A postoperative left ventricular-right atrial shunt due to infectious endocarditis after aortic repair with aortic valve replacement detected by transesophageal echocardiography
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Infectious endocarditis (IE) with acute heart failure is a medical emergency. In particular, postoperative IE after aortic repair with an artificial vascular graft is a life-threatening matter. We present a case in which a mobile abscess appeared on the aortic valve annulus with an intra-cardiac shunt in the left ventricle (LV) to the right atrium (RA) after ascending aortic repair with aortic valve replacement (AVR) for acute type A aortic dissection. It was diagnosed with transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), which prompted further exploration.
KeywordsAortic Valve Infective Endocarditis Aortic Dissection Acute Heart Failure Right Atrium
Left coronary cusp of the aortic valve
Noncoronary cusp of the aortic valve
Right coronary cusp of the aortic valve
Intra-cardiac shunts in the left ventricle (LV) to the right atrium (RA) are mostly congenital . Similar acquired shunts are reported as follows: chest trauma, mitral and aortic valve replacement, or infectious endocarditis (IE) [2, 3]. In particular, intra-cardiac shunts with periannular abscesses related to IE have been reported in 14 % of patients after prosthetic valve replacement . We present a case in which a mobile abscess appeared on the aortic valve annulus with an intra-cardiac shunt in the LV to the RA after ascending aortic repair with aortic valve replacement (AVR) for acute type A aortic dissection. It was diagnosed with transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), which prompted further exploration.
After the patient complained of the abnormality, the authors firstly inserted the PAC to evaluate the cardiac function. This revealed abnormal increased mixed venous blood oxygen saturation. Among many causes of increased mixed venous blood oxygen saturation, an intra-cardiac left to right shunt is one of the possible causes because of acute appearance of dyspnea. Although the patient unfortunately died of acute heart failure due to IE, decisive diagnosis without delay was required for performing adequate treatment. Although TTE revealed both the vegetation on the peri-aortic root and abnormal flow in the RA, the detailed site of the intra-cardiac shunt was difficult to detect. Because TEE depicts the subaortic structures clearly using an acoustic window from both of the LA and the RA, TEE depicts the structures better than TTE . One of the tips for clearly depicting the detailed site of the LV-RA shunt is to adjust the aliasing velocity appropriately . The authors adjusted the aliasing velocity at 30.8 cm/ms. Because pressure gradient between the LV and the RA decreases due to pressure overload at the RA, a relative slow velocity of shunt flow was predicted. Furthermore, three-dimensional TEE revealed the exact location of the vegetation attached to the aortic root structures. In this aspect, TEE examination in the ICU was a crucial diagnostic method to decide emergent surgical revision.
Although the patient died of acute heart failure due to infectious endocarditis, TEE information could be helpful for depicting the exact location of the fistula and for guiding the surgical procedure.
TS was involved in patient care during the operation and prepared the manuscript. JN carried out the TEE study and substantially contributed to drafting the manuscript. MK drew the schema of the venous malformation. TM helped draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the manuscript.
TS is an Associate Professor at the Department of Anesthesiology, Osaka Medical College. JN is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Anesthesiology, Osaka Medical College. MK is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Anesthesiology, Osaka Medical College. TM is a Professor at the Department of Anesthesiology, Osaka Medical College.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Consent for publication
Written informed consent for publication was obtained from the patient for publication of this case report and any accompanying images. A copy of the written consent is available for review by the Editor-in-Chief of this journal.
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