Whether all patients with atrial septal defect should undergo cardiac catheterization before surgical correction is controversial. Of 152 patients of all ages with surgically documented isolated atrial septal defect (ostium secundum, ostium primum and sinus venosus types) who underwent preoperative two-dimensional echocardiography between January 1978 and December 1983, there were 55 (36%) (group 1) who did not have preoperative cardiac catheterization. These 55 patients are compared with the 97 patients (64%) who did have preoperative catheterization studies (group 2). Group 1 patients were younger (mean age 22 versus 36 years) and did not have clinical evidence of other associated cardiac disorders. Forty-four (80%) of the group 1 patients had typical findings for atrial septal defect on cardiac examination, chest radiograph and electrocardiogram compared with 16 (16%) of group 2 patients (p < 0.001). The most frequent reasons for cardiac catheterization in group 2 patients were documentation of diagnosis, usually because of atypical clinical findings, and exclusion of associated cardiac abnormalities. Contrast echocardiography, radionuclide shunt studies and Doppler echocardiography were used as additional confirmatory tests in 36 patients (65%). In 19 patients (35%), twodimensional echocardiography was the only confirmatory test. There were no false positive two-dimensional echocardiographic studies. There were no operative deaths or significant perioperative complications in any of the patients. At a mean follow-up of 28 months (range 6 to 64), there was one late death (3½ years postoperatively) in a 61 year old man with chronic congestive heart failure. It is proposed that, in carefully selected patients of all ages with typical clinical findings of atrial septal defect and confirmation of the diagnosis by two-dimensional echocardiography, surgical repair can proceed without preoperative cardiac catheterization.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine