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J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2011 Jun;24(6):651-62. doi: 10.1016/j.echo.2011.02.004. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

Left atrial systolic and diastolic dysfunction in heart failure with normal left ventricular ejection fraction.

Author information

1
Department of Cardiology (Campus Virchow-Klinikum), Charité University Hospital, Humboldt University of Berlin, Augustenburger Platz 1, Berlin, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The authors hypothesized that in patients with heart failure with normal left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (HFNEF), the same fibrotic processes that affect the subendocardial layer of the left ventricle could also alter the subendocardial fibers of the left atrium. Consequently, these fibrotic alterations, together with chronically elevated LV filling pressures, would lead to both systolic and diastolic subendocardial dysfunction of the left atrium (i.e., impaired left atrial [LA] longitudinal systolic and diastolic function) in patients with HFNEF.

METHODS:

Patients with HFNEF and a control group consisting of asymptomatic patients with LV diastolic dysfunction (LVDD) matched by age, gender, and LV ejection fraction were studied using two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography.

RESULTS:

A total of 420 patients were included (119 with HFNEF and 301 with asymptomatic LVDD). LA longitudinal systolic (LA late diastolic strain rate) and diastolic (LA systolic strain and strain rate) function was significantly more impaired in patients with HFNEF (LA late diastolic strain rate, -1.17 ± 0.63 s(-1); LA systolic strain, 19.9 ± 7.3%; LA systolic strain rate, 1.17 ± 0.46 s(-1)) compared with those with asymptomatic LVDD (-1.80 ± 0.70 s(-1), 30.8 ± 11.4%, and 1.67 ± 0.59 s(-1), respectively) (all P values < .0001). On multiple regression analysis, LV global longitudinal systolic strain and diastolic strain rate were the most important independent predictors of LA longitudinal systolic and diastolic function, in contrast to noninvasive LV filling pressures (i.e., mitral E/e' average septal-lateral ratio), which were modestly related to LA longitudinal systolic and diastolic function. Furthermore, in patients with HFNEF, the subendocardial function of both the left atrium and the left ventricle was significantly impaired in high proportions. In that regard, in patients with HFNEF, the rate of LA longitudinal systolic and diastolic dysfunction was 65.5% and 28.5%, whereas the prevalence of LV longitudinal systolic and diastolic dysfunction was 81.5% and 58%, respectively. In addition, patients with both systolic and diastolic longitudinal dysfunction of the left atrium presented worse NYHA functional class as compared with those with normal LA longitudinal function.

CONCLUSIONS:

In patients with HFNEF, LA subendocardial systolic and diastolic dysfunction is common and possibly associated with the same fibrotic processes that affect the subendocardial fibers of the left ventricle and to a lesser extent with elevated LV filling pressures. Furthermore, these findings suggest that LA longitudinal systolic and diastolic dysfunction could be related to reduced functional capacity during effort in patients with HFNEF.

PMID:
21458230
DOI:
10.1016/j.echo.2011.02.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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