The role of transthoracic echocardiography in embolic acute limb ischaemia

  • A. Lewis
  • G. Kirk
  • A. McKinley
  • P. H. Blair
  • D. W. Harkin
Original Article

Abstract

Introduction

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.

Report

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.

Discussion

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.

Keywords

Acute limb ischaemia Embolism Embolectomy Transthoracic echocardiogram 

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Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Lewis
    • 1
  • G. Kirk
    • 1
  • A. McKinley
    • 1
  • P. H. Blair
    • 1
  • D. W. Harkin
    • 1
  1. 1.Regional Vascular Surgery UnitRoyal Victoria Hospital BelfastBelfastUK

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