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Associations between 'valentine' heart shape, atrial enlargement and cardiomyopathy in cats

Winter, M.D., Giglio, R.F., Berry, C.R., Reese, D.J., Maisenbacher, H.W. and Hernandez, J.A. (2015) Associations between 'valentine' heart shape, atrial enlargement and cardiomyopathy in cats. Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 17 (6). pp. 447-452.

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Valentine' heart shape is a common qualifier used in veterinary radiology to describe a cardiac silhouette with focal enlargement at the level of the base of the heart in feline patients. Anecdotally, this sign has been thought to be related to biatrial enlargement and also to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). However, to our knowledge, there has been no study performed to assess the association between cardiac chamber enlargement and cardiac disease with the valentine'-shaped heart. The aim of this study was to verify the association between the valentine' heart shape observed in ventrodorsal thoracic radiographs and the presence of singular or combined cardiac chamber enlargement, and also the presence and type of cardiomyopathy (CM) in cats. A search of the database of the Small Animal Veterinary Hospital of the University of Florida for cats with a radiology report of thoracic radiographs that contained the words valentine' and biatrial', and echocardiography performed within 1 week, was undertaken; 41 cases met the inclusion criteria. Eighty-two percent of the cats of the study sample had some form of CM. The valentine' heart shape was associated with biatrial enlargement in 41% of the patients in our study sample that had some form of CM and just 8% of cases diagnosed with HCM, suggesting that the valentine' heart shape has a low association with HCM or biatrial enlargement; however, it should be considered a sign of feline CM.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: W.B. Saunders Ltd
Copyright: © ISFM and AAFP 2014
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