Clinical cardiology 2016 Oct 7() doi 10.1002/clc.22595
Left ventricular (LV) diastolic dysfunction depends on an impaired relaxation and stiffness. Abnormal LV relaxation contributes to the development of atrial fibrillation (AF), but the role of LV stiffness in AF remains unclear.
Diastolic wall strain (DWS), a load-independent, noninvasive direct measure of LV stiffness, correlates with prevalent AF.
This study included 328 consecutive subjects with structurally normal hearts: 164 paroxysmal AF patients and 164 age- and sex-matched (1:1) controls. We calculated the DWS from the M-mode echocardiographic measurements of the LV posterior wall thickness at end-systole and end-diastole during sinus rhythm.
The DWS was lower in the AF patients (0.35 ± 0.07) than in the controls (0.41 ± 0.06; P < 0.001). After adjusting for the risk factors of AF using a conditional logistic regression analysis, a history of hypertension, plasma brain-type natriuretic peptide level, and DWS were independently associated with AF prevalence, whereas body mass index, LV mass index, left atrial volume, and any conventional indices of the diastolic function were not. A low DWS (<0.380) was the strongest indicator of AF (odds ratio: 6.22, 95% confidence interval: 3.08-14.2, P < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS
Increased LV stiffness estimated by DWS was a strong determinant of the prevalence of AF. LV stiffness may play a role in the pathogenesis of paroxysmal AF in structurally normal hearts.