Vol 31, No 1 (2024)
Original Article
Published online: 2023-02-27

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Left atrial appendage filling defect in exclusive early-phase scanning of dual-phase cardiac computed tomography: An indicator for elevated thromboembolic risk

Yu Qiao1, Zhen Zhao1, Xiang Cai1, Yulong Guo1, Ke Liu1, Jinrui Guo1, Tao Guo1, Guodong Niu21
Pubmed: 36896637
Cardiol J 2024;31(1):95-102.


Background: Dual-phase cardiac computed tomography (CCT) has been applied to detect left atrial appendage (LAA) thrombosis, which is characterized as the presence of left atrial appendage filling defects (LAADF) in both early- and delayed-phase scanning. However, the clinical implication of LAAFD in exclusive early-phase scanning (LAAFD-EEpS) of CCT in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) is unclear. Methods: The baseline clinical data and dual-phase CCT findings in 1183 AF patients (62.1 ± 11.6 years, 59.9% male) was collected and analyzed. A further analysis of CCT and transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) data (within 5 days) in a subgroup of 687 patients was performed. LAAFD-EEpS was defined as LAAFD present in early-phase and absent in delayed-phase scanning of dual-phase CCT. Results: A total of 133 (11.2%) patients were detected with LAAFD-EEpS. Patients with LAAFD-EEpS had a higher prevalence of ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) (p < 0.001) and a higher predefined thromboembolic risk (p < 0.001). In multivariate analysis, a history of ischemic stroke or TIA was independently associated with LAAFD-EEpS (odds ratio [OR] 11.412, 95% confidence interval [CI] 6.561–19.851, p < 0.001). When spontaneous echo contrast in TEE was used as the reference standard, the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of LAAFD-EEpS was 77.0% (95% CI 66.5–87.6%), 89.0% (95% CI 86.5–91.4%), 40.5% (95% CI 31.6–49.5%), 97.5% (96.3–98.8%), respectively. Conclusions: In AF patients, LAAFD-EEpS is not an uncommon finding in dual-phase CCT scanning, and is associated with elevated thromboembolic risk.

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