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Eur J Echocardiogr. 2011 Mar;12(3):214-21. doi: 10.1093/ejechocard/jeq176. Epub 2010 Dec 11.

Indexed left atrial volume predicts the recurrence of non-valvular atrial fibrillation after successful cardioversion.

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Cardiology Department, Modena University Hospital, Modena, Italy.



Atrial fibrillation (AFib) induces remodelling of the left atrium (LA). Indexed LA volume (iLAV) as more accurate measure of LA size has not been evaluated as predictor of recurrence of AFib after cardioversion.


We identified 411 adults (mean age 64.1 ± 11.4 years, 34.5% women) who underwent successful cardioversion and with no history of other atrial arrhythmia, stroke, congenital heart disease, valvular dysfunction, surgery, thyroid dysfunction, acute or chronic inflammatory disease, and pacemaker. All echocardiographic data were retrieved from the laboratory database. iLAV was measured off-line using Simpson's method. Clinical characteristics and recurrence of clinical AFib were determined by review of medical records. Patients with scheduled follow-up of at least 6 months were included. About 250 patients (60.8%) developed AFib recurrence after a median (25th-75th percentile) follow-up of 345.0 (210.0-540.0) days. Patients with AFib recurrence had significantly greater iLAV than patients without AFib recurrence (39.7 ± 8.4 vs. 31.4 ± 4.6, P < 0.001). Each mL/m(2) increase in iLAV was associated with a 30% increased risk of AFib recurrence [odds ratio (OR) 1.30, confidence interval (CI) 1.23-1.38, P < 0.001]. In a multivariable model, each mL/m(2) increase in iLAV was independently associated with a 21% increase in the risk of AFib recurrence (OR 1.21, CI 1.11-1.30, P < 0.001). The areas under receiver operating characteristic curves, generated to compare LA diameter and iLAV as predictors of AFib recurrence, were 0.59 ± 0.3 and 0.85 ± 0.2, respectively (P < 0.001).


The present study is the first to show that larger iLAV before cardioversion, as a more accurate measure of LA remodelling than LA diameter, is strongly and independently associated with higher risks of AFib recurrence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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