Multidetector row computed tomography for identification of left atrial appendage filling defects in patients undergoing pulmonary vein isolation for treatment of atrial fibrillation: Comparison with transesophageal echocardiography

Apoor Patel, Eric Au, Kerry Donegan, Robert J. Kim, Fay Y. Lin, Kenneth M. Stein, Steven M. Markowitz, Sei Iwai, Jonathan W. Weinsaft, James K. Min, Bruce B. Lerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Advances in multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) technology now permit three-dimensional cardiac imaging with high spatial and temporal resolution. Historically, transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) has been the gold standard for assessment of the left atrial appendage (LAA) in patients with atrial fibrillation and other atrial arrhythmias. Findings on TEE, including demonstration of LAA thrombus and dense nonclearing spontaneous echocardiographic contrast (SEC), predict future fatal and nonfatal thromboembolic events. Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare the diagnostic performance of 64-detector row MDCT in detecting LAA thrombus and dense nonclearing SEC as identified by TEE in patients undergoing pulmonary vein isolation for treatment of atrial fibrillation. Methods: A total of 72 consecutive patients (69.4% male; mean age 56.1 ± 10.3 years) underwent both MDCT and TEE for evaluation of the LAA (median intertest interval 0 days, interquartile range 0-5 days). MDCT assessment of the LAA was performed by two methods: (1) comparison of Hounsfield unit (HU) densities in the LAA apex to the ascending aorta (AscAo) in the same axial plane and (2) nonquantitative visual identification of a filling defect in the LAA. TEE evaluation of the LAA included identification of echodense intracavitary masses in the LAA as well as pulsed-wave Doppler interrogation of the LAA ostium. Results: Patients with LAA thrombus or dense nonclearing SEC by TEE exhibited significantly lower LAA/AscAo HU ratios than patients who did not (0.82 ± 0.22 vs 0.39 ± 0.19, P <.001). LAA/AscAo HU cutoff ratios ≤0.75 correlated to LAA thrombus or dense nonclearing SEC by TEE, with 100% sensitivity, 72.2% specificity, 28.6% positive predictive value, and 100% negative predictive value. HU ratios ≤0.75 were associated with pulsed-wave Doppler velocities <50 cm/s of the LAA ostium (P <.001). In multivariable analysis, LAA/AscAo HU ratio ≤0.75 remained a robust predictor of LAA thrombus or dense nonclearing SEC by TEE (P <.001). In contrast, MDCT identification of TEE-identified LAA thrombus or dense nonclearing SEC by visual detection of LAA filling defects resulted in lower sensitivity (50%) and negative predictive value (95.1%). Conclusion: Current-generation MDCT successfully identifies LAA thrombus and dense nonclearing SEC with high sensitivity and moderate specificity. Importantly, LAA/AscAo HU ratios >0.75 demonstrate 100% negative predictive value for exclusion of LAA thrombus or dense nonclearing SEC. These results suggest that in patients undergoing pulmonary vein isolation procedures, MDCT examinations that demonstrate LAA/AscAo HU ratios >0.75 may preclude the need for preprocedural TEE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-260
Number of pages8
JournalHeart Rhythm
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Computed tomography
  • Transesophageal echocardiography

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