Left Atrial Strain
A Must or a Plus for Routine Clinical Practice?
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Left atrial (LA) function has been the subject of study for many years.1 Interesting pathophysiological concepts have been described but to date, not many of these results have been translated into real clinical use and value.2 Doppler and volumetric approaches were the first methods used to assess LA function. More recently, speckle tracking echocardiography, initially developed for the left ventricle (LV), has been applied to assess LA deformation.3 Speckle tracking echocardiography–derived analysis of LA performance (namely LA strain) provides a window on all phases of LA function (reservoir, conduit, and booster pump; Figure) and has shown prognostic significance in different pathological conditions, and the results obtained with this method are not directly comparable to those obtained by volumetric approaches.4,5 If LA strain is to become accepted for assessment of LA performance, then a standardized methodology, common reference values, and the impact of different diseases on LA function need to be precisely described.6,7