Left atrial function: evaluation by strain analysis

Gary C. H. Gan, Aaisha Ferkh, Anita Boyd, Liza Thomas


The left atrium has an important role in modulating left ventricular filling and is an important biomarker of cardiovascular disease and adverse cardiovascular outcomes. While previously left atrial (LA) size was utilised, the role of LA function as a biomarker is increasingly being evaluated, both independently and also in combination with LA size. Strain analysis has been utilised for evaluation of LA function and can be measured throughout the cardiac cycle, thereby enabling the evaluation of LA reservoir, conduit and contractile function. Strain evaluates myocardial deformation while strain rate examines the rate of change in strain. This review will focus on the various types of strain analysis for evaluation of LA function, alterations in LA strain in physiological and pathologic states that alter LA function and finally evaluate its utility as a prognostic marker.