Aims The irregular atrial electrical activity during atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with a variable left ventricular (LV) systolic function. The mechanisms determining LV function during AF remain incompletely understood. We aimed at elucidating how changes in RR-interval and LV preload affect LV function during AF.
Methods and results Beat-to-beat speckle-tracking echocardiography was performed in 10 persistent AF patients. We evaluated the relation between longitudinal LV peak strain and preceding RR-interval during AF. We used the CircAdapt computational model to evaluate beat-to-beat preload and peak strain during AF for each patient by imposing the patient-specific RR-interval sequences and a non-contractile atrial myocardium. Generic simulations with artificial RRinterval sequences quantified the haemodynamic changes induced by sudden irregular beats. Clinical data and simulations both showed a larger sensitivity of peak strain to changes in preceding RR-interval at slow heart rate (HR) (cycle length, CL
Conclusions During AF, longitudinal LV peak strain is highly variable, particularly at fast HR. Beat-to-beat changes in preload explain the differences in LV systolic function. Simulations revealed that a reduced diastolic LV filling time can explain the increased variability at fast HR.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Speckle-tracking echocardiography
- Left ventricular function
- Computer simulations