Echocardiographically determined left atrial (LA) size has been shown to be a significant predictor of cardiovascular (CV) outcomes. We review the physiology and echocardiographic assessment of LA size and functions and describe the pathophysiologic determinants and clinical implications of LA enlargement. However, despite strong evidence, standardized LA size assessment and generalized applicability of its clinical implications to patient care have yet to be determined. Nevertheless, current findings suggest that echocardiographically determined LA size may become an important clinical risk identifier in preclinical CV disease and should be assessed as a part of routine comprehensive echocardiographic evaluation.
Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; diastolic dysfunction; echocardiography; left atrial size; mortality; stroke.