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Clinical Utility of Transoesophageal Echocardiography in Low Resource Environments: The Jamaican Experience

Objective: To provide the first detailed review of the indications and clinical utility of transoesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) in the Caribbean.
Design and Methods: Data for patients who had TEE performed at the Heart Institute of the Caribbean over a three-year period were abstracted and reviewed. Information gathered included demographic data, indications for the procedure, findings and clinical recommendations. The effect of age and sex on these variables was assessed using the Chi-square or Fishers Exact tests. Significance was set at a p ≤ 0.05.
Results: Of the 116 procedures performed between 2005 and 2008, medical records were reviewed for 107 (50 male, 57 female) patients. The patients ranged in age from 15–86 years with a mean age of 45.4 ± 18.5 years. With the exception of four patients, all attempted TEE were completed. The most common indications for the procedure were valvular heart disease (41.1%), strokes (17.8%), shunts (10.3%) and infective endocarditis (11.2%). Less common indications included arrhythmias, cardiac masses, aortic dissection and shortness of breath. Transoesophageal echocardiogram altered the treatment course in about 30% of all patients including 66.6% of patients referred for suspected infective endocarditis. Furthermore, TEE resulted in recommendation for surgery in 43% of patients referred for evaluation of severity of valvular disease. Minor complications occurred in two persons. No severe complications or deaths occurred as a result of the procedure.
Conclusions: Transoesophageal echocardiogram has been most commonly performed to evaluate valvular heart disease in Jamaica without any major complications resulting from the procedure. It provides additional information that supplements transthoracic echocardiography in a wide range of clinical conditions. Measures should be put in place to make TEE more widely available and accessible in Jamaica.
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e-Published: 03 Feb, 2014
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