Visualization of left atrial appendage and assessment of its function by transthoracic second harmonic imaging and contrast-enhanced pulsed doppler

M. Pozzoli, A. Selva, D. Skouse, E. Traversi, R. Mancini, G. Bana, A. Rossi, M. Bossi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Low flow velocity within the left atrial appendage, as assessed by transoesophageal echocardiography, is a predictor of thromboembolism and of a low success rate of cardioversion of atrial fibrillation. However, the semi-invasive nature does limit its serial application as a screening technique. Methods and Results: We investigated the value of transthoracic second harmonic echocardiography and pulsed Doppler at baseline and after intravenous contrast injection to visualize the left atrial appendage and assess blood flow velocities within its cavity. We studied 51 consecutive patients undergoing transoesophageal echocardiography. After transoesophageal echocardiography, transthoracic second harmonic imaging was performed and the left atrial appendage was visualized in 46 patients. Interpretable pulsed Doppler tracings of left atrial appendage flow were obtained at baseline in 39 patients and in 45 patients during Levovist administration. The correlations between peak emptying velocity of left atrial appendage as measured by transoesophageal echocardiography and by transthoracic standard and contrast-enhanced Doppler were 0.81 and 0.91, respectively. The agreement between transoesophageal echocardiography and transthoracic contrast-enhanced pulsed Doppler echocardiography in classifying left atrial appendage flow velocity patterns was 93%. Left atrial appendage thrombus was detected by transthoracic second harmonic imaging in only one of the eight patients shown by transoesophageal echocardiography to have a thrombus. However, all but one of the patients with left atrial appendage thrombus and/or spontaneous echocardiographic contrast at transoesophageal echocardiography had

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-23
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Echocardiography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Contrast-enhanced pulsed Doppler
  • Left atrial appendage
  • Transthoracic second harmonic imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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