Multimodality imaging for thromboembolic risk assessment in atrial fibrillation

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Atrial fibrillation is the most widely represented sustained arrhythmia in the world. Thromboembolic risk assessment represents the main clinical challenge associated with this condition, requiring enormous medical, social and economical efforts. Several pieces of evidence in literature highlight how clinical risk factors are not enough for a correct thromboembolic risk stratification of patients with atrial fibrillation, since thromboembolic events have been proven to occur even in patients with low clinical risk scores. A comprehensive multimodality imaging approach, with special regard to echocardiography and new technologies seems to be the best method for this purpose. The aim of this review is to propose a hybrid thromboembolic risk stratification system that combinines clinical evaluation with instrumental clues on left atrial remodeling, fibrosis and deformation which, could be useful especially for patients classified at low thromboembolic risk according to clinical scores.

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