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עמוד בית
Tue, 18.06.24

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October 2011
September 2011
D.A. Galvan, K. Matsushima and H.L. Frankel

Ultrasonography in the intensive care unit (ICU) has become a valuable tool for expeditiously, safely and effectively diagnosing and treating a myriad of conditions commonly encountered in this setting. Most surgeons are familiar with FAST (focused assessment with sonography in trauma) and can readily grasp the fundamentals of a limited or directed ultrasonographic exam. Thus, with appropriate training and practice, surgeons can utilize this tool in visualizing, characterizing and treating life-threatening conditions in their role as intensivists in the surgical ICU (SICU). In this review we will discuss the role of ultrasonography in evaluating the acute cardiac status of a patient in the SICU as well as its use in general critical care for assessing the thoracic, abdominal and vascular systems.

October 2010
A. Blatt, R. Svirski, G. Morawsky, N. Uriel, O. Neeman, D. Sherman, Z. Vered and R. Krakover

Background: Little is known of the outcome of pregnant patients with previously diagnosed dilated cardiomyopathy. These patients are usually firmly advised against continuation of the pregnancy.

Objectives: To examine the usefulness of serial echocardiographic follow-up and plasma N-terminal pro-B type natriuretic peptide levels in the management of pregnant women with preexisting DCM[1].

Methods: We prospectively enrolled pregnant women with DCM either known or diagnosed in the first trimester. Clinical examination and serial echocardiography studies at baseline, 30 weeks gestation, peripartum, and 3 and 18 months postpartum were performed. Blinded NTproBNP[2] levels were obtained at 30 weeks, delivery and 3 months postpartum.

Results: Between June 2005 and October 2006 we enrolled seven women who fulfilled the study criteria. Delivery and postpartum were complicated in 3 patients (42%): 2 with acute heart failure, which resolved conservatively, and 1 with major pulmonary embolism. The left ventricular ejection fraction was stable throughout the pregnancy (35% ± 2.8 at baseline, 33% ± 2.9 at 30 weeks) and postpartum (35% ± 2.8 at 1 day, 34% ± 3.1 at 90 days). Similar stable behavior was observed regarding left ventricular dimensions: LV[3] end-systolic diameters 43.3 ± 2.7 mm and LV end-diastolic diameters 57.3 ± 3.3 mm at baseline compared with 44.1 ± 3.1 mm and 58.7 ± 3.1 mm postpartum, respectively. The NT-ProBNP levels rose significantly peripartum in all three patients with complications.

Conclusions: Serial NT-proBNP levels, as compared to echocardiography, may be a better clinical tool in monitoring and management of pregnant women with preexisting DCM. An early rise in NT-ProBNP level appears to predict the occurrence of adverse events.

[1] DCM = dilated cardiomyopathy

[2] NTproBNP = N-terminal pro-B type natriuretic peptide

[3] LV = left ventricular

September 2010
D. Mutlak, D. Aronson, J. Lessick, S.A. Reisner, S. Dabbah and Y. Agmon

Background: Trans-aortic pressure gradient in patients with aortic stenosis and left ventricular systolic dysfunction is typically low but occasionally high.

Objectives: To examine the distribution of trans-aortic PG[1] in patients with severe AS[2] and severe LV[3] dysfunction and compare the clinical and echocardiographic characteristics and outcome of patients with high versus low PG.

Methods: Using the echocardiographic laboratory database at our institution, 72 patients with severe AS (aortic valve area ≤ 1.0 cm2) and severe LV dysfunction (LV ejection fraction ≤ 30%) were identified. The characteristics and outcome of these patients were compared.

