Quantitative assessment of atrial conduit function: a new index of diastolic dysfunction

Clin Res Cardiol. 2016 Jan;105(1):17-28. doi: 10.1007/s00392-015-0882-8. Epub 2015 Jun 30.


Background: Heart failure (HF) epidemic has increased need for accurate diastolic dysfunction (DD) quantitation. Cardiac MRI can elucidate left atrial (LA) phasic function, and accurately quantify its conduit contribution to left ventricular (LV) filling, but has limited availability. We hypothesized that the percentage of LV stroke volume due to atrial conduit volume (LACV), as assessed using 3D-echocardiography, can differentiate among progressive degrees of DD in HF patients.

Methods and results: Sixty-three subjects (66 ± 12 years) with DD and ejection fraction (EF) ranging 14-62% underwent full-volume 3D-echocardiography. Simultaneous LA and LV volume curves as function of time (t) were calculated, with LACV as LACV(t) = [LV(t) - LV minimum] - [LA maximum LA(t)], expressed as % of stroke volume. Patients were assigned to four (0-3, from none to severe) DD grades, according to classical Doppler parameters. In this population DD is linked to LACV, with progressively higher percentages of conduit contribution to stroke volume associated with higher degrees of DD (p = 0.0007). Patients were then dichotomized into no-mild (n = 26) or severe (n = 37) DD groups. Apart from atrial volume, larger (p < 0.02) in severe DD group, no differences between groups were found for LV diastolic and stroke volume, EF, mass and flow propagation velocity. However, a significant difference was found for LACV expressed as % of LV stroke volume (29 ± 15 vs. 43 ± 23%, p = 0.016).

Conclusions: Our study confirms that LACV contribution to stroke volume increases along with worsening DD, as assessed in the context of (near) constant-volume four-chamber heart physiology. Thus, LACV can serve as new parameter for DD grading severity in HF patients.

Keywords: Diastolic dysfunction; Full-volume 3D-echocardiography; Left atrial conduit function.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atrial Function, Left / physiology*
  • Diastole / physiology*
  • Echocardiography, Doppler
  • Echocardiography, Three-Dimensional
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Stroke Volume / physiology*