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J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2014 Jul;27(7):709-716.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.echo.2014.03.010. Epub 2014 Apr 24.

Left atrial strain provides incremental value for embolism risk stratification over CHA₂DS₂-VASc score and indicates prognostic impact in patients with atrial fibrillation.

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Department of Medicine and Biological Science, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, Maebashi, Gunma, Japan.
Department of Medicine and Biological Science, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, Maebashi, Gunma, Japan; Menzies Research Institute Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Electronic address:
Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Maebashi Red Cross Hospital, Maebashi, Gunma, Japan.
Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Geriatrics Research Institute and Hospital, Maebashi, Gunma, Japan.



The aim of this study was to investigate whether left atrial (LA) strain has incremental value over the CHA2DS2-VASc score for stratifying the risk for embolism in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and whether LA strain predicts poststroke mortality.


Consecutive patients with paroxysmal or persistent AF with acute embolism (82 patients) or without (204 controls) were prospectively enrolled. Global peak LA longitudinal strain during ventricular systole (LAS) was assessed during AF rhythm. Global LAS was compared between the groups in the first cross-sectional study. Then, the 82 patients with acute embolism were prospectively followed during the second prospective cohort study.


Global LAS was lower in patients with acute embolism than in controls (P < .001). Global LAS < 15.4% differentiated patients with acute embolism from controls, with an area under the curve of 0.83 (P < .0001). In multivariate analysis, global LAS was independently associated with acute embolism (odds ratio, 0.74; 95% confidence interval, 0.67-0.82; P < .001) and had an incremental value over the CHA2DS2-VASc score (P < .0001). Furthermore, 26 patients with acute embolisms died during a median follow-up period of 425 days. Global LAS independently predicted mortality after embolism.


In this observational study, LA strain provided incremental diagnostic information over that provided by the CHA2DS2-VASc score, suggesting that LA strain analysis could improve the current risk stratification of embolism in patients with AF. LA strain can also predict poststroke mortality.


Atrial fibrillation; Left atrial function; Left atrial strain; Speckle-tracking; Stroke

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