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Am J Cardiol. 2008 Jun 15;101(12):1759-65. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2008.02.067.

Echocardiographic assessment of left ventricular diastolic function and filling pressure in atrial fibrillation.

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Division of Cardiovascular Disease and Internal Medicine, Mayo Echocardiography Research Center, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.


Diastolic dysfunction has been linked to 2 epidemics: atrial fibrillation (AF) and heart failure. The presence and severity of diastolic dysfunction are associated with an increased risk for first AF and first heart failure in patients with sinus rhythm. Furthermore, the risk for heart failure is markedly increased once AF develops. The evaluation of diastolic function once AF has developed remains a clinical challenge. The conventional use of Doppler echocardiography for the assessment and grading of diastolic dysfunction relies heavily on evaluating the relation of ventricular and atrial flow characteristics. The mechanical impairment of the left atrium and the variable cycle lengths in AF render the evaluation of diastolic function difficult. A few Doppler echocardiographic methods have been proved clinically useful for the estimation of diastolic left ventricular filling pressures in AF, but these appear to be underutilized. Several innovative methods are emerging that promise to provide greater precision in diastolic function assessment, but their clinical utility in AF remains to be established. In conclusion, this review provides an up-to-date discussion of the evaluation of diastolic function assessment in AF and how it may be important in the clinical management of patients with AF.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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