Load Dependency of Left Atrial Strain in Normal Subjects

Davide Genovese, Amita Singh, Valentina Volpato, Eric Kruse, Lynn Weinert, Megan Yamat, Victor Mor-Avi, Karima Addetia, Roberto M. Lang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Left atrial (LA) longitudinal strain is a novel parameter used for the evaluation of LA function, with demonstrated prognostic value in several cardiac diseases. However, the extent of load dependency of LA strain is not well known. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of acute changes in preload on LA strain, side by side with LA volume, in normal subjects. Methods: Twenty-five healthy volunteers (13 men; mean age, 31 ± 2 years) were prospectively enrolled, who underwent two-dimensional and three-dimensional echocardiographic imaging during acute stepwise reductions in preload using a tilt maneuver: baseline at 0° followed by 40° and 80°. Left ventricular and LA size and function parameters were measured using standard methodology, and LA strain-time curves were obtained using speckle-tracking software (TomTec), resulting in reservoir, conduit, and contractile strain components. All parameters were compared among the three loading conditions using one-way analysis of variance for repeated measurements. Results: Although there were no significant changes in blood pressure, heart rate increased significantly with tilt. As expected, LA volumes, left ventricular volumes, and left ventricular ejection fraction, as well as E wave, A wave, and e′ significantly decreased with progressive inclination. In parallel, LA reservoir, conduit, and contractile strain values decreased with reduction in preload (reservoir: 42.9 ± 3.9% to 27.5 ± 3.8%, P <.001; conduit: 29.3 ± 2.7% to 20.2 ± 5.0%, P <.001; contractile: 13.6 ± 2.9% to 7.3 ± 3.5%, P <.001). Paired post hoc analysis showed that all LA strain values were significantly different among all three tilt phases. Of note, percentage change in LA reservoir strain was significantly smaller than that in LA maximum volume. Conclusions: In normal subjects, LA strain is preload dependent but to a lesser degree than LA volume. This difference underscores the relative advantage of LA strain over maximum volume, when LA assessment is used as part of the diagnostic paradigm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1221-1228
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Society of Echocardiography
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2018


  • Atrial function
  • Left atrium
  • Preload
  • Tilt maneuver

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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