Left Atrial Volumes and Function by Three-Dimensional Echocardiography: Reference Values, Accuracy, Reproducibility, and Comparison With Two-Dimensional Echocardiographic Measurements

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Background—Our study sought to (1) identify reference values for left atrial (LA) volumes and phasic function indices by 3-dimensional echocardiography (3DE) and compare them with those measured by 2-dimensional echocardiography (2DE) and (2) analyze their relationship with age, sex, body size, and left ventricular function. Accuracy and reproducibility of 3DE and 2DE have been also tested to evaluate the robustness of our data.Methods and Results—We obtained maximal, minimal, and preA LA volumes by 3DE and 2DE in 276 healthy volunteers (18–79 years; 57% women). Limits of normality for LA volumes and total LA emptying fraction were larger with 3DE than with 2DE (maximal LA volume: 43 versus 35 mL/m2; preA LA volume: 31 versus 25 mL/m2; minimal LA volume: 18 versus 14 mL/m2; 53 versus 48%, respectively; P<0.001). 3DE LA volumes indexed by body surface area were similar in men and women and increased with age. On multivariable analysis, age, weight, and left ventricular systolic and diastolic function indices resulted as correlates of LA 3DE indices. LA volumes were tightly correlated with cardiac magnetic resonance measurements, yet more underestimated by 2DE versus 3DE (bias±SD: −17±16 versus −7±15 mL, respectively). Among all LA parameters, maximal LA volume and total emptying fraction were the most reproducible, including at test-retest and at expert versus trainee comparisons.Conclusions—This study provides reference values for LA 3DE volumes and function from a relatively large cohort of healthy subjects with a wide age range. Our data may help clinicians to identify LA remodeling and dysfunction.

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