We aim to study left atrial (LA) strains in patients with hypertensive response to exercise (HRE) and determine their usefulness in predicting masked hypertension (HT).Methods
Ninety-eight normotensive patients who had HRE were included and were divided into two groups after masked HT had been diagnosed by ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. Conventional echocardiographic parameters and two-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography-based LA strain parameters were compared.Results
Patients with masked HT have higher left ventricle mass index (LVMI) (88.1±11.3 vs. 82.5±8.7 g/m2, P<0.05), left atrium maximum volume index (LAVI) (34.5±5.1 vs. 30.2±5.6 ml/m2, P<0.001), lower global longitudinal LA strain during ventricular systole (GLAs-res) (32.5±8.9 vs. 40.2±9.1%, P<0.001), and lower global longitudinal LA strain during late diastole (GLAs-pump) (15.8±4.1 vs. 18.1±5.8%, P<0.05). In univariate analysis, a good negative correlation was found between GLAs-res versus LAVI (r=−0.451, P<0.001), GLAs-res versus LVMI (r=−0.457, P<0.001) and a moderate negative correlation was present between GLAs-pump versus LAVI (r=−0.317, P<0.001) and GLAs-pump versus LVMI (r=−0.288, P<0.05). GLAs-res and LAVI were found to be independent predictors of masked HT. Receiver-operating characteristic analysis was carried out. Area under the curve to predict masked HT was 0.729 (95% confidence interval: 0.623–0.832, P<0.001). GLAs-res less than 33.1% predicted masked HT with 73% sensitivity and 61.5% specificity.Conclusion
LA strain parameters were impaired in patients with masked HT and can be used to predict the presence of masked HT in patients with HRE.