Cardioembolic Stroke: Dual Energy Cardiac CT for Differentiation of Left Atrial Appendage Thrombus and Circulatory Stasis
Radiology: Volume 263: Number 3-June 2012
Jin Hur, MD, PhD Young Jin Kim, MD, PhD Hye-Jeong Lee, MD, PhD Ji Eun Nam, MD Yoo Jin Hong, MD Hee Yeong Kim, MD Ji Won Lee.MD Byoung Wook Choi, MD, PhD
Purpose: To assess the diagnostic performance of dual-energy cardiac computed tomography (CT) in the detection of left atrial appendage (LAA) thrombi and differentiation between thrombus and circulatory stasis in patients with stroke, by using transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) as the reference standard.
Materials and methods: The institutional review board approved this study, and patients provided informed consent. Thirty-two patients with stroke who had atrial fibrillation (AF) and either thrombus or the spontaneous echo contrast (SEC) echo pattern at TEE were prospectively enrolled. For the control group, 31 patients who were planning to undergo AF ablation and who had no abnormalities at TEE were enrolled. All patients underwent dual-energy cardiac CT that was not electrocardiographically gated. For quantitative analysis, iodine concentration was measured on CT images. The statistical significance of differences in mean iodine concentration between thrombus and SEC as mea¬sured at CT was assessed by using the Student t test.
Results: Among the 63 patients, a total of 13 thrombi and 19 instances of SEC were detected at TEE. Using TEE as the reference standard, the overall sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of dual-energy cardiac CT in the detection of thrombi and SEC in the LAA were 97% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 82%, 100%), 100% (95% CI: 86%, 100%), 100%, and 97%, respectively. At CT, the mean iodine concentration was -1.23 mg/mL ± 0.34 (standard deviation) for thrombus and 3.61 mg/mL ± 1.01 for SEC (P = .001).
Conclusion: Dual-energy cardiac CT is a highly sensitive modality for detecting LAA thrombus and for differentiating thrombus from SEC in patients with stroke.