Influence of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease on Atrial Mechanics by Speckle Tracking Echocardiography in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation.

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The present study aimed to examine differences in left- and right atrial characteristics between atrial fibrillation (AF) patients with and without chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). For this, 420 patients (mean age 68±10 years, 73% female) with first diagnosis of AF and baseline echocardiography were included. Of these, 143 COPD patients were compared with 277 patients without COPD matched by age, gender and body surface area. Additionally 38 healthy controls without cardiovascular risk factors, matched for age, were included. For all 3 groups, left atrial (LA) volumes and diameter, LA reservoir strain (LASr), left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), right atrial (RA) area and diameter, RA reservoir strain (RASr) and tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (TAPSE) were evaluated on transthoracic echocardiography. Baseline characteristics were similar in patients with and without COPD except for smoking and a history of heart failure (42% vs. 11%, p<0.001 and 48% vs 37%, p=0.036 for COPD and non-COPD patients, respectively). Also, COPD patients less often used β-blockers (63% vs.75%, p=0.017). There were no significant differences in LVEF, LA volume and RA area between COPD and non-COPD patients. Compared to the controls, AF patients had impaired LVEF, LASr and RASr. Only RASr was significantly worse in COPD patients as compared to non-COPD patients (15.3% [9.0 – 25.1] vs. 19.6% [11.8 – 28.5], p=0.013). Additionally, a trend towards worse RASr was observed with increasing COPD severity. In conclusion, AF patients with concomitant COPD have more impaired RA function compared to patients without COPD but with similar atrial size and LA function.

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