Background: Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is the standard of care for initial evaluation of patients with suspected cardioembolic stroke. While TTE is useful for assessing certain sources of cardiac emboli, its diagnostic capability is limited in the detection of other sources, including left atrial thrombus and aortic plaques. Objectives: To investigate sensitivity, specificity and predictive value of cardiac CT angigography (cCTA), cardiac MRI (CMR), and TTE for recurrence in patients with suspected cardioembolic stroke. Methods: We retrospectively included 151 patients with suspected cardioembolic stroke who underwent TTE and either CMR (n=75) or cCTA (n=76) between January 2013 and May 2017. We evaluated for presence of left atrial thrombus, left ventricular thrombus, vulnerable aortic plaque, cardiac tumors, and valvular vegetation as causes of cardioembolic stroke. The end-point was stroke recurrence. Sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) for recurrent stroke were calculated; the diagnostic accuracy of CMR, cCTA, and TTE was compared between and within groups using area under the curves (AUCs). Results: Twelve and 14 recurrent strokes occurred in the cCTA and CMR groups, respectively. Sensitivity, specificity, PPV and NPV were: 33.3%, 93.7%, 50.0%, and 88.2% for cCTA; 14.3%, 80.3%, 14.3%, and 80.3% for CMR; 14.3%, 83.6%, 16.7%, 80.9% for TTE in the CMR group, and 8.3%, 93.7%, 20.0% and 84.5% for TTE in the cCTA group. Accuracy was not different (p>0.05) between cCTA (0.63, 95% CI [0.49, 0.77]), CMR (0.53, [0.42, 0.63]), TTE in CMR group (0.51, [0.40, 0.61], and TTE in cCTA group (0.51, [0.42, 0.59]). In cCTA group, atrial and ventricular thrombus were detected by cCTA in 3 patients and TTE in 1 patient; in CMR group, thrombus was detected by CMR in 1 patient and TTE in 2 patients. Conclusion: cCTA, CMR, and TTE showed comparably high specificity and NPV for cardioembolic stroke recurrence. cCTA and CMR may be valid alternatives to TTE. cCTA may be preferred given potentially better detection of atrial and ventricular thrombus. Clinical impact: cCTA and CMR have similar clinical performance as TTE for predicting cardioembolic stroke recurrence. This observation may be especially important when TTE provides equivocal findings.
View details for DOI 10.2214/AJR.20.23903
View details for PubMedID 32936016