Background Strokes occur in some patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), even when the CHA2DS2-VASc (congestive heart failure, hypertension, age >75 years, diabetes mellitus, prior stroke or transient ischemic attack, vascular disease, age>65 years, female sex) score is low. Objective We sought to determine the factors defining the residual stroke risk in patients with AF and low CHA2DS2-VASc scores, with a particular focus on the hemodynamics and geometry of the left atrial appendage (LAA). Methods From February 1, 2008 to December 31, 2012, 66 consecutive patients with nonvalvular AF and a CHA2DS2-VASc score of 0 or 1 (except a point for the female sex) were enrolled. All patients were admitted with a diagnosis of acute ischemic stroke. The control group consisted of patients with nonvalvular AF without a history of stroke. Results The LAA orifice area was larger (4.35 ± 1.51 cm2 vs 2.83 ± 0.9 cm2; P <.001) and the LAA flow velocity was lower (41.9 ± 22.7 cm/s vs 54.4 ± 19.9 cm/s; P <.001) in the stroke group than in the control group. Low LAA flow velocity (<40 cm/s) and large LAA orifice area (>4 cm2) were independent predictors of stroke. Patients with an LAA flow velocity of <40 cm/s and an LAA orifice of >4.0 cm2 had a markedly higher odds ratio (odds ratio 10.9; 95% confidence interval 3.0–40.0; P <.001) of stroke than did those with preserved LAA flow velocity and smaller LAA orifice. Conclusion Even in patients with low CHA2DS2-VASc scores, the presence of both decreased LAA flow velocity and increased LAA orifice size was associated with a high odds ratio of stroke. Future large prospective studies are needed to assess whether these patients should receive anticoagulants.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by a CMB-Yuhan research grant of Yonsei University College of Medicine (6-2015-0173), Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (NRF-2017R1A2B3003303) and grants from the Korean Healthcare technology R&D project funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare (HI16C0058, HI15C1200).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)