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Three-Dimensional Computed Tomographic Imaging of Complex Congenital Cardiovascular Abnormalities

Bean, Marchelle J MD; Pannu, Harpreet MD; Fishman, Elliot K MD

Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography: November-December 2005 - Volume 29 - Issue 6 - p 721-724
doi: 10.1097/01.rct.0000181725.07716.f4
Cardiac Imaging: Pictorial Essay

Primary evaluation of congenital cardiac abnormalities traditionally relies upon echocardiography and conventional angiography, both of which have potential limitations. Echocardiography is an operator dependant study, limited by a small window and patient movement. Conventional angiography is an invasive procedure with an inherent risk of catheter complication such as vessel damage, bleeding, stroke and infection. During angiography, overlapping of the pulmonary and systemic circulation often provides a confusing picture given complex anatomy. Another limiting factor of particular significance in young children is radiation dose and contrast administration during catherization procedures. Three-dimensional MDCT provides an alternative to alleviate these pitfalls of traditional cardiac diagnostic studies. Development of multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT) and 3D software provides new methods for non-invasive visualization and evaluation of congenital cardiac abnormalities. The multiplanar, volumetric functions allow faster and more complete computed tomography diagnosis and better understanding of clinical relevance of complex cardiac anatomy. In addition, 3D imaging is particularly useful for preoperative planning and postoperative outcomes. This essay provides case studies to illustrate the usefulness of MDCT/3D CT for evaluation of complex congenital heart disease.

From the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD.

Received for publication July 14, 2005; Accepted August 1, 2005.

Reprints: Marchelle J. Bean, The Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science, Johns Hopkins Hospital, 601 North Caroline Street, Room 3140 A, Baltimore, MD 21287 (e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.