Septal pouch in the left atrium and risk of ischemic stroke

Aylin Tugcu, Kazue Okajima, Zhezhen Jin, Tatjana Rundek, Shunichi Homma, Ralph L. Sacco, Mitchell S.V. Elkind, Marco R. Di Tullio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Objectives We sought to assess the association between the presence of a septal pouch in the left atrium and ischemic stroke. Background It has been suggested that the presence of a left septal pouch (LSP) may favor the stasis of blood and possibly result in thromboembolic complications. However, the embolic potential of an LSP is not known. Methods The association between an LSP and risk of stroke was assessed using a population-based case-control study design. The presence of an LSP was assessed by transesophageal echocardiography in 187 patients >50 years of age with a first-ever ischemic stroke (96 men, mean age 70.6 ± 9.0 years) and in 157 control subjects matched to patients by age, sex, and race/ethnicity. The association between an LSP and risk of stroke was assessed after adjustment for other stroke risk factors. Results Patients with LSPs were younger than control subjects (67.5 ± 9.1 years vs. 69.6 ± 8.8 years; p = 0.046), with a lower prevalence of hypertension (68.0% vs. 80.3%; p = 0.01). There were no differences in the prevalence of LSPs between stroke patients and control subjects (28.9% vs. 29.3%, respectively; p = 0.93). The subgroup of 69 patients (36.9%) with cryptogenic stroke showed a similar prevalence of LSPs (31.9% vs. 29.3%; p = 0.70). Multivariable analysis showed that the presence of an LSP was not associated with ischemic stroke (odds ratio: 1.09; 95% confidence interval: 0.64 to 1.85) or cryptogenic stroke (odds ratio: 1.41; 95% confidence interval: 0.71 to 2.78). Conclusions This study does not demonstrate evidence of the association of the presence of an LSP with ischemic stroke or cryptogenic stroke. The stroke risk associated with LSPs requires further evaluation in the younger stroke populations. The cofactors that may turn an LSP from an innocent bystander to a causative mechanism for stroke remains to be elucidated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1276-1283
Number of pages8
JournalJACC: Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • left atrium
  • septal pouch
  • stroke
  • transesophageal echocardiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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