An atrial thrombus is a relatively common echocardiographic finding in patients with mitral valve stenosis (MVS) and atrial fibrillation (AF). However, a “ball thrombus” or floating thrombus in the left atrium is a rare and specific entity associated with MVS. A 24-year-old woman with rheumatic MVS presented with complaints of progressive dyspnea and inferior limbs edema that began 23 days earlier after a caesarean operation for stillbirth carried out at 8 months of pregnancy. At the time of hospitalization, she was in New York Heart Association functional class III and the ECG showed sinus rhythm. Transthoracic color-flow Doppler echocardiography revealed a thick, stenotic mitral valve with a valvular area of 0.9 cm2, and an echogenic large left-atrial mass diagnosed as a free-floating left-atrial thrombus that was corroborated by transesophageal echocardiography. She refused surgery and was treated medically, and low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) (enoxaparin 80 mg/12 h) was given for 14 days and was discharged uneventfully on coumarin. Two days before discharge, a transthoracic and transesophageal ecocardiography showed disappearance of the ball thrombus uneventfully leaving spontaneous echo contrast inside the left atrium. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first case showing disappearance of a giant left atrial ball thrombus with LMWH treatment in a patient with severe MVS during sinus rhythm associated with pregnancy.
Left atrial ball thrombus; Pregnancy; Mitral stenosis; Enoxaparin.
Few cases of a left atrial thrombus without mitral valve disease have been reported. We present an unusual case in which a patient presented to the emergency department with syncope and acute cerebral ischemia caused by a ball thrombus originating from the left atrium (LA). An emergency bedside echocardiogram showed the LA ball thrombus intermittently obstructing the mitral orifice and, at times, compromising the left ventricular outflow tract. This thrombus was determined to be the source of cerebral embolization resulting in acute ischemia. Surgical excision of the mass was performed. At operation, the thrombus was found to be tethered to the left atrial appendage. This tethering was not apparent on the echocardiographic images, where the thrombus appeared to be free floating. This case demonstrates the utility of transthoracic echocardiography in establishing the etiology of emergent conditions seemingly unrelated to acute cardiac disease, in this situation a neurologic presentation with syncope and cerebral ischemia.
atrial fibrillation; ball thrombus; anticoagulation; surgical resection
OBJECTIVE--To determine the value of transoesophageal echocardiography in the assessment of selected patients at risk of cardiogenic embolism or after it. DESIGN--Prospective comparison of the results of transoesophageal and transthoracic echocardiography. Transoesophageal echocardiography was performed with a 5 MHz single plane phased array transducer. SETTING--University teaching hospital. PATIENTS--100 patients referred for transoesophageal echocardiography after a cerebral ischaemic event or peripheral arterial embolism (n = 63), before percutaneous balloon dilatation of the mitral valve (n = 23), or before electrical cardioversion of atrial fibrillation (n = 14). RESULTS--Transthoracic echocardiography showed potential sources of embolism in four patients including left ventricular thrombus in two patients (with one false positive), left atrial appendage thrombus (n = 1), and patent foramen ovale (n = 1). Transoesophageal echocardiography showed 59 potential embolic sources in 45 patients including left atrial spontaneous echo contrast (n = 33), left atrial appendage thrombus (n = 13), left ventricular thrombus (n = 5), patent foramen ovale (n = 3), left ventricular spontaneous echo contrast (n = 2), mitral valve prosthesis thrombus (n = 1), mitral valve prolapse (n = 1), and pronounced aortic atheroma (n = 1). Transoesophagal echocardiography showed potential embolic sources in 36/53 (68%) patients with atrial fibrillation compared with 9/47 (19%) patients in sinus rhythm. Percutaneous balloon dilatation of the mitral valve was performed without embolic complications in 18 patients without left atrial thrombi and in three patients with small fixed thrombi in the left atrial appendage. It was cancelled in two patients with large thrombi in the left atrial appendage. Cardioversion was performed without embolic complications in 14 patients without left atrial thrombi. CONCLUSIONS--Transoesophageal echocardiography detects potential sources of embolism better than transthoracic echocardiography in selected patients at risk of cardiogenic embolism or after it.
Mitral stenosis, one of the grave consequences of rheumatic heart disease, was generally considered to take decades to evolve. However, several studies from the developing countries have shown that mitral stenosis follows a different course from that seen in the developed countries. This study reports the prevalence, severity and common complications of mitral stenosis in the first and early second decades of life among children referred to a tertiary center for intervention.