Results: PG was high (mean PG ≥ 35 mmHg) in 32 patients (44.4%) and low (< 35 mmHg) in 40 (55.6%). Aortic valve area was slightly smaller in patients with high PG (0.63 ± 0.15 vs. 0.75 ± 0.16 cm2 in patients with low PG, P = 0.003), and LV ejection fraction was slightly higher in patients with high PG (26 ± 5 vs. 22 ± 5% in patients with low PG, P = 0.005). During a median follow-up period of 9 months 14 patients (19%) underwent aortic valve replacement and 46 patients (64%) died. Aortic valve replacement was associated with lower mortality (age and gender-adjusted hazard ratio 0.19, 95% confidence interval 0.05–0.82), whereas trans-aortic PG was not (P = 0.41).

Conclusions: A large proportion of patients with severe AS have relatively high trans-aortic PG despite severe LV dysfunction, a finding partially related to more severe AS and better LV function. Trans-aortic PG is not related to outcome in these patients.

[1] PG = pressure gradient

[2] AAS = aortic stenosis

[3] LV = left ventricular

June 2010
R. Beigel, D. Oieru, O. Goitein, P. Chouraqui, M.S. Feinberg, S. Brosh, E. Asher, E. Konen, A. Shamiss, M. Eldar, H. Hod, J. Or and S. Matetzky

Background: Many patients present to the emergency department with chest pain. While in most of them chest pain represents a benign complaint, in some patients it underlies a life-threatening illness.

Objectives: To assess the routine evaluation of patients presenting to the ED[1] with acute chest pain via the utilization of a cardiologist-based chest pain unit using different non-invasive imaging modalities.

Methods: We evaluated the records of 1055 consecutive patients who presented to the ED with complaints of chest pain and were admitted to the CPU[2]. After an observation period and according to the decision of the attending cardiologist, patients underwent myocardial perfusion scintigraphy, multidetector computed tomography, or stress echocardiography.

Results: The CPU attending cardiologist did not prescribe non-invasive evaluation for 108 of the 1055 patients, who were either admitted (58 patients) or discharged (50 patients) after an observation period. Of those remaining, 445 patients underwent MDCT[3], 444 MPS[4], and 58 stress echocardiography. Altogether, 907 patients (86%) were discharged from the CPU. During an average period of 236 ± 223 days, 25 patients (3.1%) were readmitted due to chest pain of suspected cardiac origin, and only 8 patients (0.9%) suffered a major adverse cardiovascular event.

Conclusions: Utilization of the CPU enabled a rapid and thorough evaluation of the patients’ primary complaint, thereby reducing hospitalization costs and occupancy on the one hand and avoiding misdiagnosis in discharged patients on the other.


[1] ED = emergency department

[2] CPU = chest pain unit

[3] MDCT = multidetector computed tomography

[4] MPS = myocardial perfusion scintigraphy

January 2010
M. Godfrey, M.S. Schimmel, C. Hammerman, B. Farber, J. Glaser and A. Nir

Background: The incidence of congenital heart defects, reported to be 5–8/1000 in term infants, is not well established in very low birth weight infants.

Objectives: To establish the incidence of congenital heart defects in VLBW[1] infants in the neonatal intensive care unit of our institution.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of the population in the NICU[2] at our institution was performed. VLBW (BW ≤ 1500 g) infants born between 2001 and 2006 who survived more than 48 hours were included in the study. Infants with clinical signs of heart disease underwent echocardiography.

Results: During the study period 437 VLBW live-born infants met the inclusion criteria. Of these, 281 (64.3 %) underwent echocardiography. CHD[3] was detected in 19 infants (4.4%, 95% confidence interval 2.4–5.4%), significantly higher than the incidence of 5–8/1000 in the general population (P < 0.0001). In the subgroup of 154 infants with BW < 1000 g there were 10 (6.5%) with CHD. In the subgroup of 283 infants with BW 100–-1500 g there were 9 (3.2 %, P = 0.19 vs. VLBW) with CHD.

Conclusions:  Our observations show an increased incidence of CHD in VLBW neonates, as compared to the general population. Since not all infants underwent echocardiography, and minor cardiac defects may have been missed in our VLBW infants, the true incidence may be higher than reported here.


[1] VLBW = very low birth weight

[2] NICU = neonatal intensive care unit

[3] CHD = congenital heart disease

September 2009
R. Sharony, M.D. Fejgin, T. Biron-Shental, A. Hershko-Klement, A. Amiel and A. Lev

Background: Although the comprehensive evaluation of the fetal heart includes echocardiography by an experienced pediatric cardiologist, economic constraints sometimes dictate the need to select patients.

Objectives: To analyze the usefulness of fetal echocardiography in the detection of congenital heart disease according to the referral indication.

Methods: This retrospective survey relates to all 3965 FE studies performed in our center from January 2000 to December 2004. The diagnosed cardiac anomalies were classified as significant and non-significant malformations. All FE[1] studies were done by a single operator (A.L.) at Meir Medical Center, a referral center for a population of about 400,000. The 3965 FE studies were performed for the following indications: abnormal obstetric ultrasound scans, maternal and family history of cardiac malformations, medication use during the pregnancy, and maternal request. The relative risk of detecting CHD[2] was calculated according to the various referral indications.

Results: Overall, 228 (5.8%) cases of CHD were found. The most common indication for referral was suspicion of CHD during a four-chamber view scan in a basic system survey or during a level II ultrasound survey. No correlation was found between maternal age and gestational age at the time of scanning and the likelihood of finding CHD.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that a suspicious level-II ultrasound or the presence of polyhydramnios is an important indication for FE in the detection of significant CHD.


[1][1] FE = fetal echocardiography

[2] CHD = congenital heart disease

September 2008
G. Izbicki, G. Fink, A. Algom, R. Hirsch, L. Blieden, E. Klainman, E. Picard, S. Goldberg and M. R. Kramer

Background: Since surgical repair of tetralogy of Fallot was introduced, follow-up studies have shown that the majority of patients lead actives lives and have no subjective exercise limitation.

Objectives: To examine lung function, cardiopulmonary functional capacity and echo-Doppler assessment of pulmonary pressure in adult patients 20 years after repair of TOF.

Methods: Unselected consecutive patients performed full lung function testing, progressive cardiopulmonary exercise, and echo-Doppler assessments of pulmonary pressure.

Results: Fifty consecutive patients (33 men, 17 women) aged 29 ± 11 years who underwent surgical repair of TOF at age 10.1 ± 10.9 years were enrolled in this study. Patients after TOF showed no restriction (forced expiratory vital capacity 80%, total lung capacity 91%) and had normal oxygen saturation (97%) and 6 minute walking distance (600 meters). Echocardiography showed normal pulmonary pressure and left ventricular ejection function (62%). Cardiopulmonary exercise testing showed mild limitation of exercise capacity with oxygen uptake at maximal effort of 75–78% predicted.

Conclusions: After corrections of TOF the study patients had normal lung function and pulmonary arterial pressure but mild limitation in their exercise capacity.

July 2007
S.Atar, K.Tolstrup, B.Cercek, and R.J. Siegel.

Background: Chlamydia pneumoniae has previously been associated with higher prevalence of valvular and cardiac calcifications.

Objectives: To investigate a possible association of seropositivity for C. pneumoniae and the presence of cardiac calcifications (mitral annular or aortic root calcification, and aortic valve sclerosis).

Methods: We retrospectively analyzed serological data (immunoglobulin G TWAR antibodies) from the AZACS trial (Azithromycin in Acute Coronary Syndromes), and correlated the serological findings according to titer levels with the presence of cardiac calcifications as detected by transthoracic echocardiography.

Results: In 271 patients, age 69 ± 13 years, who underwent both serological and echocardiographic evaluation, we found no significant association between the "calcification sum score" (on a scale of 0–3) in seropositive compared to seronegative patients (1.56 ± 1.15 vs.1.35 ± 1.15, respectively, P = 0.26). The median "calcification sum score" was 1 (interquartile range 0–3) for the seronegative group, and 2 (interquartile range 0–3) for the seropositive group (P = 0.2757). In addition, we did not find a significant correlation of any of the individual sites of cardiac calcification and Chlamydia pneumoniae seropositivity.

