CHADS(2) and CHA(2)DS (2)-VASc score of patients with atrial fibrillation or flutter and newly detected left atrial thrombus

Kristina Wasmer, Julia Köbe, Dirk Dechering, Peter Milberg, Christian Pott, Julia Vogler, Jörg Stypmann, Johannes Waltenberger, Gerold Mönnig, Günter Breithardt, Lars Eckardt
Clinical Research in Cardiology: Official Journal of the German Cardiac Society 2013, 102 (2): 139-44

BACKGROUND: The risk of developing a stroke or systemic embolus due to a left atrial (LA) thrombus in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and/or atrial flutter (AFL) is estimated by the CHADS(2) score and more recently the CHA(2)DS(2)-VASc score. We aimed to further characterize AF/AFL patients who were found to have a LA thrombus on a transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE).

METHODS AND RESULTS: Of 3,165 TEE between 2005 and 2011 for a broad spectrum of indications, we detected 65 AF patients with LA thrombus (2 %). There were 40 men and 25 women, mean age was 65 ± 13 years (range 36-88 years). Mean CHADS(2) score was 1.8 ± 1.1 and mean CHA(2)DS(2)-VASc score was 3.0 ± 1.6. 11 patients (17 %) had a CHADS(2) score of 0, 12 patients (18 %) of 1, 28 patients (43 %) of 2 and 12 patients (18 %) of 3. Hypertension was the most frequent risk factor (72 %), followed by congestive heart failure (32 %), diabetes (23 %) and age ≥75 years (23 %). Mean difference between CHADS(2) and CHA(2)DS(2)-VASc was 1.25 ± 0.91. Of the 11 patients (17 %) with a LA thrombus despite a CHADS(2) score of 0, five had a CHA(2)DS(2)-VASc score of 0, four a CHA(2)DS(2)-VASc score of 1 and two a CHA(2)DS(2)-VASc score of 2.

CONCLUSION: In an unselected TEE population with newly detected LA thrombus about one-third of patients fell into the low-risk group when classified based on the CHADS(2) score, while a much lower population fell in the same low-risk group when classified according to the CHA(2)DS(2)-VASc score. However, this does not prove clinical superiority of the CHA(2)DS(2)-VASc score over the established CHADS(2) score. Whether our observation has clinical implications (e.g. TEE prior to LA ablation irrespective of CHADS(2) score), or argues for use of the CHA(2)DS(2)-VASc score needs to be evaluated in prospective studies.

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