Orly Goitein, Yishay Salem, Jeffrey Jacobson, David Goitein, David Mishali, Ashraf Hamdan, Rafael Kuperstein, Elio Di Segni and Eli Konen
Background: Patients with complex congenital heart disease (CHD) have a high incidence of extracardiac vascular and non-vascular malformations. Those additional abnormalities may have an impact on the precise planning of surgical or non-surgical treatment.
Objectives: To assess the role of electrocardiography-gated CT-angiography (ECG-CTA) in the routine evaluation of CHD in neonates and infants particularly for the assessment of extracardiac findings.
Methods: The study cohort comprised 40 consecutive patients who underwent trans-thoracic echocardiography (TTE) and ECG-CTA. TTE and ECG-gated CTA findings regarding extracardiac vascular structures, coronary arteries and airways were compared with surgical or cardiac catheterization findings. Scans were evaluated for image quality using a subjective visual scale (from 1 to 4). Effective radiation dose was calculated for each scan.
Results: Median age was 28 ± 88 days and mean weight 3.7 ± 1.5 kg. Diagnostic quality was good or excellent (visual image score 3–4) in 39 of 40 scans (97.5%). ECG-CTA provided important additional information regarding extracardiac vascular structures and airway anatomy, complementing TTE in 75.6% of scans. Overall sensitivity of ECG-gated CTA for detecting extracardiac findings as compared with operative and cardiac catheterization findings was 97.6%. The calculated mean effective radiation dose was 1.4 ± 0.07 mSv (range 1.014–2.3 mSv).
Conclusions: ECG-CTA is an accurate modality for demonstrating extracardiac structures in complex CHD. It provides important complementary information to TTE regarding extracardiac vascular structures and coronary artery anatomy. This modality may obviate the need for invasive cardiac catheterization, thus exposing the patient to a much lower radiation dose.