Thromboembolic events are associated with atrial fibrillation and with cardioversion to sinus rhythm. Although studies have demonstrated the risk of this complication is reduced by a 3-week period of anticoagulation prior to cardioversion, limited data have suggested a longer period of anticoagulation is necessary for thrombus resolution. We identified and followed 25 patients noted to have intraatrial thrombi on an initial transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) who subsequently had a follow-up TEE. The majority of patients had a single thrombus, often but not uniformly located in the left atrial appendage with the largest found in those patients with mitral stenosis. Repeat TEE was performed at a mean of 4 ± 6 months and persistent thrombus was noted in 19 of 25 patients (76%). Seven of 19 patients with persistent thrombi were cardioverted and one of these patients had a neurologic event following the procedure (14%). The only findings associated with persistent thrombus were the presence of mitral valve disease and atrial fibrillation. Our findings suggest that intraatrial thrombi do not generally resolve following several weeks of anticoagulation and that persistent left-sided intraatrial thrombi may be associated with an increased risk for events following cardioversion. Given that a TEE-guided approach to cardioversion is being utilized more frequently, it may be important to determine thrombus characteristics on follow-up that would be predictive of embolic events following cardioversion.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Intraatrial thrombus
- Transesophageal echocardiography
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine