Background and Purpose: Atrial fibrillation (AF) has a high prevalence in the population and it is responsible for up to the 25% of the strokes in elderly people. The aim of our study was to assess the correlations of left atrial (LA) functional parameter, global peak atrial longitudinal strain (PALS), derived from speckle tracking echocardiography (STE), with transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) findings in patients with persistent AF undergoing TEE before electrical cardioversion or ablation procedures. Methods: 79 patients (58 males, 21 females) with persistent AF waiting for cardioversion were included in the study. The patients underwent conventional two-dimensional (2D) and 2D speckle tracking echocardiogram. PALS were measured in all subjects. Patients were divided into two groups according to the presence of reduced LA appendage (LAA) emptying velocity (<25 cm/s) and/or thrombus in the LAA at TEE examination. Results: Patients with reduced LAA emptying velocity and/or thrombus at TEE examination showed a significantly higher LA volume and increased E/E’ ratio. 4-chamber, 2-chamber and global PALS were significantly lower in patients with reduced LAA emptying velocity and/or thrombus (6.8 ± 2.0% vs. 27.5 ± 5.4%, P < 0.0001; 8.6 ± 3.5% vs. 29.4 ± 7.1%, P < 0.0001; 7.9 ± 3.2% vs. 28.5 ± 6.1%, P < 0.0001, respectively). Among all variables analyzed, global PALS demonstrated the highest diagnostic accuracy (AUC of 0.92) and, with a cut-off value less than 8.1%, good sensitivity and specificity of 87% and 94%, respectively, to predict LAA thrombus and/or reduced LAA emptying velocity. Conclusions: Among all parameters derived from transthoracic echocardiography, global PALS was the best predictor of LAA thrombus and/or reduced LAA emptying in patients with persistent non-valvular AF undergoing TEE before electrical cardioversion or ablation procedures.
Credits: Giulia Elena Mandoli