The right atrium (RA) is the cardiac chamber that has been least well studied. Due to recent advances in interventional cardiology, the need for greater understanding of the RA anatomy and physiology has garnered significant attention. In this article, we review how a comprehensive assessment of RA dimensions and function using either echocardiography, cardiac computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging may be used as a first step towards a better understanding of RA pathophysiology. The recently published normative data on RA size and function will likely shed light on RA atrial remodelling in atrial fibrillation (AF), which is a complex phenomenon that occurs in both atria but has only been studied in depth in the left atrium. Changes in RA structure and function have prognostic implications in pulmonary hypertension (PH), where the increased right ventricular (RV) afterload first induces RV remodelling, predominantly characterized by hypertrophy. As PH progresses, RV dysfunction and dilatation may begin and eventually lead to RV failure. Thereafter, RV overload and increased RV stiffness may lead to a proportional increase in RA pressure. This manuscript provides an in-depth review of RA anatomy, function, and haemodynamics with particular emphasis on the changes in structure and function that occur in AF, tricuspid regurgitation, and PH.
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