Left atrial strain measured by two-dimensional speckle tracking represents a new tool to evaluate left atrial function

J Am Soc Echocardiogr. 2010 Feb;23(2):172-80. doi: 10.1016/j.echo.2009.11.003.


Background: Left atrial (LA) strain (epsilon) and epsilon rate (SR) analysis by two-dimensional speckle tracking can represent a new tool to evaluate LA function. To assess its potential value, the authors addressed whether LA epsilon and SR measured in normal subjects correlates with other Doppler echocardiographic parameters that evaluate LA function and left ventricular function.

Methods: Sixty-four healthy subjects were studied. LA epsilon and SR were calculated with the reference point set at the P wave, which enabled the recognition of peak negative epsilon (epsilon(neg peak)), peak positive epsilon (epsilon(pos peak)), and the sum of those values, total LA epsilon (epsilon(tot)), corresponding to LA contractile, conduit, and reservoir function, respectively. Similarly, peak negative SR (LA SR(late neg peak)) during LA contraction, peak positive SR (LA SR(pos peak)) at the beginning of LV systole, and peak negative SR (LA SR(early neg peak)) at the beginning of LV diastole were identified.

Results: Global LA epsilon(pos peak), epsilon(neg peak), and epsilon(tot) were 23.2 +/- 6.7%, -14.6 +/- 3.5%, and 37.9 +/- 7.6%, respectively. Global LA SR(pos peak), SR(early neg peak) , and SR(late neg peak) were 2.0 +/- 0.6 s(-1), -2.0 +/- 0.6 s(-1), and -2.3 +/- 0.5 s(-1), respectively. The above-described variables derived from analysis of global LA epsilon and LA SR correlated significantly with Doppler echocardiographic indexes that evaluated the same phase of the cardiac cycle or the same component of the LA function, including indexes derived from mitral inflow, pulmonary vein velocities, tissue Doppler, and LA volumes. Global LA epsilon(pos peak), LA epsilon(tot), and LA SR(early neg peak) also correlated significantly with age or body mass index. Global LA SR(late neg peak) also correlated significantly with age.

Conclusions: LA epsilon analysis is a new tool that can be used to evaluate LA function. Further studies are warranted to determine the utility of LA epsilon in disease states.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Atrial Function / physiology*
  • Echocardiography, Doppler / methods*
  • Elastic Modulus
  • Elasticity Imaging Techniques / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Ventricular Function, Left / physiology*