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Biomed Pap Med Fac Univ Palacky Olomouc Czech Repub. 2013 Mar;157(1):22-6. doi: 10.5507/bp.2012.012. Epub 2012 Jan 30.

Real time 3-dimensional transesophageal echocardiography is more specific than 2-dimensional TEE in the assessment of left atrial appendage thrombosis.

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Department of Internal Medicine I - Cardiology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Palacky University Olomouc, Czech Republic.



In patients indicated for detection of intraatrial thrombus (T), 2-dimensional transesophageal echocardiography (2DTEE) is routinely used but differentiation between T and trabeculae or artifacts in the left atrial appendage (LAA) is often difficult.


To compare the diagnostic value of real time 3D-transesophageal echocardiography (RT3DTEE) and 2DTEE in the assessment of LAA thrombosis.


One hundred and ten consecutive patients (73M, aged 64+-13) were examined by 2DTEE. In terms of possible T, individual pts were diagnosed as negative (N2), uncertain trabecular finding (U2), other/artifacts (O2), and clearly positive (T2). The RT3DTEE was then applied and the categorization repeated (N3,U3,O3 and T3, resp.). Finally, the operator decided whether the RT3DTEE. A: had an additional diagnostic value, and/or B: changed the definite diagnosis of thrombosis.


N2:71; U2:17; O2:19; T2:3; N3:97; U3:1; O3:12; T3:0. Ad A/ RT3DTEE enabled us to refine or change the diagnosis in 26/110 cases. 17 pts were switched from group U2 to N3, 7:O2-N3 and 2:T2-N3. 12 pts from O2 and 1 pt from T2 remained unclarified. Ad B/ Diagnoses were changed in 6 patients after RT3DTEE. A very suspicious T2 was found in 3 patients. In 1, the finding was requalified definitely as musculi pectinati. In the second patient, the finding was re-categorized as just a spontaneous echocontrast without T. In another 4 patients, T in LAA was definitely excluded after RT3DTEE (1 patient switched from U2 to N3, 3 from O2 to N3). In another 13, the findings remained unclear, mostly because of poor quality image. No real thrombus was found in this study.


RT3DTEE provides additional information, which may be helpful in the differentiation of thrombus from other findings. It is particularly useful in the identification of muscular trabeculae in the left atrial appendage.

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