Prevalence and correlates of echocardiographic left atrial enlargement in hypertensive outpatients in clinical practice

Cesare Cuspidi, Francesca Negri, Laura Lonati, Maria Lorenza Muiesan, Anna Capra, Alberto Milan, Carla Sala, Gian Battista Danzi, Marcella Longo, Alberto Morganti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Prevalence of left atrial enlargement (LAE) in hypertension has been mostly assessed in population-based samples and selected hypertensive groups. A few data are available in clinical practice. We examined LAE prevalence and severity in a cohort of hypertensive patients referred by general practitioners to a routine echocardiographic examination. A total of 2170 hypertensive individuals (mean age 62 years, 53% men) referred by practitioners to 17 outpatient echocardiographic laboratories across Italy for detection of hypertensive cardiac disease were included in the study. LAE was defined as: A) absolute LA diameter >4.0 cm in men and >3.8 cm in women; B) LA diameter normalized to body surface area (BSA) >2.3 cm/m 2 in both sexes. Left atrial enlargement was graded as mild, moderate, and severe according to Lang's report. Patients with LAE were 38% by criterion A, and 20% by criterion B. A moderate/severe increase in LA size was present in 34% (A) and 32% (B) of patients with LAE. Severe LAE was 3.3-fold (A) and 2.6-fold (B) more frequent in women than in men. Left ventricular mass was the strongest correlate of absolute LA diameter as well as of normalized LA diameter, after age. Left atrial enlargement defined either by absolute or normalized LA diameter is a frequent cardiac phenotype in hypertensive patients referred to echo-labs in clinical practice. This cardiac parameter is closely related to LV mass and its severity is highly prevalent in women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)328-335
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Experimental Hypertension
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


  • Echocardiography
  • Hypertension
  • Left atrium (LA)
  • Left ventricular mass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Physiology

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