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      The Left Atrium: From the Research Laboratory to the Clinic

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          Studies of left atrial (LA) function, until the latter part of the 20th century, were mostly limited to experimental animal models and to studies related to clinical research in the cardiac catheterization laboratory. For this reason, LA function has received considerably less attention than left ventricular (LV) functions, even though evidence suggests that LA myopathy and failure may exist as an isolated entity, precede and/or coexist with LV myopathy. The introduction of echocardiography and Doppler echocardiography in clinical practice has contributed significantly to our understanding of LA function and its interrelationships with the LV, aorta, pulmonary artery and other parts of the cardiovascular system. In addition, LA with the secretion of atrial natriuretic peptides is playing an important role in cardiovascular and neurohumoral homeostasis. Today, it is well known that LA structural and functional abnormalities that are present in many diseases and disorders constitute a powerful prognostic indicator. As technology (echocardiography, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography and others) continues to evolve, it is expected that, in the near future, LA structure and function will be routinely used as LV function is used today.

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          Most cited references 59

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              Left atrial volume as a morphophysiologic expression of left ventricular diastolic dysfunction and relation to cardiovascular risk burden.

              Left ventricular (LV) diastolic dysfunction is prevalent in the community. Current assessment of diastolic function can be complex, involving Doppler evaluation of an array of hemodynamic data. The relation between left atrial (LA) volume and diastolic function, and between LA volume and cardiovascular risk and disease burden are not well known. In the present prospective study of 140 adults, mean age 58 +/- 19 years, referred for a clinically-indicated echocardiogram and in sinus rhythm, with no history of atrial arrhythmias or valvular heart disease, we determined the LA volume, LV diastolic function status, cardiovascular risk score (based on age, gender, history of systemic hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, and smoking), and cardiovascular disease burden (based on confirmed vascular disease, congestive heart failure, and transient ischemic attack or stroke). LA volume was found to correlate positively with age, body surface area, cardiovascular risk score, LV end-diastolic and end-systolic dimensions, LV mass, diastolic function grade, tissue Doppler E/E', tricuspid regurgitation velocity, and negatively with LV ejection fraction (all p <0.006). In a multivariate clinical model, LA volume indexed to body surface area (indexed LA volume) was independently associated with cardiovascular risk score (p <0.001), congestive heart failure (p = 0.014), vascular disease (p = 0.012), transient ischemic attack or stroke (p = 0.021), and history of smoking (p = 0.008). In a clinical and echocardiographic model, indexed LA volume was strongly associated with diastolic function grade (p <0.001), independent of LV ejection fraction, age, gender, and cardiovascular risk score. In patients without a history of atrial arrhythmias or valvular heart disease, LA volume expressed the severity of diastolic dysfunction and provided an index of cardiovascular risk and disease burden.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                August 2014
                19 June 2014
                : 129
                : 1
                : 1-17
                aDivision of Cardiovascular Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA; bMedical School, University of Athens, and cBiomedical Research Foundation, Academy of Athens, Athens, dAristotelian University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, and eMedical School, University of Thessaly, Larissa, Greece
                Author notes
                *Prof. Filippos K. Triposkiadis, MD, FESC, FACC, Department of Cardiology, Larissa University Hospital, PO Box 1425, GR-411 10 Larissa (Greece), E-Mail
                360935 Cardiology 2014;129:1-17
                © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 9, Tables: 3, Pages: 17
                Turning Basic Research into Clinical Success


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