This study aimed to assess left (LA) and right atrial (RA) function in patients with beta-thalassaemia major. Thirty-eight patients (19 males) aged 34.5 ± 10.7 years and 43 (18 males) controls aged 30.3 ± 12.6 years (p = 0.12) were studied. The maximum RA and LA areas were measured using two-dimensional planimetry, while atrial and ventricular strain and strain rates were quantified using speckle-tracking echocardiography. Compared with controls, patients had significantly reduced LA and RA peak positive strain and total strain, and LA strain rate during ventricular systole and at atrial contraction (all p < 0.05). The LA and RA strain parameters were significantly associated (all p < 0.05). The maximum LA (10.2 ± 1.6 cm2/m2 vs. 8.6 ± 1.3 cm2/m2, p < 0.001) and RA (9.2 ± 1.2 cm2/m2 vs. 7.5 ± 1.3 cm2/m2, p < 0.001) areas were significantly greater in patients than controls. The LV and RV strain and early strain rates were similar between patients and controls (all p > 0.05). Four patients with significant myocardial iron overload had larger LA area (p < 0.001) than those without. Functional and structural remodeling of both the right and left atria occurs in patients with beta-thalassaemia major, even in the absence of ventricular diastolic dysfunction.
Keywords: Atrial function; Beta-thalassemia major; Strain.