Detection and exclusion of interatrial shunts by two-dimensional echocardiography and peripheral venous injection

Circulation. 1979 Feb;59(2):379-84. doi: 10.1161/01.cir.59.2.379.


Two-dimensional echocardiography (2-D echo) was used with peripherally injected contrast material to detect interatrial shunts in 33 patients. Group 1 consisted of 11 patients having classic clinical findings of atrial septal defect. Group 2 consisted of 12 patients with problems requiring that atrial shunting be excluded. Group 3 (control group) consisted of 10 patients undergoing cardiac catheterization for chest pain. Confirmation of the 2-D echo findings was provided by cardiac catheterization in 32 patients and postmortem examination in one. Right-to-left atrial shunts were detected in all 11 patients in group 1, although seven had no right-to-left shunt calculable by oximetry. Four patients in Group 2 had right-to-left atrial shunts. None of the patients in Group 3 had atrial shunts. In the 15 patients with atrial shunts, the degree of right-to-left shunting could be qualitatively assessed as small, moderate, or large. There were no false-negative or false-positive results by contrast 2-D echo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiac Catheterization
  • Ebstein Anomaly / diagnosis*
  • Echocardiography / methods*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Heart Septal Defects, Atrial / diagnosis*
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Middle Aged
  • Oximetry
  • Sodium Chloride* / administration & dosage


  • Sodium Chloride