Abstract 1846: Decreased Left Atrial Mechanical Function and Ageing: A Mechanism for Increased Prevalence of Atrial Fibrillation in the Elderly?
Background: The prevalence of atrial fibrillation (AF) increases with age and is associated with increased left atrial (LA) size, a process termed remodeling. Whether aging is also associated with changes in LA mechanical function, however, is unknown.
Methods: Therefore, we used tissue velocity (TV), strain rate (SR), and strain (ϵ) imaging to measure LA mechanical function to assess whether aging is associated with changes in LA mechanical function. Peak TV a velocity, SR a velocity, and ϵ during atrial systole were measured in the septal, lateral, anterior and inferior walls of the LA in all patients and differences compared.
Results: A total of 46 patients (27 males, mean age 56 ± 16 years, range of 26 to 95 years) were studied. Mean TV a velocity, SR a velocity and ϵ was significantly different across age groups, and varied directly with increasing age (p <0.01, r = 0.43, p = 0.01, r = 0.37, p= 0.02, r = 0.34, respectively), but not with LA size (p = 0.71, p = 0.55, p = 0.84, respectively).
Conclusions: Aging is not only associated with an increase in LA size, but also a decrease in LA mechanical function, which is likely a component of the remodeling process. These findings have implications for understanding AF in the elderly. In addtion a decrease in atrial mechanical function with aging may also contribute to stroke risk in AF.