Use of Advanced CT Technology to Evaluate Left Atrial Indices in Patients with a High Heart Rate or with Heart Rate Variability: The Converge Registry

J Nucl Med Technol. 2021 Mar;49(1):65-69. doi: 10.2967/jnmt.120.253781. Epub 2020 Nov 20.


We intended to assess the ability of current-generation 256-slice coronary CT angiography (CCTA) to measure left atrial volume (LAV), comparing patients with a high heart rate (HiHR) of at least 70 bpm and patients with heart rate variability such as atrial fibrillation (AFib). Methods: Using the prospective Converge Registry of patients undergoing 256-detector CCTA on a Revolution scanner, we enrolled 121 HiHR patients (74 men; mean age, 62.7 ± 12.5 y) and 102 AFib patients (72 men; mean age, 60.5 ± 11.0 y) after obtaining informed consent. Quantitative data analysis of LAV was performed using automated methods, and end-systolic phases were chosen for measurements from CCTA. A Student t test, Wilcoxon rank-sum test, or χ2 test assessed baseline parameters. Univariate and multivariate linear regression analysis was used to assess LAV and LAV index (LAVI) while adjusting potentially confounding variables. Results: Mean LAV was significantly higher in AFib subjects (148.6 ± 57.2 mL) than in HiHR subjects (102.1 ± 36.5 mL) (P < 0.0001). Similarly, mean LAVI was significantly higher in AFib subjects (72.4 ± 28.1 mL/m2) than in HiHR subjects (51.5 ± 19.0 mL/m2) (P < 0.0001). After adjusting for age, body mass index, sex, diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and smoking, subjects with AFib had, on average, LAV measures higher by 41.2 ± 6.7 mL and LAVI values higher by 23.1 ± 3.4 mL/m2 (P < 0.0001). Conclusion: Misalignment and motion artifacts in CCTA images affect diagnostic CT performance, especially in patients with elevated heart rates or profound arrhythmia. However, the new-generation Revolution CCTA provides detailed information on left-atrium-complex morphology and function, in addition to coronary anatomy, in HiHR and AFib patients without additional radiation, scanning, or contrast requirements.

Keywords: arrhythmia; heart rate variability; high heart rate; left atrial volume; motion artifacts.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Computed Tomography Angiography*
  • Heart Atria* / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Technology