The role of transthoracic echocardiography in embolic acute limb ischaemia
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Embolic acute limb ischaemia (ALI) is commonly treated by re-vascularization and long-term anticoagulant therapy. Transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) is commonly used to screen for cardiac embolic source, but may not affect management.
We reviewed 115 consecutive patients with embolic ALI, 61% underwent TTE, with cardiac thrombus identified in only 3%. Incidental severe abnormalities requiring further cardiological investigation were detected in 19% of patients. Inpatient TTE did not affect mortality, morbidity, amputation rate, or anticoagulation.
Transthoracic echocardiography seldom identifies a cardiac embolic source, but identifies many patients with severe incidental cardiac abnormalities, suggesting cardiology screening of these patients remains important.
KeywordsAcute limb ischaemia Embolism Embolectomy Transthoracic echocardiogram
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