BACKGROUND: Previous studies have focused on left and right ventricular remodeling in cystic fibrosis (CF), whereas atrial function has not been assessed in detail so far. We sought to investigate left and right atrial (LA and RA) function in patients with CF.
METHODS: This retrospective investigation included 82 CF patients (64 survivors and 18 non-survivors) who were referred to CF department over the period of four years, as well as 32 control subjects matched by age and gender. All participants underwent an echocardiographic examination including a strain analysis, which was performed offline and blinded for groups.
RESULTS: LA and RA volume indexes were significantly higher in CF patients than in controls and were particularly high in CF non-survivors. LA conduit and reservoir functions were significantly worse in CF survivors and non-survivors, compared with control subjects. RA phasic function was not different between controls, CF survivors and non-survivors. The parameters of lung function (forced vital capacity (FVC) and forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1)) and the LA and RA volume indexes were predictors of mortality in CF patients. However, in a multivariate analysis, only FVC was an independent predictor of mortality in CF patients.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that both atria are enlarged, but only LA function is impaired in CF patients. LA reservoir and conduit function is particularly deteriorated in CF patients. Though statistical significance was not reached due to our limited sample size, there was a trend of deterioration of LA and RA function from controls across CF survivors to CF non-survivors. LA and RA enlargement represented predictors of mortality in CF patients.