In the midesophageal descending aorta short-axis view shown here, what is the dark space indicated by the yellow arrow?

  • □ (A) Pleural effusion

  • □ (B) Descending aorta

  • □ (C) Pericardial effusion

Images courtesy of Johannes W. Steyn, MD.

Images courtesy of Johannes W. Steyn, MD.

The transesophageal echocardiographic (TEE) image shown in Figure 1 is the standard view of the descending aorta in short axis. The dark circle nearest the ultrasound probe is the descending aorta. This view is obtained by rotating the TEE probe to the left from the midesophageal position. The dark space underneath the descending aorta is a left pleural effusion.

Figure 1:

Descending aorta short-axis view.

Figure 1:

Descending aorta short-axis view.

Pericardial effusions are represented as dark spaces, but would be seen in the pericardium around the heart (Figure 2).

Figure 2:

Pericardial effusion.

Figure 2:

Pericardial effusion.

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Answer: A