Roles of Transesophageal Echocardiography and Cardiac Computed Tomography for Evaluation of Left Atrial Thrombus and Associated Pathology: A Review and Critical Analysis

Evaluation of the left atrium and left atrial appendage for the presence of thrombus prior to cardioversion and pulmonary vein isolation, and of the entire heart for embolic sources in the setting of cryptogenic stroke, has long been standard medical care. Guidelines have uniformly recommended transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) to accomplish these goals. In recent years, computed tomographic angiography has demonstrated diagnostic accuracy similar to that of TEE for the detection of thrombus. Analysis of the pertinent data and relative merits of the 2 technologies leads to the conclusions that: 1) both modalities have some unique, nonoverlapping capabilities that may dictate their use in specific situations; 2) computed tomographic angiography is a reasonable alternative to TEE when the primary aim is to exclude left atrial and left atrial appendage thrombus and in patients in whom the risks associated with TEE outweigh the benefits; and 3) both options should be discussed with the patient in the setting of shared decision making.

PMID: 29622180

Posted in Computed Tomography, Echo.

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