The purpose of this study was to assess left atrial (LA) function and myocardial mechanics in patients with degenerative mitral regurgitation (MR). Eighty patients with degenerative MR and twenty control subjects were included prospectively. LA volume (LAV) and right atrial (RA) volume (RAV) were measured with three-dimensional transthoracic echocardiography at three phases of the cardiac cycle as maximal volume (LAV(max) and RAV(max)), minimal volume (LAV(min) and RAV(min)), and volume before atrial contraction (LAV(pre-A) and RAV(pre-A)). From these volumes, active stroke volume (SV), distensibility, and emptying fraction were calculated. LA strain and strain rate were measured with vector velocity imaging on four- and two-chamber views. Left ventricular (LV) filling pressures were increased in patients with severe MR (E/E': 16 +/- 4 vs. 10 +/- 3 in control subjects). LAV(max), LAV(min), and LAV(pre-A) all increased with increasing MR volume. As LAV(pre-A) increased, both LA total SV (r = 0.68, P < 0.001) and passive filling volume (r = 0.76, P < 0.001) increased. LA active SV increased with LAV(pre-A) up to a certain point, upon which it decreased despite further increased LAV(pre-A) (r = 0.53, P < 0.001). LA late negative strain decreased with increasing MR volume. A positive correlation existed between LA late negative strain and LA active emptying fraction (r = 0.55, P < 0.001). In contrast, RA function was comparable between groups. In conclusion, LA contractility (active SV) increased in response to an increase in LA preload (LAV(pre-A)) up to a point beyond which LA contractility (active SV) decreased. Whether this is due to working of the LA at the descending limb of the Frank-Starling curve or mainly due to changes in afterload still remains unclear.
|Journal||American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|