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Am J Cardiol. 1998 Nov 1;82(9):1052-5.

Acute changes in spontaneous echo contrast and atrial function after cardioversion of persistent atrial flutter.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor 48109-0022, USA.


With use of transesophageal echocardiography, the short-term effects of transthoracic electrical cardioversion of atrial flutter (AFI) on atrial mechanical function and spontaneous echo contrast were determined. Thirty patients who had AFI for a mean of 6.4 +/- 12.2 months underwent transthoracic cardioversion. A transesophageal echocardiogram was recorded immediately before cardioversion, and left atrial appendage emptying velocity and spontaneous contrast were assessed serially at 1, 3, and 5 minutes after cardioversion in 28 patients, and also at 8, 10, and 15 minutes after cardioversion in a subgroup of 13 patients. Cardioversion was deferred in 2 patients (7%) because a thrombus was found in the left atrial appendage. Before cardioversion, spontaneous contrast was present in the left atrium in 7 of 28 patients (25%) who underwent cardioversion. The mean left atrial appendage emptying velocity of 54 +/- 22 cm/s before cardioversion fell by 26% to 40 +/- 25 cm/s at 1 minute after restoration of sinus rhythm (p <0.01). There were no significant changes in the mean left atrial appendage-emptying velocity between 1 and 15 minutes after cardioversion. Within 5 minutes after conversion to sinus rhythm, left atrial spontaneous echo contrast developed de novo or worsened in 12 of the 28 patients (43%). In conclusion, the results of this study demonstrate that persistent AFI may be associated with left atrial thrombi before cardioversion and that cardioversion of AFI is associated with a significant degree of atrial stunning and formation of spontaneous echo contrast.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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