Observations on detecting left ventricular thrombus with two dimensional echocardiography: emphasis on avoidance of false positive diagnoses

Am J Cardiol. 1981 Jan;47(1):145-56. doi: 10.1016/0002-9149(81)90303-9.


Observations made in detecting left ventricular thrombus with two dimensional echocardiography in 25 patients are reviewed. In 20 patients thrombus was documented on angiography, surgery postmortem examination or serial two dimensional echocardiographic findings; in the remaining five patients two dimensional echocardiographic findings of thrombus were unequivocal. In all 25 patients wall motion abnormalities ranging from hypokinesia to frank dyskinesia were present at the site of the thrombus. Twenty-three patients had an apical thrombus; two had thrombus adjacent to the inferior wall. Clear delineation of the endocardium and thrombus margin was considered essential to the correct diagnosis of thrombus. Both intracavitary motion of the thrombus margin and a layering effect were noted infrequently although they were of benefit in identifying an intracardiac mass as thrombus. In addition, serial evaluations were helpful in establishing the correct diagnosis. False positive diagnoses can be minimized if one understands certain technical limitations of this method and correctly identifies apical structures that are not thrombi. Axial and lateral resolution problems inherent with this technique can produce intracavitary echoes that may simulate thrombi. In addition, normal or pathologic structures at the apex may also simulate thrombi. These structures include the papillary muscles, muscular trabeculae, chordal structures and tangential information from normal myocardium. Varying the sector orientation or acoustic window, or both, will aid in correctly identifying these structures and distinguishing them from left ventricular thrombi.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Coagulation*
  • Echocardiography*
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology
  • Heart Ventricles / surgery
  • Humans
  • Radiography