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J Magn Reson Imaging. 2015 Aug;42(2):379-89. doi: 10.1002/jmri.24851. Epub 2015 Jan 28.

Assessment of left atrial function by MRI myocardial feature tracking.

Evin M1,2,3,4, Cluzel P1,2,3,4,5, Lamy J1,2,3,4, Rosenbaum D1,2,3,4, Kusmia S1,6, Defrance C2,3,4, Soulat G6, Mousseaux E7, Roux C1,2,3,4, Clement K1, Hatem SN1,8, Redheuil A1,2,3,4,5, Kachenoura N1,2,3,4.

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Institute of Cardiometabolism and Nutrition, Paris, France.
Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06, UMR 7371, UMRS 1146, Laboratoire d'Imagerie Biomédicale, Paris, France.
INSERM, UMRS 1146, Laboratoire d'Imagerie Biomédicale, Paris, France.
CNRS, UMR 7371, Laboratoire d'Imagerie Biomédicale, Paris, France.
Department of Cardiovascular Radiology, Institut of Cardiologie, Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, France.
ICAN Imaging Core Lab, Paris, France.
Cardiology Departement, European Hospital Georges Pompidou, Paris, France.
INSERM, UMRS 1166, Laboratoire d'Imagerie Biomédicale, Paris, France.



Left atrium (LA) volumes and function are predictors of cardiovascular events. Because LA function cannot be assessed from cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) using the well-established left ventricular tagging techniques, we hypothesized that adequate feature tracking (FT) applied to conventional cine MRI data could characterize LA function accurately.


We studied 10 young (28 ± 7 years) and 10 elderly (64 ± 6 years) healthy subjects, as well as 20 patients with moderate to severe aortic valve stenosis (AVS; 73 ± 15 years, effective aortic valve area: 0.67 ± 0.36 cm(2) ). MRI cine two-, three-, and four-chamber views were analyzed using a newly proposed FT method based on spatial correlation and endocardial detection resulting in: regional and global longitudinal strain and strain rate, radial motion fraction and relative velocity for the three LA motion phases including reservoir, conduit, and LA contraction.


FT reliability was indicated by a good overlap between tracking results and manual LA endocardial borders, the low error for comparison against theoretical strains introduced in a synthetic phantom and the good inter-observer reproducibility (coefficient of variation < 15%). While all LA functional parameters were significantly impaired in AVS patients (p < 0.04), subclinical age-related variations induced a decreasing trend on all LA parameters but were significant only for radial conduit function parameters (p < 0.03). Finally, LA functional parameters characterized LA alteration in AVS with higher sensitivity than conventional LA volumetric parameters.


Left atrial FT is feasible on MRI cine images and its addition to conventional analysis tools might enhance the diagnosis value of MRI in many heart diseases.


feature tracking; left atrial function; magnetic resonance imaging; myocardial strain and strain rate

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