Left atrial appendage morphology: comparison of transesophageal images and postmortem casts

Z Kardiol. 2003 Apr;92(4):303-8. doi: 10.1007/s00392-003-0903-x.


Background: Aim of the study was to compare 1) transesophageal echocardiographic (TEE) measurements of the left atrial appendage (LAA) with postmortem casts and 2) the TEE with the postmortem diagnosis of LAA thrombi.

Methods: From the TEE images and LAA casts length, orifice, diameter and number of branches were assessed. LAA area was measured by TEE and LAA volume from the cast.

Results: In 12 patients who underwent TEE and autopsy, measurements of LAA length and area correlated well with the cast volume ( r=0.6 to r=0.93). The agreement between TEE and LAA casts, concerning the number of branches, was only moderate. In one patient, a false positive diagnosis of a LAA thrombus occurred.

Conclusions: LAA size and orifice diameter can be assessed reliably by TEE. The complex LAA morphology hampers measurements of LAA length, branches, course and diagnosis of thrombi.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acrylic Resins
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Atrial Appendage / diagnostic imaging*
  • Atrial Appendage / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Echocardiography, Transesophageal*
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / diagnostic imaging
  • Endocarditis, Bacterial / pathology
  • Female
  • Heart Atria / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Atria / pathology
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Mathematical Computing
  • Middle Aged
  • Reference Values
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / diagnostic imaging
  • Shock, Cardiogenic / pathology
  • Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Thrombosis / pathology


  • Acrylic Resins
  • Technovit 7100