Aims The left atrial appendage (LAA) represents the major source of cardiac thrombus formation in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Phased-array intracardiac echocardiography (ICE) has become available and frequently used during catheter ablation of AF. We attempted to study the feasibility of using ICE for the visualization and evaluation of the LAA from the pulmonary artery (PA) in patients with AF. Methods and Results Eighty patients with AF undergoing catheter ablation (70 males, 57.5 ± 9.1 years) were included. Transoesophageal echocardiography was performed on the prior day before the catheter ablation, and ICE was performed just before the transseptal puncture during the catheter ablation. The ICE catheter was advanced up into the PA from the femoral vein, where the LAA was clearly and entirely visualized by manipulating the ICE catheter. We compared the degree of spontaneous echo contrast, and the correlation was obtained between the ICE and TEE (κ = 0.534, P < 0.001). Furthermore, the LAA flow velocity (LAA emptying and filling velocities) measured by ICE had a good correlation to that measured by TEE (R = 0.872, P < 0.01 and R = 0.753, P < 0.01, respectively). No patients developed any complications. Conclusion The utilization of ICE in the PA is feasible for the observation and evaluation of the LAA.
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