Coumadin ridge

Dr Vincent Tatco et al.

A coumadin ridge, also called warfarin ridge or left lateral ridge, is a band-like embryological remnant in the left atrium between the left superior pulmonary vein and the left atrial appendage. It is considered an anatomical variant. 

The ridge is formed by the coalition of the left superior pulmonary vein and left atrial appendage which results to a lateral fold of left atrial wall tissue. The ridge contains the ligament of Marshall, autonomic nerve bundle, and small atrial or sinoatrial node artery.

Echocardiography and MRI 

The usual appearance of a coumadin ridge is a band-like structure with a thin proximal part and a bulbous distal part that resembles a cotton-tip applicator. This is seen as a "Q" tip sign on transoesophageal echocardiogram.

Cardiac MRI using gradient echo pulse sequence, which provides the bright blood image, is useful in projecting the ridge. Contrast injection is usually not necessary but may be helpful in identifying organized thrombus or tumor in the left atrial appendage. 

A prominent coumadin ridge may protrude into the endocardial surface of the left atrium and can be mistaken for a thrombus or mass on imaging 1-4. The unique location of the coumadin ridge between the left superior pulmonary vein and left atrial appendage is an important clue to its identification.

It was called "coumadin"  or "warfarin" ridge since it was commonly misdiagnosed as thrombus which resulted to unnecessary anticoagulation.

Possible considerations include:

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Article Information

rID: 51914
System: Cardiac
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Warfarin ridge
  • Left lateral ridge

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