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Efficacy of the CHADS2 Scoring System to Assess Left Atrial Thrombogenic Milieu Risk Before Cardioversion of Non-Valvular Atrial Fibrillation

      The CHADS2 scoring system was found to be a good predictor for risk stratification of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. The effectiveness of this scoring system in assessing thrombogenic milieu before direct-current cardioversion has not yet fully been established on a large scale. In this study, data from 2,369 consecutive patients in whom transesophageal echocardiography was performed for screening before direct-current cardioversion from 1999 to 2008 were analyzed. Left atrial (LA) or LA appendage (LAA) thrombogenic milieu (spontaneous echo contrast, sludge, and thrombus) was investigated. The results were correlated with CHADS2 score findings. The mean age was 66 ± 13 years, and the ratio of men to women was 2.2:1. CHADS2 scores of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 were present in 11%, 25%, 30%, 22%, 8%, 3%, and 1% of the studies, respectively. The prevalence of LA or LAA sludge or thrombus increased with increasing CHADS2 scores (2.3%, 7%, 8.5%, 9.9%, 12.3%, and 14.1% for scores of 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 or 6, respectively, p = 0.01). In a multivariate model, an ejection fraction ≤20% was the best predictor of LA or LAA sludge or thrombus (odds ratio 2.99, p <0.001). In conclusion, transesophageal echocardiographic markers of thrombogenic milieu were highly correlated with increasing CHADS2 scores in patients who underwent transesophageal echocardiography–guided cardioversion. Giving more value to echocardiographic findings, such as the left ventricular ejection fraction, and its different levels (especially an ejection fraction ≤20%) might improve the precision of the CHADS2 scoring scheme to predict thrombogenic milieu in the left atrium or LAA as a surrogate to cardioembolic risk in patients with atrial fibrillation.
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