Echocardiography in the Evaluation of Cardiac Sources of Emboli: The Role of Transthoracic Echocardiography

RICHARD W. ASINGER, CHARLES A. HERZOG, CANDACE D. DICK, LILLIAN MICHAUD

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cardioembolism is responsible for a significant number of systemic emboli including approximately 15% of all ischemic strokes. Transthoracic echocardiography has contributed to the understanding of cardioembolism and has been used to detect specific and potential cardiac sources of systemic emboli and risk stratify patients with specific clinical findings for subsequent cardiovascular events. Findings from transthoracic echocardiography indicate that stasis is an important prerequisite for intracardiac thrombosis while reversal of stasis and thrombolysis appear operative in embolism of existing thrombus. Transthoracic echocardiography allows a sensitive and specific noninvasive means to detect left ventricular thrombus, valvular vegetation, and intracardiac tumor, lesions that are directly responsible for cardioembolism. Transthoracic echocardiography can also detect lesions that could potentially contribute to cardioembolism but are not specific causes. Examples of these potential lesions include mitral valve prolapse, patent foramen ovale, and interatrial septal aneurysm. Finally, population‐based studies and prospective clinical trials have indicated that the results of transthoracic echocardiography have predictive value for subsequent cardiovascular events and hence provide a means for stratification of patients at risk for cardioembolism. The latter is most notable for the group of patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation where left ventricular dysfunction and increased left atrial size are independent predictors for subsequent stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-396
Number of pages24
JournalEchocardiography
Volume10
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1993

Keywords

  • cardioembolism
  • transthoracic echocardiography

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