Medical records of 365 patients aged less than 16 and diagnosed with rheumatic heart disease were reviewed. Mitral stenosis was graded as severe (mitral valve area < 1.0 cm2), moderate (mitral valve area 1.0-1.5 cm2) and mild (mitral valve area > 1.5 cm2).
Mean age at diagnosis was 10.1 ± 2.5 (range 3–15) years. Of the 365 patients, 126 (34.5%) were found to have mitral stenosis by echocardiographic criteria. Among children between 6–10 years, the prevalence of mitral stenosis was 26.5%. Mean mitral valve area (n = 126) was 1.1 ± 0.5 cm2 (range 0.4-2.0 cm2). Pure mitral stenosis was present in 35 children. Overall, multi-valvular involvement was present in 330 (90.4%). NYHA functional class was II in 76% and class III or IV in 22%. Only 25% of patients remember having symptoms of acute rheumatic fever. Complications at the time of referral include 16 cases of atrial fibrillation, 8 cases of spontaneous echo contrast in the left atrium, 2 cases of left atrial thrombus, 4 cases of thrombo-embolic events, 2 cases of septic emboli and 3 cases of airway compression by a giant left atrium.
Rheumatic mitral stenosis is common in the first and early second decades of life in Ethiopia. The course appeared to be accelerated resulting in complications and disability early in life. Echocardiography-based screening programs are needed to estimate the prevalence and to provide support for strengthening primary and secondary prevention programs.
Mitral stenosis; Valve area; Rheumatic heart disease; Sub-Saharan Africa
Background. The discovery of a large left atrial mass through echocardiography obliges the clinician to perform a differential diagnosis to distinguish tumor from thrombus. The neovascularization of the mass could be helpful to predict the type of the malformation and whether it is in favour of a vacular tumour rather than a thrombus . Observation. A 43-years-old man who had no cardiac antecedent reported that he have had dyspnea and palpitation since 10 months. The cardiac auscultation, revealed an irregular rhythm with diastolic murmur at the apex. The electrocardiogram showed an atrial fibrillation. The transthoracic echocardiography revealed a severe mitral stenosis with a huge left atrial mass, confirmed through transesophageal echocardiography. After 4 weeks of an efficient anticoagulant treatment, the mass was still persistent in the echocardiography. So we decided to resect the mass and to achieve a mitral valve replacement. The preoperative coronarography showed neovascularization among the mass and fistula from the circumflex artery. Considering the characteristic of the mass (neovascularization and resistance to anticoagulant), we strongly suspected a vascular tumor especially myxoma, but the histological exam revealed an organized thrombus. Conclusion. Coronary neovascularization is a specific sign for left atrial thrombus in mitral stenosis, but surgery is the best way to confirm diagnosis.
OBJECTIVE--To compare Doppler, echocardiographic, and clinical variables in female and male patients with mitral stenosis. DESIGN--Observational study in consecutive patients with mitral stenosis of cross sectional and Doppler echocardiographic and clinical variables and a retrospective search for a history of systemic embolism. SETTING--A medical centre with 3000 beds, serving both urban and rural populations. PATIENTS--500 consecutive patients with an echocardiographic mitral valve area of 2 cm2 or less. 331 (66.2%) were female and 169 (33.8%) male (mean (SD) ages of 49 (13) and 48 (14) respectively). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Mitral valve areas by echocardiographic planimetry and Doppler pressure half-time method, peak early diastolic mitral velocity and pressure gradient, echocardiographic score of mitral valve, left atrial end systolic diameter, frequency of left atrial thrombus and smoky echoes as well as various valve lesions detected with Doppler and echocardiography, cardiac rhythm, symptomatic functional class of heart failure, and history of systemic embolism. RESULTS--The prevalence of significant tricuspid (22% v 9%, P < 0.001) and pulmonary regurgitation (5% v 1%, P = 0.018) was higher in the female patients than in the male patients. Female patients also had a higher peak regurgitant velocity (3.2 (0.7) v 2.9 (0.7) m/s, P = 0.007) and pressure gradient (41 (21) v 36 (19) mm Hg, P = 0.010) across the tricuspid valve. However, the male patients had a higher echocardiographic score (9.7 (2.4) v 7.0 (2.3), P < 0.001) and a smaller Doppler-derived mitral valve area (0.9 (0.4) v 1.0 (0.4) cm2, P = 0.027). There were no differences between the female and the male patients in mitral valve area measured by planimetry, peak early diastolic mitral velocity and pressure gradient, and left atrial end systolic diameter or in the prevalence of atrial fibrillation, left atrial thrombus, left atrial smoky echoes, significant aortic stenosis, aortic regurgitation, or heart failure of New York Heart Association class III or IV. CONCLUSIONS--Female patients not only had a higher prevalence of mitral stenosis but also had a higher prevalence of associated tricuspid and pulmonary regurgitation along with a higher velocity and gradient of tricuspid regurgitation. The echocardiographic score was higher in male patients, however. These findings suggest that the pathophysiology of mitral stenosis is different in the two sexes and that gender should be taken into account when therapeutic strategies are formulated.
