Regression of intracardiac thrombus after embolic stroke.
Using two-dimensional echocardiography, we studied the pathophysiology of intracardiac thrombus regression accompanied by anticoagulant therapy in 82 consecutive patients with acute cardiogenic cerebral embolism. We noted intracardiac thrombus in 15 patients; nine of the 15 were started on anticoagulant therapy with warfarin potassium to maintain the prothrombin time between 2.5 and 3.5 (international normalized ratio). Serial two-dimensional echocardiograms were obtained for these nine patients before and after anticoagulation, with the plasma levels of fibrinopeptide A, fibrinopeptide B beta 15-42, and D-dimer measured at the same time. In eight of the nine patients the intracardiac thrombi gradually decreased in size while the plasma level of fibrinopeptide A fell to within the normal range and the plasma levels of fibrinopeptide B beta 15-42 and D-dimer remained above the normal ranges. In the other patient the thrombus disappeared, with embolization to the right arm immediately after starting anticoagulant therapy. Mobile or small thrombi regressed earlier than nonmobile or large ones. We conclude that regression of intracardiac thrombi after anticoagulation may be based on the relative predominance of plasma fibrinolytic activity over anticoagulation-inhibited thrombin activity.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association