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Eur J Echocardiogr. 2011 Jun;12(6):421-30. doi: 10.1093/ejechocard/jeq175. Epub 2011 May 12.

Left atrial function: physiology, assessment, and clinical implications.

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Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.


The interest in the left atrium (LA) has resurged over the recent years. In the early 1980s, multiple studies were conducted to determine the normal values of LA size. Over the past decade, LA size as an imaging biomarker has been consistently shown to be a powerful predictor of outcomes, including major public health problems such as atrial fibrillation, heart failure, stroke, and death. More recently, functional assessment of the LA has been shown to be, at least as, if not more robust, a marker of cardiovascular outcomes. Current available data suggest that the combined evaluation of LA size and LA function will augment prognostication. The aim of this review is to provide a critical appraisal of current echocardiographic techniques for the assessment of LA function and the implications of such assessment for prediction and disease prevention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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