Left atrial free floating ball thrombus is a relatively rare event, especially without mitral valve disease.
A 61-year-old Turkish man was admitted to our hospital with a thrombus mass in his left atrium. Five months earlier, he had undergone right bilobectomy and superior bronchoplasty due to squamous cell carcinoma in the lung. The patient had no evidence of cardiac disease except atrial fibrillation and there were no defined embolizations. The thrombus mass was surgically removed. The patient was discharged from hospital on the sixth postoperative day.
Surgery with cardiopulmonary bypass is a safe method for treatment. The patient should be medicated with warfarin, especially in the presence of atrial fibrillation.
Left atrial thrombus in the presence of diseased mitral valve and atrial fibrillation is a well known entity. But it is very rare to occur in the presence of normal mitral valve apparatus. We report the case of a 36 year old female who presented with left atrial ball valve thrombus and normal mitral valve apparatus and underwent surgery. This patient with gangrene of right lower limb came for cardiac evaluation. She had infarct in left middle cerebral artery territory- ten months prior to this admission and was on treatment for infertility. She had atrial fibrillation. Emergency surgery to remove the thrombus should be considered given its potential life threatening embolic nature.
Ball valve thrombus; Left atrium; Embolism
The present case was a 70 year-old dialysis patient who had experienced a prior cerebral infarction following atrial fibrillation. Her shunt suddenly occluded during dialysis, and she was transferred to our hospital. Transesophageal echocardiography revealed a floating, ball-like thrombus in the left atrial appendage (LAA). After thrombectomy in the shunt, acute thrombi were extracted. Despite anticoagulant therapy, the ball-like thrombus in the LAA did not dissipate and instead continued to enlarge. We planned surgical intervention involving a left atrial appendectomy without cardiopulmonary bypass through a left thoracotomy. However, her thrombus disappeared out of the LAA when she was intubated in the operating room. Her surgery was, therefore, stopped, and extubation was carried out. A computed tomography (CT) scan showed that the embolism had moved to the ostium of the celiac artery. Incidentally, this celiac artery had already been obstructed, and her inferior mesenteric artery had been the main supply of blood flow to the intestine, explaining why she had not developed intestinal ischemia. We continued anticoagulant therapy with warfarin. Follow-up CT studies were conducted at the outpatient clinic. However, the patient died due to a wide cerebral infarction before the 6-month checkup.
floating thrombus; atrial fibrillation (AF); left atrial appendage (LAA); nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF)
Left atrial appendage (LAA) occlusion is a treatment strategy to prevent blood clot formation in atrial appendage. Although, LAA occlusion usually was done by catheter-based techniques, especially percutaneous trans-luminal mitral commissurotomy (PTMC), it can be done during closed and open mitral valve commissurotomy (CMVC, OMVC) and mitral valve replacement (MVR) too. Nowadays, PTMC is performed as an optimal management of severe mitral stenosis (MS) and many patients currently are treated by PTMC instead of previous surgical methods. One of the most important contraindications of PTMC is presence of clot in LAA. So, each patient who suffers of severe MS is evaluated by Trans-Esophageal Echocardiogram to rule out thrombus in LAA before PTMC. At open heart surgery, replacement of the mitral valve was performed for 49-year-old woman. Also, left atrial appendage occlusion was done during surgery. Immediately after surgery, echocardiography demonstrates an echo imitated the presence of a thrombus in left atrial appendage area, although there was not any evidence of thrombus in pre-pump TEE. We can conclude from this case report that when we suspect of thrombus of left atrial, we should obtain exact history of previous surgery of mitral valve to avoid misdiagnosis clotted LAA, instead of obliterated LAA. Consequently, it can prevent additional evaluations and treatments such as oral anticoagulation and exclusion or postponing surgeries including PTMC.
