Although 2-dimensional (2D) transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is the gold standard for the diagnosis of prosthetic valve thrombosis, nonobstructive clots located on mitral valve rings can be missed. Real-time 3-dimensional (3D) TEE has incremental value in the visualization of mitral prosthesis. The aim of this study was to investigate the utility of real-time 3D TEE in the diagnosis of mitral prosthetic ring thrombosis. The clinical outcomes of these patients in relation to real-time 3D transesophageal echocardiographic findings were analyzed. Of 1,263 patients who underwent echocardiographic studies, 174 patients (37 men, 137 women) with mitral ring thrombosis detected by real-time 3D TEE constituted the main study population. Patients were followed prospectively on oral anticoagulation for 25 +/- 7 months. Eighty-nine patients (51%) had thrombi that were missed on 2D TEE and depicted only on real-time 3D TEE. The remaining cases were partially visualized with 2D TEE but completely visualized with real-time 3D TEE. Thirty-seven patients (21%) had thromboembolism. The mean thickness of the ring thrombosis in patients with thromboembolism was greater than that in patients without thromboembolism (3.8 +/- 0.9 vs 2.8 +/- 0.7 mm, p <0.001). One hundred fifty-five patients (89%) underwent real-time 3D TEE during follow-up. There were no thrombi in 39 patients (25%); 45 (29%) had regression of thrombi, and there was no change in thrombus size in 68 patients (44%). Thrombus size increased in 3 patients (2%). Thrombosis was confirmed surgically and histopathologically in 12 patients (7%). In conclusion, real-time 3D TEE can detect prosthetic mitral ring thrombosis that could be missed on 2D TEE and cause thromboembolic events. (c) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.