Advanced imaging improves detection of baffle leaks and stenoses after atrial switch compared with transthoracic echocardiography

Int J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2021 Sep;37(9):2767-2772. doi: 10.1007/s10554-021-02236-w. Epub 2021 Apr 17.


Current guidelines for adults with atrial switch repair recommend baseline cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) for assessment of ventricular size and function, systemic and venous baffle obstruction and leaks, and valvular function. It also recommends transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) for outpatient follow up. Many such patients with implanted cardiac devices may need cardiac computed tomography (CCT) when CMR is not feasible. This study reviews and compares CMR, transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), CCT, cardiac catheterization with angiography and TTE in detection of baffle problems in patients after atrial switch operation. The medical records of patients who had at least one imaging study performed after atrial switch operation at our center from 2010 to 2020 were retrospectively reviewed. Results are reported as descriptive statistics for demographics and imaging findings. The principal outcome measure was detection of baffle leak and/or baffle stenosis. Fifty-seven patients had at least one cardiac imaging study after atrial switch operation (36 Senning and 21 Mustard operations) during the study period. Nearly 33% (19/57) had baffle complications of stenosis and/or baffle leaks identified. All 57 patients had TTE performed but baffle problems were noted by TTE in only 8 (14%) patients (7 baffle stenosis and 1 baffle leak). Of the 49 patients without known baffle problems by TTE, 24 had advanced imaging (TEE/CCT/CMR/angiography). Advanced imaging identified baffle problems in nearly half (11/24, 46%) of them (7 baffle leaks and 4 baffle stenosis). Baffle problems were present in (8/23) patients with transvenous cardiac devices. Baffle complications are common after atrial switch operations and in our study occur in 1/3rd of the patients. However, TTE is not sensitive enough to recognize these complications. Advanced imaging for detection of baffle complications should be considered in all patients after atrial switch operation.

Keywords: Atrial switch repair; Baffle leak; Baffle stenosis; Mustard operation; Senning operation; Transposition of the great arteries.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arterial Switch Operation*
  • Constriction, Pathologic
  • Echocardiography
  • Humans
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transposition of Great Vessels*