

In: European Journal of Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, 2008, vol. 34, no. 5, p. 1051-1056

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    Objectives: Coarctation of the aorta is one of the most common congenital heart defects. Its diagnosis may be difficult in the presence of a patent ductus arteriosus, of other complex defects or of a poor echocardiographic window. We sought to demonstrate that the carotid-subclavian artery index (CSA index) and the isthmus-descending aorta ratio (I/D ratio), two recently described echocardiographic indexes, are effective in detection of isolated and complex aortic coarctations in children younger and older than 3 months of age. The CSA index is the ratio of the distal aortic arch diameter to the distance between the left carotid artery and the left subclavian artery. It is highly suggestive of a coarctation when it is ≪1.5. The I/D ratio defined as the diameter of the isthmus to the diameter of the descending aorta, suggests an aortic coarctation when it is less than 0.64. Methods: This is a retrospective cohort study in a tertiary care children's hospital. Review of all echocardiograms in children aged 0-18 years with a diagnosis of coarctation seen at the author's institution between 1996 and 2006. An age- and sex-matched control group without coarctation was constituted. Offline echocardiographic measurements of the aortic arch were performed in order to calculate the CSA index and I/D ratio. Results: Sixty-eight patients were included in the coarctation group, 24 in the control group. Patients with coarctation had a significantly lower CSA index (0.84±0.39 vs 2.65±0.82, p≪0.0001) and I/D ratio (0.58±0.18 vs 0.98±0.19, p≪0.0001) than patients in the control group. Associated cardiac defects and age of the child did not significantly alter the CSA index or the I/D ratio. Conclusions: A CSA index less than 1.5 is highly suggestive of coarctation independent of age and of the presence of other cardiac defects. I/D ratio alone is less specific than CSA alone at any age and for any associated cardiac lesion. The association of both indexes improves sensitivity and permits diagnosis of coarctation in all patients based solely on a bedside echocardiographic measurement