Transoesophageal echo-Doppler in patients suspected of a cardiac source of peripheral emboli

Eur Heart J. 1992 Jan;13(1):88-94. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.eurheartj.a060054.


The initial results of a controlled and partly blinded study aimed at evaluating the accuracy of transoesophageal echo-Doppler in detecting cardiac sources of peripheral emboli are reported. A total of 120 consecutive patients suspected of acute embolic events were entered. After completion of all investigations, the patients were classified into three groups: patients who had definitely not suffered an embolic event (controls; n = 56); patients in whom the differentiation between local thrombosis, embolic event originating from a diseased infarct-related artery or embolic event from a cardiac source was not possible (questionable cases; n = 24) and patients in whom a cardiac source of a definite embolic event was highly suspected (cardiac emboli; n = 40). Isolated interatrial septum anomaly and mitral valve prolapse were as frequent in the control group as in the embolism group. Transoesophageal echo-Doppler had a sensitivity of 83% and a specificity of 86% in correctly assigning a patient to the cardiac embolism group or to the control group. The positive and negative predictive values were 80% and 87% respectively. It is concluded that transoesophageal echo-Doppler is highly sensitive but is also specific in demonstrating cardiac sources of peripheral emboli.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Echocardiography, Doppler / methods*
  • Embolism / diagnostic imaging
  • Embolism / etiology*
  • Esophagus
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / complications
  • Heart Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Septal Defects / complications
  • Heart Septal Defects / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitral Valve Prolapse / complications
  • Mitral Valve Prolapse / diagnostic imaging
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Peripheral Vascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Thrombosis / complications
  • Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging*