Background: Although a number of studies have reported the role of an increased left atrial (LA) size on stroke, limited data are collected about the relationship between LA enlargement and recurrent ischemic stroke in the Chinese population. Our aim was to assess the association of LA size with the risk of stroke recurrence, particularly with recurrent cardioembolic or cryptogenic stroke in ischemic stroke patients.
Methods: The study recruited 313 consecutive patients with acute first-ever ischemic stroke. Echocardiographic LA diameter was measured and indexed by height and body surface area separately. The endpoint was recurrent ischemic stroke. Cox proportional hazard models were used to examine the association of LA size with total recurrent ischemic stroke and recurrent cardioembolic or cryptogenic stroke while adjusting for baseline demographics characteristics, clinical factors, echocardiographic left ventricular ejection fraction, and medication.
Results: Over a median follow-up period of 1.63 years, 47 recurrent ischemic strokes (21 were cardioembolic or cryptogenic) occurred. In a multivariate model adjusted for potential confounders, compared with the bottom tertiles of LA diameter indexed to height (LA diameter/H), the top tertile of LA diameter/H was significantly associated with the total recurrent ischemic stroke (adjusted HR 3.610, 95% CI 1.870-6.967, p < .001) and the composite of recurrent cardioembolic or cryptogenic stroke (adjusted HR 5.673, 95% CI 1.780-18.084, p = .003). Results were similar when LA diameter indexed to body surface area (LA diameter/BSA) was involved in the analysis.
Conclusion: LA size is an independent predictor of total recurrent ischemic stroke and the composite of recurrent cardioembolic or cryptogenic stroke.
Keywords: echocardiography; left atrial size; predictor; recurrent ischemic stroke.