Multi-chamber speckle tracking imaging and diagnostic value of left atrial strain in cardiac amyloidosis

Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2022 Dec 19;24(1):130-141. doi: 10.1093/ehjci/jeac057.


Aims: Cardiac amyloidosis (CA) affects the four heart chambers, which can all be evaluated through speckle-tracking echocardiography (STE).

Methods and results: We evaluated 423 consecutive patients screened for CA over 5 years at two referral centres. CA was diagnosed in 261 patients (62%) with either amyloid transthyretin (ATTR; n = 144, 34%) or amyloid light-chain (AL; n = 117, 28%) CA. Strain parameters of all chambers were altered in CA patients, particularly those with ATTR-CA. Nonetheless, only peak left atrial longitudinal strain (LA-PALS) displayed an independent association with the diagnosis of CA or ATTR-CA beyond standard echocardiographic variables and cardiac biomarkers (Model 1), or with the diagnosis of ATTR-CA beyond the validated IWT score in patients with unexplained left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy. Patients with the most severe impairment of LA strain were those most likely to have CA or ATTR-CA. Specifically, LA-PALS and/or LA-peak atrial contraction strain (PACS) in the first quartile (i.e. LA-PALS <6.65% and/or LA-PACS <3.62%) had a 3.60-fold higher risk of CA, and a 3.68-fold higher risk of ATTR-CA beyond Model 1. Among patients with unexplained LV hypertrophy, those with LA-PALS or LA-PACS in the first quartile had an 8.76-fold higher risk for CA beyond Model 1, and a 2.04-fold higher risk of ATTR-CA beyond the IWT score.

Conclusions: Among STE measures of the four chambers, PALS and PACS are the most informative ones to diagnose CA and ATTR-CA. Patients screened for CA and having LA-PALS and/or LA-PACS in the first quartile have a high likelihood of CA and ATTR-CA.

Keywords: cardiac amyloidosis; echocardiography; left atrium; speckle-tracking; strain.

MeSH terms

  • Amyloidosis*
  • Atrial Fibrillation*
  • Echocardiography / methods
  • Heart Atria / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular