BACKGROUND: Age-related left atrial (LA) structural and functional abnormalities may be related to subclinical cerebral infarcts (SCIs) and stroke. We evaluated the association of 3-dimensional echocardiographic LA contractility parameters with SCIs and stroke across the spectrum of tertiles of age increment in elderly patients with sinus rhythm, normal ejection fraction, and no history of atrial fibrillation. METHODS AND RESULTS: We enrolled 407 participants (mean age, 76±8 years; 40% men) from ARIC-NCS (Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Neurocognitive Study) undergoing a brain magnetic resonance imaging and 3-dimensional echocardio-graphic examinations in 2011 to 2013. The sample was analyzed among age tertiles and subgroups: no cerebral magnetic resonance imaging– detectable infarcts (n=315), magnetic resonance imaging– diagnosed SCIs (n=58), and clinically diagnosed stroke (n=34). The frequency of SCIs significantly increased over age tertiles (P trend 0.023). LA global longitudinal strain—a 3-dimensional echocardiographic index of LA reservoir function—and E/e’ divided by LA global longitudinal strain—an index of LA stiffness—worsened across age tertiles (P trend 0.014 and 0.001, respectively), and only in the categories of SCIs (P trend <0.001 and 0.045, respectively) and stroke (P trend 0.001 and 0.011, respectively). LA global longitudinal strain was negatively associated with increased odds of SCIs (P=0.036, P=0.008, and P=0.001, respectively) and strokes (P=0.043, P=0.015, and P=0.001, respectively) over age tertiles, with a significant interaction between age tertiles (interaction P=0.043 and P=0.010, respectively). E/e’ divided by LA global longitudinal strain was positively associated with the presence of SCIs (P=0.037, P=0.007, and P=0.001, respectively) and strokes (P=0.045, P=0.007, and P=0.003, respectively) over age tertiles, with a significant interaction only for SCIs (interaction P=0.040) and not for clinical stroke. CONCLUSIONS: In a large cohort study of elderly patients, among participants with sinus rhythm, normal ejection fraction, and no history of atrial fibrillation, measures of worse age-related LA reservoir function and stiffness are associated with higher odds of SCIs and stroke.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The ARIC study is performed as a collaborative investigation supported by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute contracts HHSN268201100005C, HHSN268201100006C, HHSN268201100007C, HHSN268201100008C, HHSN268201100009C, HHSN268201100010C, HHSN268201100011C, and HHSN268201100012C. Neurocognitive data are collected by U01 HL096812, HL096814, HL096899, HL096902, and HL096917 with previous brain MRI examinations funded by R01-HL70825. Dr Chen is supported by R01 HL126637, R01 HL141288, RF1 NS127266, R01 HL158022, and K24 HL155813.
© 2022 The Authors. Published on behalf of the American Heart Association, Inc., by Wiley.
- 3-dimensional echocardiography
- left atrial function
- left atrial stiffness
- left atrial strain
- subclinical cerebral infarctions
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural