The intensity of left atrial spontaneous echo contrast (LASEC) by transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) has been proposed as an important variable in the stratification of thromboembolic risk, particularly in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF). We hypothesized that the quantification of LASEC by ultrasound will improve its utility in predicting subsequent stroke events in patients with NVAF. Patients (n = 206) with definite NVAF receiving TEE were included for this prospective cohort study. Baseline clinical risk factors of stroke, CHADS 2 score and CHA 2 DS 2 -Vasc, left atrial thrombus (LAT), the five-grades of LASEC and video intensity (VI) value of LASEC were measured. During 2 years follow-up, 20 patients (9.7%) developed stroke. VI value of LASEC in the patients with stroke was higher compared to patients without stroke (25.30 ± 3.61 vs. 8.65 ± 0.81, p < 0.001). On logistic regression analysis, LAT, qualitative LASEC, graded LASEC, VI value of LASEC and CHADS 2 and CHA 2 DS 2 -Vasc score were independent predictors of stroke. Among them, the highest area under the curve of receiver operating characteristic (ROC) in predicting stroke was VI value of LASEC (p < 0.05). These results show that quantification of LASEC by VI value is the most favorable predictor of stroke in patients with NVAF, and calls for improving the utility of LASEC in predicting subsequent stroke events.
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