Echocardiography in aortic diseases: EAE recommendations for clinical practice

Eur J Echocardiogr. 2010 Sep;11(8):645-58. doi: 10.1093/ejechocard/jeq056.


Echocardiography plays an important role in the diagnosis and follow-up of aortic diseases. Evaluation of the aorta is a routine part of the standard echocardiographic examination. Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) permits adequate assessment of several aortic segments, particularly the aortic root and proximal ascending aorta. Transoesophageal echocardiography (TOE) overcomes the limitations of TTE in thoracic aorta assessment. TTE and TOE should be used in a complementary manner. Echocardiography is useful for assessing aortic size, biophysical properties, and atherosclerotic involvement of the thoracic aorta. Although TOE is the technique of choice in the diagnosis of aortic dissection, TTE may be used as the initial modality in the emergency setting. Intimal flap in proximal ascending aorta, pericardial effusion/tamponade, and left ventricular function can be easily visualized by TTE. However, a negative TTE does not rule out aortic dissection and other imaging techniques must be considered. TOE should define entry tear location, mechanisms and severity of aortic regurgitation, and true lumen compression. In addition, echocardiography is essential in selecting and monitoring surgical and endovascular treatment and in detecting possible complications. Although other imaging techniques such as computed tomography and magnetic resonance have a greater field of view and may yield complementary information, echocardiography is portable, rapid, accurate, and cost-effective in the diagnosis and follow-up of most aortic diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Aorta, Thoracic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Aorta, Thoracic / pathology
  • Aortic Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Diseases / pathology
  • Aortic Dissection / diagnostic imaging*
  • Aortic Dissection / pathology
  • Aortic Valve Insufficiency / diagnostic imaging
  • Aortic Valve Insufficiency / pathology
  • Echocardiography / instrumentation
  • Echocardiography / methods*
  • Europe
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Care*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Societies, Medical