Left Atrial Size and Atrial Fibrillation in Mitral Stenosis
Factors Influencing Their Relationship
In a series of 135 patients with mitral valvular stenosis, three groups were identified: those in sinus rhythm, those with intermittent atrial fibrillation, and those with longstanding, established atrial fibrillation. Examination of the relationships between atrial fibrillation, hemodynamic findings and radiologic data in mitral stenosis was undertaken. Analysis of clinical and hemodynamic factors in the three groups revealed that: 1) age is an etiological factor in the production of atrial fibrillation, as suggested by the age distribution among the three groups; 2) left atrial enlargement may be the result, rather than the cause, of atrial fibrillation; and 3) severity of mitral stenosis is not invariably related to the incidence of atrial fibrillation. Hemodynamic measurements were not significantly different among the three groups, with the single exception of lower cardiac outputs found in patients with established atrial fibrillation. Since no single consequence of mitral stenosis always produces atrial fibrillation, it is suggested that several factors in different combinations can initiate the self-perpetuating process of atrial fibrillation and that the classic form of the arrhythmia may lead secondarily to left atrial enlargement.
- Received March 12, 1973.
- Accepted July 13, 1973.
- © 1973 American Heart Association, Inc.