Left atrial appendage clot; left atrial appendage occlusion; mitral valve replacement; percutaneous trans-luminal mitral commissurotomy; trans-esophageal echocardiography
Objective—To assess the relative merits of transthoracic and transoesophageal echocardiography before balloon dilatation of the mitral valve.
Design—Transthoracic and transoesophageal echocardiograms were prospectively performed in 35 patients being considered for balloon dilatation of the mitral valve. Echocardiograms were analysed for image quality, the assessment of valve morphology, the detection of left atrial thrombus, and the assessment of mitral regurgitation and other valvar pathology.
Patients—35 consecutive patients with symptomatic dominant mitral stenosis.
Interventions—30 eventually underwent balloon dilatation of the mitral valve by the Inoue technique. Five patients had mitral valve replacement.
Main outcome measures—Echocardiographic and surgical detection of left atrial thrombus and successful, uncomplicated balloon dilatation of the mitral valve.
Results—Left atrial thrombus was detected in 1/35 patients by transthoracic studies compared with 6/35 from transoesophageal studies. Otherwise both techniques gave comparable results. Thrombus was confirmed at mitral valve replacement in five patients. Successful dilatation of the mitral valve was performed in 30 patients.
Conclusions—Transthoracic echocardiography is a useful screening procedure but transoesophageal echocardiography is mandatory before balloon dilatation of the mitral valve for the detection of left atrial thrombus.
OBJECTIVE--Systemic emboli related to atrial thrombi are a well known complication of percutaneous balloon dilatation of the mitral valve. The presence of left atrial thrombi therefore, is believed to be a contraindication to balloon dilatation. The purpose of this study was to determine the frequency of left atrial thrombi in patients referred for balloon dilatation of the mitral valve, the added benefit of pre-procedural transoesophageal echocardiography, and to identify factors that predicted left atrial thrombi. DESIGN--Prospective study over a 14 month period of 20 consecutive patients by cross sectional transthoracic echocardiography 24-48 hours before balloon dilatation of the mitral valve and by transoesophageal echocardiography immediately before the procedure. RESULTS--One patient had a left atrial thrombus detected by transthoracic study. Two patients (10%) had left atrial thrombi identified by transoesophageal echocardiography. In both valve dilatation was not attempted and the thrombi were confirmed at surgery. The remaining 18 patients all underwent successful balloon dilatation of the mitral valve without clinical evidence of an embolic event. No association was found between patient age, mitral valve area, transmitral gradient, left atrial size, presence of atrial fibrillation, severity of mitral regurgitation, cardiac output, or the presence of left atrial swirling and an increased prevalence of atrial thrombi. CONCLUSION--Left atrial thrombi are often seen despite long term systemic anticoagulation in patients referred for balloon dilatation of the mitral valve. The frequency of unsuspected left atrial thrombi detected by transoesophageal echocardiography was similar to the reported frequency of embolic events after balloon dilatation of the mitral valve. Transoesophageal echocardiography for the identification of left atrial thrombi is strongly recommended in all patients before balloon dilatation of the mitral valve including those treated with systemic anticoagulation and those who have had a normal transthoracic echocardiographic study.
A 20-year-old woman had received a 22-mm Lillehei-Kaster prosthesis at the age of 16 for progressive mitral valve stenosis. She was asymptomatic for 4 years, when dyspnea on exertion, orthopnea and paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea recurred. Operation was undertaken and a thrombus of recent origin was found extending from the posterior aspect of the prosthetic ring to the posterior left atrial wall. The sewing skirt was covered with neoendothelium and the valve orifice was not compromised; however, the hinge mechanism on the ventricular surface was overgrown with a dense fibrotic pannus that limited the normal 80° excursion of the tilting disc to 15°. This marked limitation of disc motion produced the equivalent of severe mitral stenosis. The Lillehei-Kaster valve was excised and replaced with a #27 Björk-Shiley prosthesis. The patient improved, and she remains asymptomatic 1 year after surgery.
