Role of preoperative cardiac CT in the evaluation of infective endocarditis: comparison with transesophageal echocardiography and surgical findings

Srikanth Koneru, Steven S. Huang, Jorge Oldan, Jorge Betancor, Zoran B. Popovic, L. Leonardo Rodriguez, Nabin K. Shrestha, Steven Gordon, Gosta Pettersson, Michael A. Bolen


Background: Significant improvement of computed tomography (CT) technology in the last decade has led to more use of this modality for evaluating infective endocarditis (IE) especially since the introduction of high resolution electrocardiogram (ECG) synchronized multiphasic (4D) acquisition. While there are a number of reports on the accuracy and value of 4D CT for evaluation of IE, there is no published data regarding the performance of single-phase ECG gated CT for assessment of IE. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the sensitivity and specificity of preoperative single-phase ECG-gated CT imaging versus transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) in the assessment of complications related to IE, with comparison to surgical findings.
Methods: Among 899 patients with surgically proven IE in our database, 122 underwent contrast-enhanced ECG cardiac CT and were included in the study; 84 of these patients also underwent TEE.
Results: Overall, there was no significant difference between CT and TEE in the identification of pseudoaneurysm/abscess and dehiscence. For the detection of pseudoaneurysm/abscess in prosthetic valves, CT demonstrated higher sensitivity (81% vs. 64%) and specificity (75% vs. 33%) in patients with mechanical aortic valves; TEE demonstrated marginally higher sensitivity (72% vs. 63%) and specificity (80% vs. 73%) in patients with bioprosthetic aortic valves, although the differences are not statistically significant. TEE demonstrated significantly higher sensitivity (85% vs. 16%) in identifying vegetation in all patients (P<0.0001), including patients with prosthetic valves (sensitivity, 78% vs. 19%). The combined imaging findings of CT and TEE demonstrated improved sensitivity in identifying pseudoaneurysm/abscess and slightly improved detection of prosthesis dehiscence.
Conclusions: Preoperative single-phase gated CT can be seen as complementary to TEE in assessing complications of suspected IE or may be substituted for TEE when vegetation or dehiscence is depicted on transthoracic echocardiography and the patient has a contraindication to TEE.