Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Background: One of the recognised complications of left atrial ablation for atrial fibrillation (AF) is stroke. Left atrial (LA) thrombus, which may be dislodged by catheter manipulation, is an absolute contraindication to ablation. It is unclear whether imaging of the left atrial appendage (LAA) by transesophageal echo (TEE) is mandatory to exclude LA clot prior to ablation, particularly in "low-risk" patients with paroxysmal AF and normal left ventricular (LV) function. Methods and Results: We carried out a retrospective analysis of pre-ablation TEE in patients presenting for ablation of AF. Images from 244 ablation procedures carried out in 148 patients were examined, including 106 patients with paroxysmal AF and normal LV function. Despite at least 4 weeks of pre-operative therapeutic anticoagulation with Warfarin (INR > 2.0), LAA thrombus was identified in 4 patients (2.7% (0.1-5.3%)). These included 2 patients with paroxysmal AF and normal LV function, although both had a high arrhythmia burden. The thrombi regressed with intensification of anticoagulation. Conclusions: Pre-operative imaging of the LAA remains advisable to exclude thrombus prior to ablation for AF even in patients with paroxysmal AF and normal LV function, especially if there is a high AF burden.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Journal of Atrial Fibrillation

Publication Date

01/02/2009

Volume

1

Pages

257 - 261