Background: Systemic hypertension and type 2 diabetes mellitus are associated with impaired left atrial (LA) function, but whether LA functional abnormalities also occur in patients with hypertension and diabetes who have normal LA sizes is unknown. The aim of this study was to explore LA strain using speckle-tracking echocardiography in patients with hypertension or diabetes and normal LA size.
Methods: LA strain was studied by speckle-tracking echocardiography in 155 patients with hypertension or diabetes with LA volume indexes < 28 mL/m(2) (83 with hypertension, 34 with diabetes, and 38 with both diabetes and hypertension) and 36 age-matched controls. The following indexes were measured: peak atrial longitudinal strain, time to peak atrial longitudinal strain, atrial longitudinal strain during early diastole and late diastole, and peak LA strain rate during ventricular systole, early diastole, and late diastole.
Results: Peak atrial longitudinal strain was lower in patients with hypertension (29.0 ± 6.5%) and those with diabetes (24.7 ± 6.4%) than in controls (39.6 ± 7.8%) and further reduced in patients with diabetes and hypertension (18.3 ± 5.0%) (P < .0001). Similar results were found for atrial longitudinal strain during early diastole, atrial longitudinal strain during late diastole, and peak LA strain rate during ventricular systole and early diastole (P < .0001 for all). An inverse trend was found for time to peak atrial longitudinal strain, whereas no differences in peak LA strain rate during late diastole were observed. Two-way analysis of variance showed no interactions between hypertension and diabetes. In multivariate analyses, hypertension and diabetes were both independently associated with decreases in all LA strain and strain rate indexes, with the exception of peak LA strain rate during late diastole.
Conclusions: LA deformation mechanics are impaired in patients with hypertension or diabetes with normal LA size. The coexistence of both conditions further impairs LA performance in an additive fashion. Speckle-tracking echocardiography may be considered a promising tool for the early detection of LA strain abnormalities in these patients.
Copyright © 2011 American Society of Echocardiography. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.