Author + information
- Received February 13, 1992
- Revision received June 25, 1992
- Accepted July 2, 1992
- Published online January 1, 1993.
- Chunguang Chen, MD∗,
- Dietmar Koschyk, MD1,
- Christian Hamm, MD,
- Britta Sievers, MD,
- Wolfram Kupper, MD and
- Walter Bleifeld, MD, FACC†
- ↵∗Address for correspondence: Chunguang Chen, MD, Noninvasive Cardiac Laboratory. Massachuselts General Hospital, Zero Emerson Place, 2F, Boston, Massachuse 02114.
Objectives. The aim of this study was to determine whether transesophageal echocardiography could clarify the nature of equivocal echodense structures in the left ventricular apical region frequently found on transthoracic echocardiography by directing the ultrasound beam from the left ventricular base to the apex and achieving better image quality.
Background. Transthoracic echocardiography often reveals an echogenic structure suggesting thrombus in the left ventricular apical region because of limited near-field resolution and echo vibration artifact in apical views.
Methods. Thirty-six patients with coronary artery disease or dilated cardiomyopathy who had apical wall motion abnormalities and equivocal transthoracic echodense structures were studied with transesophageal echocardiography using special manipulation of the transesophageal probe for adequate imaging of the apical region. Left ventricular thrombus was defined when echogenic structures with a cleariy delineated margin adjacent to but distinct from the endocardium were observed in at least two different tomographic views in the four-chamber and left ventricular long-axis views during both systole and diastole.
Results. Left ventricular thrombus (mean size 1.3 ± 0.7 cm2) was defined by transesophageal echocardiography in 19 (53%) of 36 patients with suspected thrombus on transthoracic echocardiography in the four-chamber or left ventricular long-axis view. Heavy trabeculation or extremely high echo reflection, or both, was observed in the apical region in 12 patients (33%). No extra structures in the apical region were found in five patients. In 19 patients with transesophageal echocardiographically defined thrombus, 6 patients (31%) experienced arterial embolic events before the transesophageal procedure. In contrast, none of 17 patients without transesophageal echocardiographically defined thrombi had systemic embolism (p < 0.03).
Conclusions. 1) Transesophageal echocardiography is useful in identifying left ventricular apical thrombus in patients with unclear echogenic structures on transthoracic apical images; and 2) the high incidence of arterial embolism in patients with transesophageal echocardiographically detected left ventricular thrombus indicates the clinical importance of such thrombus.
- Received February 13, 1992.
- Revision received June 25, 1992.
- Accepted July 2, 1992.