Left atrial thrombi were shown by two-dimensional echocardiography in three patients with mitral valve disease and neurological symptoms. In two patients the atrial thrombi had probably been the source of a previous cerebrovascular embolus. In the third, two-dimensional echocardiography detected the development of a recent ball-valve thrombus in the left atrial cavity, which caused intermittent obstruction and syncope. Echocardiographic findings were correlated with anatomical and histological data in all three patients. The spatial orientation provided by the multiple imaging planes of two-dimensional echocardiography permitted correct estimates of the size and position of the thrombus, and this mode was superior to the standard M-mode technique for non-invasive imaging of thrombus. Despite limitations of technique and resolution, the information provided by ultrasound can be extremely helpful in the management of patients. Ultrasonic screening (particularly the two-dimensional mode) is to be recommended in patients with neurological symptoms and clinical evidence of cardiac disease or arrhythmia.
A group of 111 patients with mitral valve disease was studied by M-mode and two-dimensional echocardiography. Five left atrial thrombi were demonstrated, two of which had probably been the source of previous embolic events. Two-dimensional echocardiography was superior to M-mode in providing spatial orientation. Using multiple cross-sections the exact localisation and the size of the thrombus formation could be estimated. Thrombus localisations at the upper, lateral, and septal atrial walls, normally inaccessible to the single-beam technique, were successfully imaged. Even two-dimensional echocardiography, however, constitutes an imperfect method. By comparison with the findings at surgery only one-third of confirmed thrombi could be detected non-invasively. According to their localisation seven clots in the appendage were missed by the ultrasound method. One further thrombus fixed to the upper left atrial wall near the entrance of the upper pulmonary veins was also undetected by echocardiography. Despite these limitations, the information provided by echocardiography can be most helpful in patient management. M-mode, in combination with two-dimensional echocardiography, is therefore recommended in all patients with mitral stenosis before diagnostic or therapeutic procedures are undertaken.
In addition to a typical pattern indicative of mitral stenosis, the M-mode echo-cardiogram of a patient with mitral valve disease revealed a broad band of dense echoes within an enlarged left atrial cavity that was suggestive of an intraatrial thrombus. Subsequent cross-sectional echocardiography demonstrated a globular cluster of echoes inside the left atrial cavity, thus corroborating our interpretation of the M-mode recording. When open mitral commissurotomy was performed, a large, partially calcified thrombus was found protruding from the posterior wall and left atrial appendage into the atrial cavity. Postoperative M-mode and cross-sectional echocardiography did not show the previously noted abnormal echoes within the left atrium.
Left atrial thrombi are mostly related to mitral valve disease. The differential diagnosis of clots and myxomas in the left atrium is mostly based on echocardiography. Infection of intracardiac thrombi is extremely rare and mostly reported in ventricular clots or aneurysms following myocardial infarction.
We present the case of a 65 year old female with a history of mitral valve disease and chronic atrial fibrillation who suffered repeated embolic strokes and a giant infected clot in the left atrium. Although the patient underwent prompt surgery with removal of the clot and valve replacement the complication of septic emboli to the CNS led her to death. To the best of our knowledge this is the second report of an infected left atrial thrombus.
The case is a representative example of a neglected and undertreated patient with catastrophic consequences. Anticoagulant therapy in patients with mitral valve disease and atrial fibrillation should be applied according the currently available guidelines and standards in order to avoid analogous paradigms in the future. Mitral valve substitution should be considered in patients with mitral valve disease presenting thromboembolic complications. Surgery should be considered as the treatment of choice in cases of organized left atrial thrombus and suspected tumor or infected mass.
OBJECTIVE--To study the incidence of spontaneous echo contrast in left atrium of Indian patients with rheumatic mitral stenosis in normal sinus rhythm and to define its relations. SUBJECTS--Transthoracic and multiplane transoesophageal echocardiographic studies were performed in 89 consecutive patients with rheumatic mitral stenosis who were in normal sinus rhythm. RESULTS--Spontaneous echo contrast in the left atrium was seen in 57.3% of patients on multiplane transoesophageal echocardiography and in only 5.6% on transthoracic echocardiography. The mean mitral valve area was 1.07 (SD 0.33) cm2 and 1.32 (0.45) cm2 (P = 0.004), mean left atrial size was 4.27 (0.67) cm and 3.91 (0.5) cm (P = 0.029), mean diastolic pressure gradient was 12.64 (5.69) mm Hg and 10 (5.5) mm Hg (P = 0.049), and absence of mitral regurgitation was seen in 45% and 23% of patients respectively (P = 0.1). Among patients with spontaneous echo contrast, 31% had either left atrial/appendage thrombus or a history of embolism, upsilon 0% in patients without spontaneous echo contrast (P < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS--There is a high incidence of spontaneous echo contrast in the left atrium in Indian patients with rheumatic mitral stenosis in normal sinus rhythm on multiplane transoesophageal echocardiography. These patients are likely to embolise or form thrombi in the left atrium. The presence of spontaneous echo contrast is also associated with significantly smaller mitral valve area, larger left atrium, and higher mean diastolic mitral pressure gradient.
