Background: Cardioversion in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) can cause cardioembolic stroke, and effective clinical management is necessary to reduce morbidity and mortality. Currently, transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is the accepted standard to diagnose cardiogenic thromboemboli; however, a negative TEE does not eliminate the possibility of left atrial thrombus. The objective of this study was to evaluate the diagnostic value of supplementing the TEE with additional noninvasive markers to ensure thrombus absence. Methods: A prospective study was conducted on 59 patients who underwent TEE for suspected intra-cardiac thrombi. The TEE indications included acute ischemic stroke (45.7%) and AF or flutter (59.3%). D-dimer level and white blood cell counts were assessed. Results: A negative D-dimer level (<200 ng/mL) excluded the presence of intra-cardiac thrombi. Groups with either negative (n = 14) or positive (n = 45) D-dimer levels had comparable clinical characteristics. Comparing positive D-dimer–level patients with thrombus (n = 7) and without thrombus (n = 33), patients with thrombus had reduced left atrial appendage (LAA) velocity (P =.0024), reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) (P =.0263), increased neutrophil percent (P =.0261), decreased lymphocyte percent (P =.0216), and increased monocyte counts (P =.0220). The area under the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve for thrombus diagnostics was larger for combinations of clinical and biochemical data than for each parameter individually. Conclusions: Supplementing the gold standard TEE with the analysis of LAA velocity, noninvasive LVEF, D-dimer, and hemostatic markers provided additional useful diagnostic information. Larger studies are needed to further validate the efficacy of supplementing the TEE to better assess patients for intra-cardiac thrombi.
- D-dimer assay
- atrial fibrillation
- cardiac thrombus
- transesophageal echocardiography
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine