Left ventricular (LV) thrombus is an increasingly recognised complication following anterior myocardial infarction and non-ischaemic cardiomyopathy. Whilst vitamin K antagonists (VKA) remain the only approved therapeutic option to reduce the risk of systemic thromboembolism including stroke, the off-label use of direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) is becoming an attractive alternative.We aimed to improve the diagnosis and management of LV thrombus at a tertiary cardiology centre using quality improvement methodology. Outcomes included increasing the use of DOACs from 25% to 70% over a period of 1 year and shorten length of time from diagnosis to repeat imaging to within 3-6 months as recommended by guidelines.During the first Plan-Do-Study-Action (PDSA) cycle, we identified 84 patients diagnosed with LV thrombus between 1 December 2012 and 30 June 2018. The majority (74%) were prescribed VKA. Repeat imaging occurred in 89% of patients, but only 55% using the same modality. The mean duration between diagnosis and repeat imaging was 233±251 days. There were no significant differences between VKA and DOAC in terms of thrombus resolution, systemic embolisation or clinically significant bleeding. We published trust-wide guidelines on the management of LV thrombus with recommendations supporting the use of DOACs and appropriate follow-up imaging. A second PDSA cycle undertaken between 1 October 2019 and 31 March 2020 identified a further 20 patients. DOAC use increased to 70% and 70% of patients underwent follow-up imaging following a mean duration of 140±61 days, although in only 36% using the same modality.Using quality improvement methodology, we confirmed safe and efficient use of DOAC in the setting of LV thrombus. We published trust guidelines supporting their use, which was associated with an increase in DOAC use and in earlier follow-up imaging in line with our recommendations.
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