The prevalence of mitral regurgitation in cardiac diseases requires annuloplasty systems that can be implanted without excessive patient burden. This study was designed to examine the morphological and functional outcome of a new double helix mitral annuloplasty ring in an ovine model in comparison to the classical Carpentier-Edwards (CE) annuloplasty ring as measured by reduction of mitral regurgitation and tissue integration. The Medtentia annuloplasty ring (MAR) is a helical device that is rotated into the annulus self-restoring the valve geometry, enabling a faster fixation without the need of elaborate repair of the valve geometry. The ventricular part of the helical ring encircles the valve chords.
Twenty adult sheep were overpaced until 2+ level mitral valve regurgitation was achieved. Seven animals per group received either the MAR or the CE ring. Implantation was performed on-pump in a beating heart through the left atrial appendix. The animals were sacrificed 3.6 ± 0.3 months after surgery following an echocardiography for assessing mitral regurgitation as primary endpoint. The annuloplasty rings with surrounding tissue were harvested for histological analyses as secondary endpoints. The remaining six sheep received the MAR system and were sampled seven, nine or 12 months after surgery.
Implantation time (p < 0.01) and perfusion time (p < 0.001) as clinical secondary endpoints were significantly shorter in the MAR group. Echocardiography follow-ups showed sufficient valve function repair in nearly all animals with a normalization of the ventricle diameters in both groups (group difference: p = 0.147). The weights of the hearts did not differ significantly. Histology revealed adequately covered atrial annuloplasty rings with functional endothelium and lack of excessive granulation tissue or fibrosis in all specimens. The ventricular projections of the MAR systems encircling the chordae tendineae were not completely covered with neointimal tissue, although in no case were microthrombi detected and no thromboembolic events were recorded.
The new MAR system is an easy to use annuloplasty system with a functional outcome comparable to that of the well–proven CE ring. Mitral valve regurgitation is effectively stopped both by restricting the pathological expansion of the annulus and by gathering the chords without thrombus formation.
Annuloplasty; Mitral; Valve; Valve insufficiency; Valve repair; Endocardium
A 58-year-old woman with a history of childhood acute rheumatic fever and resultant mitral valve stenosis was admitted to our cardiovascular surgery clinic complaining of tachycardia, dyspnea, and chest pain. After clinical and radiological findings were evaluated, mitral valve replacement, tricuspid De Vega annuloplasty and plication, and resection of giant left atrium were performed. Atrial thrombus was removed from the top of the left atrial wall. Operation material considered as thrombus was sent to a pathology laboratory for histopathological examination. It was diagnosed with mesothelial/monocytic incidental cardiac lesion (cardiac MICE). Microscopic sections revealed that morphological features of the lesion were different from thrombus. The lesion was composed of a cluster of histiocytoid cells with abundant cytoplasm and oval shaped nuclei and epithelial-like cells resembling mesothelial cells within a fibrin network. Epithelial-like cells formed a papillary configuration in the focal areas. Mitotic figures were absent. Here we present a case which was incidentally found in a patient who underwent mitral valve replacement surgery, as a thrombotic lesion on the left atrium wall.
Rationale:Echocardiography is essential in establishing the diagnosis in patients with cardiac masses. The differentiation between myxomas and thrombi is sometimes difficult, but is critical in making the right therapeutical decision.
Objective: A 70–year–old female presented to the Emergency Department with palpitations, dyspnea and anterior epistaxis. She had a 3 years history of atrial fibrillation and chronic heart failure NYHA class III.
Method and Result: Two-dimensional transthoracic echocardiography showed the thickening of the mitral valves with moderate mitral insufficiency and a mobile round mass in the left atrium, heterogeneous, inhomogeneous, 18 mm in size, attached with a narrow stalk to the interatrial septum, reaching mitral annular plane; tricuspid insufficiency with a maximum 30 mmHg gradient, intact interatrial septum, akinesia of two thirds of basal inferior wall, 42% ejection fraction.
Discussion: The two–dimensional transesophageal echocardiography confirmed the intraatrial mass. Epistaxis was considered to be due to heart failure and the increased venous pressure. The patient was referred to the cardiovascular surgery clinic, but refused surgery. Anticoagulation with fraxiparine 0,6 ml/day was started and continued for 3 weeks, after cessation of epistaxis by nasal tamponament. Then echocardiography was repeated, with no remnant mass in the left atrium. The conclusion was that the mass must have been a thrombus that has melted away. In this particular case, the left intraatrial thrombus may have been due to the presence of atrial fibrillation.
echocardiography; cardiac mass; anticoagulant.
Left atrial myxomas remain the most common benign primary cardiac tumors, and these cardiac growths can masquerade as mitral stenosis, infective endocarditis and collagen vascular disease. Atrial myxomas are found in approximately 14-20% of the population and can lead to embolization, intercardiac obstructions, conduction disturbances and lethal valve obstructions.
An 84-year-old Hispanic man presented with complaints of dizziness upon standing, and with no prior history of heart murmurs, syncope, shortness of breath, or chest pain. Physical examination revealed evidence of orthostatic hypotension and a soft grade 1/6 systolic murmur at the left sternal border. A transthoracic echocardiogram revealed a large atrial myxoma occupying the majority of the left atrium, with the posterior border of the large atrial mass defined by eccentric mitral regurgitation identified during cardiac catheterization. Left atrial myxoma excision was performed, revealing a 7 × 6.5 × 4.5 cm atrial tumor attached to a 4 × 3 × 2 cm stalk of atrial septal tissue.
This patient didn't present with the common symptoms associated with an atrial myxoma, which may include chest pain, dyspnea, orthopnea, peripheral embolism or syncope. Two-dimensional echocardiography provides substantial advantages in detecting intracardiac tumors. We recommend a two-dimensional echocardiogram in the workup of orthostatic hypotension of unknown etiology after the common causes such as autonomic disorders, dehydration, and vasodilative dysfunctions have been ruled out. By illustrating this correlation between orthostasis and an atrial myxoma, we hope to facilitate earlier identification of these intracardiac growths.
OBJECTIVES--(a) To assess the echocardiographic incidence of restenosis after successful balloon dilatation of the mitral valve at a mid-term follow up of one year among a population of predominantly United Kingdom patients. (b) To identify any factors, assessed before or during dilatation, which may predict the development of restenosis. DESIGN--Successful dilatation of the mitral valve was defined as an increase in mitral valve area of > 25% and a final valve area of at least 1.5 cm2. Echocardiographic restenosis was defined at follow up as a loss of 50% of initial gain and a valve area of less than 1.5 cm2. Mitral valve area was assessed by transthoracic echocardiography before, during, 48 hours after, and one year after successful balloon dilatation of the mitral valve. Echo score before dilatation (an assessment of valvar and subvalvar calcification, thickening, and mobility), age, rhythm, echocardiographic mitral valve area before and after dilatation, left atrial pressure before and after dilatation, and end diastolic mitral valve gradient before and after dilatation were compared in those patients with and without echocardiographic restenosis at one year. SETTING--A regional cardiothoracic centre in the United Kingdom that performs 20-30 balloon dilatations of mitral valves each year. PATIENTS--39 patients, with symptomatic dominant mitral stenosis, who had undergone successful balloon dilatation of the mitral valve, and in whom echocardiographic assessment of mitral valve area was available at one year. 92% of patients were citizens of the United Kingdom. INTERVENTIONS--Balloon dilatation of the mitral valve by the Inoue technique. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Mitral valve area and patient symptom class (New York Heart Association) one year after successful dilatation of the mitral valve. RESULTS--The incidence of echocardiographic restenosis was eight of 39 patients (21%). Of the eight patients with restenosis four underwent mitral valve replacement, two had repeat dilatation of the mitral valve, and two remained on medical treatment. With univariant analysis, factors associated with restenosis were increased age, higher echo score before dilatation, and a lower mitral valve area immediately after the operation. The only independent risk factor for restenosis, shown by multivariant analysis, was a high echo score before dilatation. There was no significant fall in mitral valve area at one year in those patients without restenosis. Most (28/31) of these patients had echocardiographic evidence of splitting of at least one commissure after dilatation compared with only two of eight patients who developed restenosis. Of 10 patients with an echo score before dilatation > or = 10 only two had an initially successful operation and no restenosis at one year. CONCLUSIONS--The echocardiographic incidence of restenosis after dilatation of the mitral valve by the Inoue technique in patients of the United Kingdom is 21%. The principal factor associated with restenosis is a high echo score before dilatation. Increases in mitral valve area are maintained in those patients without restenosis and it is likely that the mechanism of initial increase in valve area is different in the two groups, being commissural splitting in those patients who do not get restenosis and valve stretching in those that do. In patients with an echo score > or = 10 dilatation of the mitral valve should be considered only as a palliative procedure.
Diastolic subvalvular mitral leaflet tethering by left ventricular remodeling that restricts leaflet opening in the presence of annular size reduction by surgery for ischemic mitral regurgitation potentially causes functional mitral stenosis in the absence of organic leaflet lesions. Exercise, known to worsen systolic tethering and ischemic mitral regurgitation, might also dynamically exacerbate such mitral stenosis by increasing tethering. This study evaluates the mechanism and response of such mitral stenosis to exercise.
We measured the diastolic mitral valve area, annular area, and peak and mean transmitral pressure gradient by echocardiography in 20 healthy individuals and 31 patients who underwent surgical annuloplasty for ischemic mitral regurgitation.
Although the mitral valve area and annular area did not significantly differ in healthy individuals (4.7 ± 0.6 cm2 vs 5.2 ± 0.6 cm2, not significant), mitral valve area was significantly smaller than the annular area in patients after annuloplasty (1.6 ± 0.2 cm2 vs 3.3 ± 0.5 cm2, P < .01). The mitral valve area was less than 1.5 cm2 only after the surgery (P < .01) and was significantly correlated with restricted leaflet opening (r2 = 0.74, P <.001), left ventricular dilatation (r2 = 0.17, P <.05), and New York Heart Association functional class (P <. 05). Exercise stress echocardiography of 12 patients demonstrated dynamic worsening in functional mitral stenosis (mitral valve area: 2.0 ± 0.5 cm2 to 1.4 ± 0.2 cm2, P < .01; mean pressure gradient: 1.5 ± 0.9 mm Hg to 6.0 ± 2.2 mm Hg, P < .01).
Persistent subvalvular leaflet tethering in the presence of annular size reduction by surgery in ischemic mitral regurgitation frequently causes functional mitral stenosis at the leaflet tip level, which is related to heart failure symptoms and can be dynamic with significant exercise-induced worsening.
Mitral valve stenosis is a common manifestation of chronic rheumatic heart disease. The presence of spontaneous echo contrast in the left atrium and left atrial appendage has been reported to be an independent predictor of thrombo-embolic risk in patients with mitral stenosis. The objective of this study was to retrospectively investigate various clinical and echocardiographic variables to predict the spontaneous echo contrast in these patients.
This is a bicentric retrospective study which includes 159 cases of symptomatic mitral stenosis from January 2011 to June 2012. All of the patients had transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography. Patients who had significant mitral regurgitation (> Grade I), significant aortic valve disease, previous mitral valvulotomy and anticoagulation or antiplatelet therapy were excluded from the study. Our study population was divided into two groups based on the presence (Group I) or absence (Group II) of spontaneous echo contrast.
Left atrial spontaneous contrast was present in 34.6% of cases. Patients in this group have more frequent atrial fibrillation (P = 0.001), larger left atrial area (P = 0.027) and diameter (P=0.023), smaller mitral valve area (P = 0.025), and higher mean transmitral diastolic gradient (p = 0.003) as compared to patients without spontaneous echo contrast. There were no significant differences in the mean age (p = 0.38), duration of symptoms (p = 0.4) and left ventricular ejection fraction (p = 0.7) between patients with and without spontaneous echo contrast. On multivariate analysis, only mitral valve area and transmitral diastolic gradient (OR: 18.753, 1.21, CI [1,838-191,332], [1,064-1,376], p: 0.013, 0.004, respectively) were found to be independently associated to the presence of spontaneous echo contrast.
Patients with severe rheumatic mitral stenosis in atrial fibrillation or sinus rhythm have a higher risk of developing spontaneous echo contrast. These patients might benefit from prophylactic anticoagulation. The long-term outcomes can be ascertained in a study over a longer period and with periodic follow-up.
Mitral stenosis; Left atrial spontaneous contrast; Transesophageal echocardiography; Anticoagulation