Significance of high sensitivity C-reactive protein and D-dimer in evaluating intracardiac thrombus and spontaneous echo contrast in patients referred for transesophageal echocardiography: a prospective study

Cardiol J. 2012;19(3):267-73. doi: 10.5603/cj.2012.0048.


Background: Intra-cardiac thrombus (ICT) and spontaneous echo contrast (SEC) are considered hypercoagulable and inflammatory conditions. We aimed to determine if high sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP) and D-dimer (DD), in combination with variables of lower thrombotic risk (normal ejection fraction [NEF], sinus rhythm [NSR]), may predict the absence of ICT/SEC.

Methods and results: Consecutive patients referred for transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE) for evaluation of cardioembolic source were prospectively enrolled. CRP and DD levels were determined at the time of TEE. 124 patients were enrolled, of whom 21 had ICT/SEC. The combination of NSR/NEF had a negative predictive value (NPV) of 98.6% for absence of ICT/SEC. The NPVs of CRP and DD were 93.6% and 85%, respectively. Adding either CRP or DD to NSR/NEF combination increased the NPV to 100%. Log CRP was significantly associated with ICT/SEC.

Conclusions: The presence of NSR and NEF may defer the need for TEE for ICT/SEC evaluation. CRP association with ICT/SEC suggests that inflammation plays a role in ICT/SEC formation. Whether CRP and DD should become routine in the triage process of TEE for ICT/SEC evaluation requires further large scale prospective studies.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis*
  • Echocardiography, Transesophageal*
  • Female
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products / analysis*
  • Heart Diseases / blood
  • Heart Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Heart Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Diseases / physiopathology
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Michigan
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Stroke Volume
  • Thrombosis / blood
  • Thrombosis / diagnosis*
  • Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Thrombosis / physiopathology


  • Biomarkers
  • Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products
  • fibrin fragment D
  • C-Reactive Protein