Author + information
- Received September 21, 1995
- Revision received December 31, 1995
- Accepted January 23, 1996
- Published online June 1, 1996.
- Bruce K. Shively, MD,FACC∗,
- Erika A. Gelgand, BS and
- Michael H. Crawford, MD,FACC
- ↵∗Address for correspondence: Dr. Bruce K. Shively, Cardiology Section 501-111B, Albuquerque Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 2100 Ridgecrest Drive SE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108.
Objectives. This study sought to 1) determine the location of left atrial stasis during atrial arrhythmia; 2) define the degree of stasis associated with significant risk of stroke; and 3) identify clinical or transthoracic echocardiographic data useful for predicting left atrial stasis.
Background. Prior studies suggest that stroke during atrial arrhythmia is related to stasis in either the body of the left atrium or the appendage. Recent data indicate that appendage stasis is associated with appendage thrombus formation, but stroke during atrial arrhythmia occurs frequently in the absence of appendage stasis.
Methods. Blood flow velocity was measured in multiple sites in the body of the left atrium and in the appendage by transesophageal pulsed wave Doppler echocardiography in 89 patients with atrial fibrillation or flutter. Regional velocities were related to the frequency of probable embolic stroke and to clinical and transthoracic echocardiographic variables.
Results. The lowest velocity region was either the posterior left strium or the appendage. Stroke frequency increases progressively and steeply with velocity <15 cm/s is either region; this cutoff value had an 87% sensitivity and 40% specificity for stroke. Factors related to stasis were low left atrial ejection fraction, mitral regurgitation <3+, fibrillation (vs. type 1 flutter), left ventricular dilation and mitral valve area <2.0 cm2.
Conclusions. Posterior left atrial stasis appears to the as important as appendage statis for the risk of stroke, which increases sleeply with lower blood flow velocity in either region. Patients likely to have severe stasis during atrial arrhythmia are those with left ventricular dilation and low atrial ejection fraction accompanying left atrial dilation. Direct measurement of atrial velocity by transesophageal echocardiography appears to be useful for the identification of patients at risk for stroke during atrial arrhythmia.
- Received September 21, 1995.
- Revision received December 31, 1995.
- Accepted January 23, 1996.