JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Role of transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography in predicting embolic events in patients with active infective endocarditis involving native cardiac valves.

Some studies describe an increased risk for emboli in infective endocarditis patients with large (>10 mm) and mobile vegetations. Other studies fail to demonstrate the above relation. Most studies have been performed using transthoracic echocardiography or with a monoplane transesophageal approach. The present study examines whether distinctive characteristics of vegetative lesions detected by transthoracic and multiplane transesophageal echocardiography are predictive of embolic risk. We reviewed both transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiograms of 57 patients with diagnosis of acute infective endocarditis and no documented or suspected previous embolic events. We evaluated site, length, width, mobility, and echodensity of vegetations. Twenty-five patients (44%) had embolic events. No statistical differences in age, sex distribution, location of endocarditis, or offending pathogens between embolic (n = 25) and nonembolic (n = 32) patients were found. There were no differences in any of the echo characteristics of vegetations detected by transthoracic and transesophageal approach in embolic and nonembolic groups. Thus, transthoracic and transesophageal characteristics of vegetations are not helpful in defining embolic risk in patients with infective endocarditis.

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