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Intracardiac Thrombi and Systemic Embolization

RICHARD S. MELTZER, M.D.; CEES A. VISSER, M.D.; and VALENTIN FUSTER, M.D.
[+] Article and Author Information

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Richard Meltzer, M.D.; Cardiology, Box 679, University of Rochester Medical Center; Rochester, NY 14642.


New York, New York


© 1986 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1986;104(5):689-698. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-104-5-689
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Recent progress has been made in diagnosing and tracing the natural history of intracardiac thrombi by echocardiography. Left ventricular thrombi occur and cause emboli in three clinical conditions: acute myocardial infarction, left ventricular aneurysm as a sequel to infarction, and idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. Echocardiographic studies have shown that one third of patients with acute anterior myocardial infarction have left ventricular thrombi; only a small percentage of these patients have emboli. Administration of anticoagulants decreases the prevalence of left ventricular thrombi and the frequency of embolization in this group. Thrombi that are protruding and mobile are most likely to embolize. Anticoagulation treatment decreases the prevalence of embolization in idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy and should be instituted regardless of whether atrial or ventricular thrombi are detected by two-dimensional echocardiography. In patients with chronic left ventricular aneurysm, thrombi occur commonly, but emboli, infrequently. Therefore, data are insufficient to suggest that anticoagulation treatment is indicated, even if left ventricular thrombi are detected by two-dimensional echocardiography.

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