Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 217-222

Left ventricular thrombus: An interesting presentation of primary antiphospholipid antibody syndrome with a mini-review of the literature

Department of Cardiology, Government General Hospital, Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, India

Date of Submission20-May-2020
Date of Web Publication20-Jan-2021

Correspondence Address:
G Ravi Kiran
Department of Cardiology, Government General Hospital, Kurnool - 518 002, Andhra Pradesh
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jcecho.jcecho_52_20

Rights and Permissions

Antiphospholipid syndrome (APLS) is characterized by recurrent thrombosis. We report the case of a 36-year-old male who had acute right-sided ischemic stroke and right leg ischemia secondary to left ventricular (LV) thrombus caused by primary APLS. The literature review suggested that the LV thrombus presented most commonly with systemic embolism and was associated with a mortality rate of 22.2% with treatment. Thrombophilic workup in young patients with a systemic thromboembolic episode (s) is advised.

Keywords: Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, left ventricular thrombosis, lupus anticoagulant, mini-review, stroke in the young

How to cite this article:
Kiran G R, Shashivardhan J, Chandrasekhar P. Left ventricular thrombus: An interesting presentation of primary antiphospholipid antibody syndrome with a mini-review of the literature. J Cardiovasc Echography 2020;30:217-22

How to cite this URL:
Kiran G R, Shashivardhan J, Chandrasekhar P. Left ventricular thrombus: An interesting presentation of primary antiphospholipid antibody syndrome with a mini-review of the literature. J Cardiovasc Echography [serial online] 2020 [cited 2023 Jan 31];30:217-22. Available from: https://www.jcecho.org/text.asp?2020/30/4/217/307354

  Introduction Top

Antiphospholipid syndrome (APLS) is a multisystem autoimmune disease that encompasses primary APLS (P-APLS), secondary APLS (S-APLS), seronegative, and catastrophic APLS. It is characterized by the presence of autoantibodies, hypercoagulability, and vascular thrombosis.[1]

The heart is involved mainly in the form of valvular lesions (immune-mediated) and usually does not cause hemodynamic significance. However, occur of ventricular thrombus is very rare, whose epidemiology is unknown.

  Case Report Top

A 36-year-old male presented with a complaint of 8-day history of weakness of the right upper limb and lower limb. He was an alcoholic (2 units/day) and smoker (5 pack-years) but was nondiabetic and nonhypertensive. There were no other chronic illnesses for which the patient is on medication.

On examination, he was fully conscious with a pulse rate and blood pressure of 84 bpm (regular) and 130/80 mmHg (supine), respectively. He had an upper motor neuron type of weakness (power: 4/5) on his right side, and other systemic examinations were within normal limits. His electrocardiogram and chest X-ray were normal, and routine blood investigations revealed a white cell count of 7.6 × 109/L, hemoglobin of 14.4 g/dL, platelets of 255 × 109/L, creatinine of 1.1 mg/dl, and all within reference limits (WRL). Tests for HIV, hepatitis B virus surface antigen, and anti-hepatitis C virus core immunoglobulin M were negative.

His emergency CT brain (plain) showed middle cerebral artery territory acute infarct [later confirmed by MRI brain, [Figure 1]]. A transthoracic echocardiogram done on the day of his admission revealed normal left ventricular (LV) function (ejection fraction: 63.5%) and cardiac chamber size (indexed LV volume: 41.7 ml/m2) with no regional wall motion abnormality. Notably, a large (5 cm X 4.3 cm) mobile mass (probably thrombus) protruding into the LV outflow tract is identified in the LV cavity (later confirmed by cardiac MRI as thrombus) [Figure 2].
Figure 1: Magnetic resonance imaging brain showing acute infarct (red asterisk) in the left capsuloganglionic area (middle cerebral artery territory)

Click here to view
Figure 2: Two-dimensional-echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging showing mobile (small solid arrows), protruding (big hollow arrows), and large (blue circle) thrombus

Click here to view

On day 3, the patient developed weakness of the right leg and pain in the right foot. Color duplex Doppler showed occlusion of the right femoral artery with thrombus, and no flow was detected in the popliteal artery. A provisional diagnosis of primary intracardiac thrombus with multi-site embolism was made. Interestingly, his activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) was found to be elevated before the initiation of heparin (54s), so blood samples were sent for a detailed autoimmune antibody panel and the thrombophilic screen. He was treated with unfractionated heparin (UFH), whose dose was adjusted to the lower end[2] of individualized heparin therapeutic aPTT range.[3]

In view of acute limb ischemia, CT peripheral angiogram was done and it showed a total occlusion of the distal superficial femoral artery [Figure 3]. Hence, the patient was offered catheter-directed thrombolysis followed by surgical removal of thrombus, but he refused. After shared decision making with the family, he was continued with UFH infusion.
Figure 3: Computed tomography peripheral angiogram of lower limbs showing embolic occlusion of the right superficial femoral artery

Click here to view

His was tested positive for lupus anticoagulant (LA: by clot-based assay). IgG anticardiolipin antibody (aCL: 42.71 GPL/ml) and IgG anti-β-2 glycoprotein antibody (β2 GPI: 50.6 GPL/ml) were elevated in high titers (by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method), and antinuclear antibody was negative. His homocysteine, protein C, protein S, and antithrombin III levels were WRL. Thus, a diagnosis of primary antiphospholipid antibody syndrome was made.[4] Due to financial constraints, hemolytic workup, Coombs test, and anti-dsDNA workup were not done. On day 4, the patient experienced sudden death presumably due to coronary embolism.

  Discussion and Mini-review of the Literature Top

APLS is characterized by arterial and more commonly venous thromboembolic events.[5] Although intracardiac thrombus is rare, it is reported to be most common in the right atrium and is more frequently associated with P-APLS as compared to S-APLS.[6] Although there are no data specific to LV thrombus, available literature suggests that the presence of high levels of LA and aCL was significantly associated with arterial[7] and intracardiac thrombosis.[8] A 5-year prospective study also showed that the median time to a recurrent thrombotic event is shorter in patients with high titer of aCL antibody and intracardiac thrombus.[9]

Due to the rarity of this association, we did a systematic search in the MEDLINE database for cases of LV thrombi in APLS. We used MeSH terms such as “intracardiac” or “cardiac thrombus” AND “antiphospholipid” or “APLS” or “antiphospholipid antibodies.” Only retrievable English language citations were included in the study. A total of 138 citations were found. Thirty-nine cases met our criteria [Figure 4] and [Supplementary Material].
Figure 4: PRISMA flow diagram of search results

Click here to view

A total of 40 cases of APLA syndrome associated with LV thrombus were reported (including our patient), with a mean age of 35.7 years (one patient age is unknown) and male: female ratio of 1.05:1. 27.5% of the patients have documented S-APLS (SLE being most common). There is a paucity of complete data on the autoantibody pattern; only 4% (1/25) and 7.1% (2/28) of the documented case(s) were negative for LA and aCL antibodies, respectively. In 3 patients, data on clinical presentation were not published, and in the remaining (37), the most common (62.1%) presentation was systemic embolism. 27.5%[10] of the patients have documented underlying myocardial dysfunction. Different strategies employed for treating LV thrombus were anticoagulation, corticosteroids, and surgery. Embolic manifestations were treated with catheter-directed thrombolysis or embolectomy or percutaneous interventions or surgical bypass. Based on the retrievable data, the mortality rate among patients treated with medical therapy (antithrombotics +/- corticosteroids) alone for LV thrombus was 16.7% (4/24), and 80% (8/10) of the patients who underwent surgical removal were alive. The overall reported mortality rate was 22.2% (8/36).

Although the available literature suggests a more than 80% recovery rate with medical management, our patient died. This is probably because, our patient presented with a large, protruding, mobile thrombus, which is considered as risk factor for embolization and thus complications[11] including death. Due to higher risk for systemic thromboembolism when treated with anticoagulation alone, these high-risk thrombi should be treated with thrombectomy.[10] Accordingly, our patient was planned for surgical removal of thrombus, which the patient refused and ultimately succumbed to death.

