Use of transesophageal echocardiography to guide cardioversion in patients with atrial fibrillation.
ABSTRACT The conventional treatment strategy for patients with atrial fibrillation who are to undergo electrical cardioversion is to prescribe warfarin for anticoagulation for three weeks before cardioversion. It has been proposed that if transesophageal echocardiography reveals no atrial thrombus, cardioversion may be performed safely after only a short period of anticoagulant therapy.
In a multicenter, randomized, prospective clinical trial, we enrolled 1222 patients with atrial fibrillation of more than two days' duration and assigned them to either treatment guided by the findings on transesophageal echocardiography or conventional treatment. The composite primary end point was cerebrovascular accident, transient ischemic attack, and peripheral embolism within eight weeks. Secondary end points were functional status, successful restoration and maintenance of sinus rhythm, hemorrhage, and death.
There was no significant difference between the two treatment groups in the rate of embolic events (five embolic events among 619 patients in the transesophageal-echocardiography group [0.8 percent]) vs. three among 603 patients in the conventional-treatment group [0.5 percent], P=0.50). However, the rate of hemorrhagic events was significantly lower in the transesophageal-echocardiography group (18 events [2.9 percent] vs. 33 events [5.5 percent], P=0.03). Patients in the transesophageal-echocardiography group also had a shorter time to cardioversion (mean [+/-SD], 3.0+/-5.6 vs. 30.6+/-10.6 days, P<0.001) and a greater rate of successful restoration of sinus rhythm (440 patients [71.1 percent] vs. 393 patients [65.2 percent], P=0.03). At eight weeks, there were no significant differences between the two groups in the rates of death or maintenance of sinus rhythm or in functional status.
The use of transesophageal echocardiography to guide the management of atrial fibrillation may be considered a clinically effective alternative strategy to conventional therapy for patients in whom elective cardioversion is planned.
- American Heart Journal 09/1983; 106(2):389-96. · 4.50 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Echocardiography has emerged as a fundamental tool in the evaluation of patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Transthoracic echocardiography remains a primary tool for the evaluation and management of many patients presenting with their first episode of AF, but it is not adequate for exclusion of atrial thrombi. TEE offers excellent visualization of the atria and accurate identification or exclusion of thrombi. In concert with therapeutic anticoagulation, a TEE-guided approach to early cardioversion appears to have a safety profile similar to that of conventional therapy (1 month of precardioversion warfarin). The TEE-guided approach offers the advantages of simplified anticoagulation management and shorter duration of sustained AF, thereby allowing for a more rapid recovery of atrial mechanical function. Warfarin should be continued for 1 month after cardioversion to allow for more complete recovery of atrial function and for prophylaxis should the patient revert to AF. Cost-effectiveness models demonstrate that TEE-guided cardioversion represents a cost-effective strategy, but only if the transthoracic echocardiogram is omitted. For patients with a thrombus on the initial TEE, follow-up TEE (to document thrombus resolution) is recommended before cardioversion.Circulation 09/1998; 98(5):479-86. · 15.20 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: To determine the ability of transesophageal echocardiography to accurately identify or exclude left atrial thrombi. Prospective cohort study. University hospital. 231 consecutive patients having transesophageal echocardiography before elective repair or replacement of the mitral valve or excision of a left atrial tumor. Fifty-six percent of patients had a history of atrial fibrillation, and 17% had a history of thromboembolism. Identification of left atrial thrombi during transesophageal echocardiographic examination and comparison with direct near-simultaneous visualization during cardiac surgery. Transesophageal echocardiography identified 14 left atrial thrombi in 14 patients (6%). Thrombus size range from 3 to 80 mm. Surgery confirmed 12 of 14 thrombi (86%), including 9 thrombi confined to the left appendage. No additional thrombi were found on direct inspection of the atria (sensitivity, 100% [95% CI, 74% to 100%]; specificity, 99% [CI, 97% to 99.9%]; positive predictive value, 86% [12/14]; negative predictive value, 100% [217/217]; for a population that had a 5.2% prevalence of thrombi). All 12 surgically confirmed thrombi were identified by two independent observers. Neither thrombus seen by only a single observer on transesophageal echocardiography was confirmed during direct inspection of the atria at surgery. Transesophageal echocardiography is highly accurate for identifying left atrial thrombi and can be used clinically to exclude left atrial thrombi.Annals of internal medicine 01/1996; 123(11):817-22. · 13.98 Impact Factor