Objectives Velocity vector imaging (VVI) was used to study the characteristics of strain and strain rate (SR) of the left atrium in hypertensive patients with and without left ventricular hypertrophy, in order to explore its value for evaluating left atrial function in patients with hypertension.
Methods Sixty-four hypertensive patients were divided into normal left ventricular geometry (LVN, 37 cases) and left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH, 27 cases) groups, according to their left ventricular mass index. Twenty-five age-matched healthy participants were also included as the control group. Two-dimensional dynamic images of the apical four- and two-chamber echocardiographic views were obtained, and strain/SR curves of eight atrial segments (basal and middle segments from lateral, septal, anterior and inferior walls) were derived by VVI software. Peak systolic strain (ε sys), systolic SR (SRs), early and late diastolic SR (SRe, SRa) were measured and calculated.
Results Compared with the control group, SRe decreased and SRa increased significantly in LVH group (SRe1.69 ± 0.58 vs 2.14 ± 0.65,P < 0.05; SRa: 2.84 ± 1.18 vs 2.06 ± 0.62,P < 0.05), while no significant differences were found between LVN and the control groups regarding SRe, SRa, SRs and εsys (SRe: 1.87 ± 0.57 vs 2.14 ± 0.65; SRa: 2.43 ± 1.04 vs 2.06 ± 0.62; SRs: 2.68 ± 0.92 vs 2.41 ± 0.62, all P > 0.05). Also, no significant differences were observed in SRe, SRa, SRs and ε sys between LVH and LVN groups (P > 0.05).
Conclusions Strain/SR parameters of the left atrium derived from VVI may reflect decreased conduit function and increased booster pump function of the left atrium in hypertensive patients with left ventricular hypertrophy. However, these parameters were not sensitive to changes in left atrial function in hypertensive patients with normal left ventricular geometry.