Three-dimensional transesophageal echocardiographic evaluation of aortic plaque after cerebrovascular event.
Rodrigues AC., Silva GS., Monaco CG., Costa RCPL., Piveta RB., Fischer CH., Lira-Filho EB., Morhy SS., Campos Vieira ML.
INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES: Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is crucial in order to assess aortic anatomy after stroke. Although routinely used to assess cardiovascular anatomy and function, three-dimensional echocardiography (3D TEE) is less used for aortic evaluation. We thus sought to assess prospectively whether additional information on aortic plaque morphology could be obtained with 3D TEE after an ischemic stroke. METHODS: Patients within one week of a stroke (confirmed by brain computed tomography/magnetic resonance) underwent TEE and 3D findings were compared with two-dimensional (2D) (aorta plaque number, dimensions, area and the presence of debris and ulcerations). Patients were followed for two years for death or a new stroke. RESULTS: We assessed 78 patients, 43 (55%) male, aged 62±14 years old, 92% in sinus rhythm. Aortic atheroma was found mainly in the descending aorta (50%); plaque thickness was similar for 2D TEE (0.29±0.03 cm) and 3D TEE (0.29±0.04 cm), whereas plaque area was slightly increased for 3D measurements (0.24±0.02 cm2 versus 0.37±0.03 cm2 respectively, p<0.05), with a strong correlation found both for aortic plaque thickness (r=0.91) and area (r=0.80) measurements. While aortic debris were equally seen with both techniques, 3D TEE defines the presence of ulcerations (six ulcerations unseen with 2D TEE better, p=0.03). There were 11 events (six deaths and five new strokes) during follow-up, unrelated to plaque characteristics. CONCLUSION: To evaluate aortic plaque morphology, 3D TEE is superior to 2D TEE due to improved detection of ulcerated aortic plaque; this might provide additional information in patients after ischemic stroke.