Published online Jun 26, 2015. doi: 10.4330/wjc.v7.i6.299
Peer-review started: November 26, 2014
First decision: December 12, 2014
Revised: January 6, 2015
Accepted: April 27, 2015
Article in press: April 29, 2015
Published online: June 26, 2015
The left atrium (LA) acts as a modulator of left ventricular (LV) filling. Although there is considerable evidence to support the use of LA maximum and minimum volumes for disease prediction, theoretical considerations and a growing body of literature suggest to focus on the quantification of the three basic LA functions: (1) Reservoir function: collection of pulmonary venous return during LV systole; (2) Conduit function: passage of blood to the left ventricle during early LV diastole; and (3) Contractile booster pump function (augmentation of ventricular filling during late LV diastole. Tremendous advances in our ability to non-invasively characterize all three elements of atrial function include speckle tracking echocardiography (STE), and more recently cardiovascular magnetic resonance myocardial feature tracking (CMR-FT). Corresponding imaging biomarkers are increasingly recognized to have incremental roles in determining prognosis and risk stratification in cardiac dysfunction of different origins. The current editorial introduces the role of STE and CMR-FT for the functional assessment of LA deformation as determined by strain and strain rate imaging and provides an outlook of how this exciting field may develop in the future.
Core tip: Recent advances in speckle tracking echocardiography (STE) and cardiovascular magnetic resonance myocardial feature tracking (CMR-FT) allow a detailed quantification of left atrium (LA) dynamics in terms of strain and strain rate imaging. Corresponding imaging biomarkers are progressively found to have the potential to predict the outcome in a variety of cardiovascular disease states. The current editorial introduces the role of STE and CMR-FT for the functional assessment of LA deformation and provides an outlook of how this exciting field may evolve in the future.