To evaluate the prevalence of left ventricular thrombi after thrombolytic therapy, 144 consecutive patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) were prospectively studied with two-dimensional echocardiography 1 and 8 days after admission. Patients were treated 2.1 +/- 0.8 hours after the onset of symptoms. Thrombolytic protocol included 120 mg of recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA), 5000 IU of heparin, followed by a continuous infusion of 25,000 IU/24 hours for at least 5 days, and 250 mg of aspirin a day. Seventy-six patients had AMI of the anterior wall; of these, seven (9.2%) developed left ventricular thrombi. The remaining 68 patients had infarctions of the inferior wall; of these, two (2.9%) developed left ventricular thrombi. Since anterior wall infarction not treated with thrombolytic therapy is associated with a 25% to 40% rate of left ventricular thrombi, we conclude that early thrombolytic therapy with rt-PA, heparin, and aspirin reduces the formation of left ventricular thrombus in AMI of the anterior wall. Apical left ventricular thrombi developed more frequently in patients with previous infarctions compared with those without (4 of 17 versus 4 of 127, p = 0.01). During the 12-month follow-up period, no patient in the study had manifestations of peripheral emboli.
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