Left Atrial Size Indicator of Diastolic Function, Cardiac Risk

Surrogate marker can be measured during stress echocardiography

THURSDAY, Sept. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Left atrial size, a surrogate marker of diastolic function, is an independent risk factor for myocardial infarction and cardiac death, according to the results of a study published in the Sept. 25 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. Left atrial size can be measured during stress echocardiography and used as a "powerful" prognostic indicator, the authors write.

Farooq A. Chaudhry, M.D., of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, and colleagues conducted a study of 2,705 patients who underwent stress echocardiography. Left atrial enlargement was defined as size indexed to body surface area of at least 2.4 centimeters per meter squared.

Patients with left atrial dilation had a greater risk of cardiac events (relative risk, 1.8) than those with normal left atrial size, after correcting for ischemia and left ventricular systolic dysfunction.

"Left atrial size is a powerful prognosticator and should be routinely used in the prognostic interpretation of stress echocardiography," the authors conclude.

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