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J Am Coll Cardiol. 2019 Apr 23;73(15):1961-1977. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2019.01.059.

Left Atrial Structure and Function, and Left Ventricular Diastolic Dysfunction: JACC State-of-the-Art Review.

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University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia; Department of Cardiology Westmead Hospital; South West Clinical School, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia. Electronic address:
Baker IDI heart and Diabetes Institute and the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
University of Medicine and Pharmacy "Carol Davila"-Euroecolab, Department of Cardiology, Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases "Prof. Dr. C. C. Iliescu," Bucharest, Romania.
University of Rennes, CHU Rennes, Inserm, LTSI-UMR 1099, Rennes, France.
University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy; IRCCS, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, S. Luca Hospital, Milan, Italy.


Defining left atrial (LA) function has recently emerged as a powerful parameter, particularly in evaluation of left ventricular (LV) diastolic dysfunction (LVDD) and heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. Echocardiographic assessment of LVDD by echocardiography remains a challenging task; recent recommendations provide a simpler approach than previous. However, the shortcomings of the proposed approach (including transmitral flow, tissue velocity, maximum left atrial volume [LAV], and estimated pulmonary artery systolic pressure), lead to the presence and severity of LVDD remaining undetermined in a significant proportion of patients. Maximum LAV is a surrogate measure of the chronicity and severity of LVDD, but LAV alone is an insensitive biomarker of early phases of LVDD, because the LA may take time to remodel. Because the primary function of the LA is to modulate LV filling, it is not surprising that functional LA changes become evident at the earliest stages of LVDD. Moreover, LA function may provide additive value, not only in diagnosing LVDD, but also in grading its severity and in monitoring the effects of treatment. The current review provides a critical appraisal on the existing evidence for the role of LA metrics in evaluation of LVDD and consequent heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.


2-dimensional echocardiography; 3-dimensional echocardiography; heart failure with preserved ejection fraction; left atrial fibrosis; left atrium; left ventricular diastolic function; phasic function; speckle-tracking echocardiography; volumes


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