The CHADS(2) (congestive heart failure, hypertension, age >75 years, diabetes mellitus, stroke or transient ischemic attack [2 points]) scoring scheme has been found to be a good predictor of stroke risk in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AF). However, the value of the CHADS(2) scoring system in the risk stratification of patients with AF who undergo direct-current cardioversion has not yet been specifically investigated. In this study, a subgroup of 541 patients from the Assessment of Cardioversion Using Transesophageal Echocardiography (ACUTE) study who had AF for >48 hours and planned to undergo transesophageal echocardiography before direct-current cardioversion were enrolled. Each patient had a CHADS(2) score calculated. Of the patients with CHADS(2) scores of 0, 14 (10%) were found to have left atrial appendage thrombi on transesophageal echocardiography. After 6 months of follow up, patients with CHADS(2) scores of 3 to 6 showed a significantly higher mortality rate in comparison with patients with lower CHADS(2) scores (4.3% vs 0.5%, p = 0.004), despite their similar prevalence of left atrial appendage thrombus and stroke (thrombus: 13.4% vs 11.6%, p = 0.60; stroke: 0% vs 0.3%, p = 0.70). In conclusion, the CHADS(2) scoring system may be useful for predicting short-term mortality risk in patients with AF receiving elective direct-current cardioversion. However, in the preprocedural risk assessment of these patients, the CHADS(2) scoring system is not reliable in predicting risk for left atrial appendage thrombus formation, especially in patients with low CHADS(2) scores.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.