Conclusion: Our findings suggest that past C. pneumoniae infection may not be associated with the pathogenesis of valvular and cardiac calcifications.

April 2007
A. Shiran, S. Adawi, I. Dobrecky-Mery, D. A. Halon, and Basil S. Lewis

Background: Echocardiographic ventricular function predicts prognosis and guides management in patients with acute coronary syndromes. In elderly patients, interpretation of echocardiographic measurements may be difficult, especially regarding assessment of diastolic left ventricular function.

Objectives: To examine the usefulness of echocardiographic systolic and echocardiographic diastolic LV[1] function measurements as predictors of long-term outcome in elderly patients with ACS[2].

Methods: We studied 142 consecutive elderly patients (≥ 70 years old, mean age 80 ± 6 years) with ACS who had an echocardiogram at index hospitalization and were in sinus rhythm. LV ejection fraction and diastolic mitral inflow pattern were examined as predictors of survival and repeat hospitalization over a period of 18–24 months.

Results: During the 2 year mean follow-up period 35/142 patients died (25%). Survival was lower in patients with EF[3] < 40% (n=42) as compared to EF ≥ 40% (n=100) (2 year survival rate 61% vs. 81%, P = 0.038). Patients with severe diastolic dysfunction (a restrictive LV filling pattern, n=7) had a lower survival rate than those without (43 vs. 76%, P = 0.009). The most powerful independent predictor of mortality was a restrictive filling pattern (hazard ratio 4.6, 95% confidence interval 1.6–13.5), followed by a clinical diagnosis of heart failure on admission and older age. Rate of survival free of repeat hospitalization was low (33% at 18 months) but repeat hospitalization was not predicted either by EF or by a restrictive filling pattern.

Conclusions: As in the young, echocardiographic measurements of systolic and diastolic LV function predicted long-term survival in elderly patients with ACS. A restrictive filling pattern was the strongest independent predictor of mortality.


[1] LV = left ventricular

[2] ACS = acute coronary syndromes

[3] EF = ejection fraction

Y. Shapira, D. E. Weisenberg, M. Vaturi, E. Sharoni, E. Raanani, G. Sahar, B. A. Vidne, A. Battler and A. Sagie

Backgound: The use of intraoperative transesophageal echocardiogram in patients with infective endocarditis is usually reserved for cases of inadequate preoperative testing or suspected extension to perivalvular tissue.

Objectives: To explore the impact of routine intraoperative TEE[1] in patients with infective endocarditis.

Methods: The impact of intraoperative TEE on the operative plan, anatomic-physiologic results, and hemodynamic assessment or de-airing was analyzed in 59 patients (38 males, 21 females, mean age 57.7 ± 16.8 years, range 20–82) operated for active infective endocarditis over 56 months.

Results: Immediate pre-pump echocardiography was available in 52 operations (86.7%), and changed the operative plan in 6 of them (11.5%). Immediate post-pump study was available in 59 patients (98.3%) and accounted for second pump-run in 6 (10.2%): perivalvular leak (3 cases), and immobilized leaflet, significant mitral regurgitation following vegetectomy, and failing right ventricle requiring addition of vein graft (1 case each). Prolonged de-airing was necessary in 6 patients (10.2%). In 5 patients (8.5%) the postoperative study aided in the evaluation and treatment of difficult weaning from the cardiopulmonary bypass pump. In 21 patients (35.6%) the application of intraoperative TEE affected at least one of the four pre-specified parameters.
Conclusions: Intraoperative TEE has an important role in surgery for infective endocarditis and should be routinely implemented

[1] TEE = transesophageal echocardiogram

July 2005
G.P. Georghiou, Y. Shapira, A. Tobar, B.A. Vidne and G. Sahar
March 2005
M. Leitman, E. Peleg, R. Krakover, E. Sucher, S. Rosenblath, R. Zaidentstein and Z. Vered
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