  Conclusion Top

LV thrombus is a rare manifestation of antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APLS), which can occur even in the absence of valvular involvement and cardiac dysfunction. This case highlights the importance of evaluation for thrombophilic disorder in young (<40 years) patients with a systemic thromboembolic episode(s), in particular, if it involves an atypical site or multiple sites.

The literature review suggests that LV thrombus in APLS presents most commonly with the systemic embolic phenomenon. This association has a mortality rate of 22.2% with treatment.

Patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate consent forms.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form, the patient has given his consent for his images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patient understands that name and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Kolitz T, Shiber S, Sharabi I, Winder A, Zandman-Goddard G. Cardiac manifestations of antiphospholipid syndrome with focus on its primary form. Front Immunol 2019;10:941.  Back to cited text no. 1
Ruff IM, Jindal JA. Use of heparin in acute ischemic stroke: Is there still a role? Curr Atheroscler Rep 2015;17:51.  Back to cited text no. 2
Mehta TP, Smythe MA, Mattson JC. Strategies for managing heparin therapy in patients with antiphospholipid antibody syndrome. Pharmacotherapy 2011;31:1221-31.  Back to cited text no. 3
Ahluwalia J, Sreedharanunni S. The laboratory diagnosis of the antiphospholipid syndrome. Indian J Hematol Blood Transfus 2017;33:8-14.  Back to cited text no. 4
Abu-Zeinah G, Oromendia C, DeSancho MT. Thrombotic risk factors in patients with antiphospholipid syndrome: A single center experience. J Thromb Thrombolysis 2019;48:233-9.  Back to cited text no. 5
Dhibar DP, Sahu KK, Varma SC, Kumari S, Malhotra P, Mishra AK, et al. Intra-cardiac thrombus in antiphospholipid antibody syndrome: An unusual cause of fever of unknown origin with review of literature. J Cardiol Cases 2016;14:153-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
Reynaud Q, Lega JC, Mismetti P, Chapelle C, Wahl D, Cathébras P, et al. Risk of venous and arterial thrombosis according to type of antiphospholipid antibodies in adults without systemic lupus erythematosus: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Autoimmun Rev 2014;13:595-608.  Back to cited text no. 7
Galli M, Luciani D, Bertolini G, Barbui T. Lupus anticoagulants are stronger risk factors for thrombosis than anticardiolipin antibodies in the antiphospholipid syndrome: A systematic review of the literature. Blood 2003;101:1827-32.  Back to cited text no. 8
Turiel M, Sarzi-Puttini P, Peretti R, Rossi E, Atzeni F, Parsons W, et al. Thrombotic risk factors in primary antiphospholipid syndrome: A 5-year prospective study. Stroke 2005;36:1490-4.  Back to cited text no. 9
Cousin E, Scholfield M, Faber C, Caldeira C, Guglin M. Treatment options for patients with mobile left ventricular thrombus and ventricular dysfunction: A case series. Heart Lung Vessel 2014;6:88-91.  Back to cited text no. 10
Habash F, Vallurupalli S. Challenges in management of left ventricular thrombus. Ther Adv Cardiovasc Dis 2017;11:203-13.  Back to cited text no. 11


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]

This article has been cited by
1 Multiple biventricular thrombi in a patient with alcoholic cardiomyopathy and COVID-19: A tragic association in a deadly pandemic
Pankaj V. Jariwala, Kartik Pandurang Jadhav, Saket Khetan
Journal of Cardiology Cases. 2022;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Application Value of Combined Detection of Anti-2-GPI, ACL, and Lupus Anticoagulant in the Diagnosis of Patients with Antiphospholipid Syndrome
Li Peng, Hong Ding, Milan Yang, Yangyan Cheng, Xiaoyan Luo, Xin Fan, Wei Jiao, Bo Li
Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2022; 2022: 1
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 A Cryptogenic Stroke Associated With Infective Endocarditis and Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome: Case Report and Literature Review
Lei Chen, Ping Zhang, Xuan Zhu, Minmin Zhang, Benqiang Deng
Frontiers in Neurology. 2022; 13
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
Case Report
Discussion and M...
Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded126    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 3    

Recommend this journal