Thrombi and spontaneous echo contrast (SEC) in the left atrial appendage (LAA) are associated with thromboembolic events and poor prognosis. There are very few data on long-term outcome, especially with the use of direct acting anticoagulants (DOAC).
In this retrospective study, all transoesophageal echocardiographies performed at a tertiary care university hospital from 2015 to 2020 were analyzed. All patients with thrombus or SEC in the LAA were included. Medical history, laboratory, echocardiographic parameters and medication at discharge were documented. The primary endpoint of the study was a composite endpoint (all-cause mortality, non-fatal stroke or transient ischaemic attack [TIA], non-fatal systemic embolization, non-fatal major bleeding and non-fatal myocardial infarction).
Of a total of 4062 transoesophageal echocardiographies, thrombi were detected in 51 patients (1.2%) and SEC in 251 patients (6.2%). These patients formed the final study cohort (n = 302). During a mean follow-up period of 956 ± 663 days, 87 patients (29%) suffered the primary point. The following baseline characteristics predicted the primary endpoint: age, haemoglobin, a previous coronary artery bypass grafting, dialysis and choice of anticoagulation. Prescription of apixaban at discharge was associated with lower rate of adverse events (hazard ratio 0.564, confidence interval 0.331-0.960; p = 0.035) while prescription of dabigatran was associated with higher rate of adverse events (hazard ratio 3.091, confidence interval 1.506-6.347; p = 0.002).
Even in the DOAC era, the occurrence of thrombus or SEC in the LAA is associated with a high rate of MACCE. Our study suggests that the choice of DOAC therapy may have an impact on long-term survival.

© 2021. The Author(s).