Relation of Left Atrial Size to Atrial Fibrillation in Patients Aged ≤22 Years

Am J Cardiol. 2017 Jan 1;119(1):52-56. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2016.09.008. Epub 2016 Sep 30.


Left atrial (LA) dilation has been shown to be associated with atrial fibrillation (AF) in the adult population, with some studies indicating that larger LAs are more prone to AF recurrence. The relation of LA size to AF in the pediatric and young adult population has not been investigated. In this study, all pediatric patients (aged ≤22 years) who presented to Boston Children's Hospital from January 2002 to December 2012 with AF were reviewed. Patients with significant congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathies, proven channelopathies, previous cardiac surgery, end-stage renal disease, or severe lung disease/cystic fibrosis were excluded. LA measurements were taken using the echocardiogram performed at the initial presentation. In total, 48 patients with AF were identified. The median age at presentation was 17.1 years (range 3.7 to 22.9 years); 38 patients (79%) were men. Eleven patients (23%) had at least 1 recurrence of their AF. There was no difference in body mass index, prevalence of systemic hypertension, alcohol, stimulant, or illicit drug use between those who had an isolated episode of AF and those who had a recurrence. There was no significant difference in LA dimension Z-scores between groups, with only 2 patients (1 isolated AF, 1 recurrent AF) having Z-scores >2. In conclusion, AF in the young without underlying heart disease is not associated with LA dilation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnostic imaging
  • Atrial Fibrillation / pathology*
  • Boston
  • Child, Preschool
  • Echocardiography
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Atria / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Atria / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult