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Hypertens Res. 2007 Jan;30(1):13-21.

Noninvasive assessment of left atrial function by strain rate imaging in patients with hypertension: a possible beneficial effect of renin-angiotensin system inhibition on left atrial function.

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Second Department of Internal Medicine, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, Japan.


Renin-angiotensin system (RAS) inhibitors are likely to reduce the development of atrial fibrillation by preventing atrial fibrosis. Strain rate (SR) imaging is a novel echocardiographic technique to quantify left atrial (LA) function. However, it has not been determined whether SR imaging is applicable for detection of LA dysfunction in hypertensive (HT) patients. We used SR imaging to assess alteration in LA function in HT patients and its modification by RAS inhibitors. SR imaging was performed in 80 HT patients and 50 age-matched normotensive (NT) subjects. HT patients were divided into two groups according to left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and LA dilatation. Peak SR was measured at each LA segment (septal, lateral, posterior, anterior, and inferior) and mean peak systolic SR (SR-LAs) was calculated by averaging data in each segment. Mean SR-LAs levels in the dilated LA group (1.97+/-0.45 s(-1), n=25) and non-dilated LA group (2.15+/-0.57 s(-1), n=55) were significantly (p<0.05) lower than that in NT subjects (2.53+/-0.71 s(-1)). Irrespective of the presence or absence of LVH, mean SR-LAs in HT patients was lower than that in NT subjects. When RAS inhibitors were used, the mean SR-LAs level in the non-dilated LA group was equivalent to that in NT subjects. In HT patients, mean SR-LAs, an index of LA reservoir function, decreases before development of LA enlargement and LVH. Treatment with RAS inhibitors appears to preserve LA reservoir function in HT patients without dilated LA. SR imaging can detect LA dysfunction in HT patients and is useful for evaluation of the therapeutic benefit on LA reservoir function.

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