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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 765921, 12 pages
Review Article

Echocardiographic Evaluation of Left Atrial Mechanics: Function, History, Novel Techniques, Advantages, and Pitfalls

1Faculty of Health, School of Medicine, Witten/Herdecke University, 58448 Witten, Germany
2University of Leeds, Leeds Institute of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Medicine (LICAMM), Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
3Department of Pediatrics, Division of Cardiology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR 97207, USA

Received 22 December 2014; Revised 24 January 2015; Accepted 8 February 2015

Academic Editor: Giovanni Di Salvo

Copyright © 2015 Roman Leischik et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Left atrial (LA) functional analysis has an established role in assessing left ventricular diastolic function. The current standard echocardiographic parameters used to study left ventricular diastolic function include pulsed-wave Doppler mitral inflow analysis, tissue Doppler imaging measurements, and LA dimension estimation. However, the above-mentioned parameters do not directly quantify LA performance. Deformation studies using strain and strain-rate imaging to assess LA function were validated in previous research, but this technique is not currently used in routine clinical practice. This review discusses the history, importance, and pitfalls of strain technology for the analysis of LA mechanics.