OBJECTIVE--To study the incidence of spontaneous echo contrast in left atrium of Indian patients with rheumatic mitral stenosis in normal sinus rhythm and to define its relations. SUBJECTS--Transthoracic and multiplane transoesophageal echocardiographic studies were performed in 89 consecutive patients with rheumatic mitral stenosis who were in normal sinus rhythm. RESULTS--Spontaneous echo contrast in the left atrium was seen in 57.3% of patients on multiplane transoesophageal echocardiography and in only 5.6% on transthoracic echocardiography. The mean mitral valve area was 1.07 (SD 0.33) cm2 and 1.32 (0.45) cm2 (P = 0.004), mean left atrial size was 4.27 (0.67) cm and 3.91 (0.5) cm (P = 0.029), mean diastolic pressure gradient was 12.64 (5.69) mm Hg and 10 (5.5) mm Hg (P = 0.049), and absence of mitral regurgitation was seen in 45% and 23% of patients respectively (P = 0.1). Among patients with spontaneous echo contrast, 31% had either left atrial/appendage thrombus or a history of embolism, upsilon 0% in patients without spontaneous echo contrast (P < 0.0001). CONCLUSIONS--There is a high incidence of spontaneous echo contrast in the left atrium in Indian patients with rheumatic mitral stenosis in normal sinus rhythm on multiplane transoesophageal echocardiography. These patients are likely to embolise or form thrombi in the left atrium. The presence of spontaneous echo contrast is also associated with significantly smaller mitral valve area, larger left atrium, and higher mean diastolic mitral pressure gradient.