Background: The role of speckle tracking in the assessment of left atrial (LA) deformation dynamics is not established. We sought to determine the feasibility and reference ranges of LA longitudinal strain indices measured by speckle tracking in a population of normal subjects.
Methods: In 60 healthy individuals, peak atrial longitudinal strain (PALS) and time to peak longitudinal strain (TPLS) were measured using a 12-segment model for the left atrium. Values were obtained by averaging all segments (global PALS and TPLS) and by separately averaging segments measured in the two apical views (4- and 2-chamber average PALS and TPLS).
Results: Adequate tracking quality was achieved in 97% of segments analyzed. Inter and intra-observer variability coefficients of measurements ranged between 2.9% and 5.4%. Global PALS was 42.2 +/- 6.1% (5-95 degrees percentile range 32.2-53.2%), and global TPLS was 368 +/- 30 ms (5-95 degrees percentile range 323-430 ms). The 2-chamber average PALS was slightly higher than the 4-chamber average PALS (44.3 +/- 6.0% vs 40.1 +/- 7.9%, p < 0.0001), whereas no differences in TPLS were found (p = 0.93).
Conclusion: Speckle tracking is a feasible technique for the assessment of longitudinal myocardial LA deformation. Reference ranges of strain indices were reported.