Left Atrial Strain Has Superior Prognostic Value to Ventricular Function and Delayed-Enhancement in Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Anne G Raafs*, Jacqueline L Vos, Michiel T H M Henkens, Bram O Slurink, Job A J Verdonschot, Daan Bossers, Kit Roes, Suzanne Gerretsen, Christian Knackstedt, Mark R Hazebroek, Robin Nijveldt, Stephane R B Heymans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: The left atrium is an early sensor of left ventricular (LV) dysfunction. Still, the prognostic value of left atrial (LA) function (strain) on cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) in dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) remains unknown.

OBJECTIVES: The goal of this study was to evaluate the prognostic value of CMR-derived LA strain in DCM.

METHODS: Patients with DCM from the Maastricht Cardiomyopathy Registry with available CMR imaging were included. The primary endpoint was the combination of sudden or cardiac death, heart failure (HF) hospitalization, or life-threatening arrhythmias. Given the nonlinearity of continuous variables, cubic spline analysis was performed to dichotomize.

RESULTS: A total of 488 patients with DCM were included (median age: 54 [IQR: 46-62] years; 61% male). Seventy patients (14%) reached the primary endpoint (median follow-up: 6 [IQR: 4-9] years). Age, New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class >II, presence of late gadolinium enhancement (LGE), LV ejection fraction (LVEF), LA volume index (LAVI), LV global longitudinal strain (GLS), and LA reservoir and conduit strain were univariably associated with the outcome (all P < 0.02). LA conduit strain was a stronger predictor of outcome compared with reservoir strain. LA conduit strain, NYHA functional class >II, and LGE remained associated in the multivariable model (LA conduit strain HR: 3.65 [95% CI: 2.01-6.64; P < 0.001]; NYHA functional class >II HR: 1.81 [95% CI: 1.05-3.12; P = 0.033]; and LGE HR: 2.33 [95% CI: 1.42-3.85; P < 0.001]), whereas age, N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide, LVEF, left atrial ejection fraction, LAVI, and LV GLS were not. Adding LA conduit strain to other independent predictors (NYHA functional class and LGE) significantly improved the calibration, accuracy, and reclassification of the prediction model (P < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: LA conduit strain on CMR is a strong independent prognostic predictor in DCM, superior to LV GLS, LVEF, and LAVI and incremental to LGE. Including LA conduit strain in DCM patient management should be considered to improve risk stratification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1015-1026
Number of pages12
JournalJACC-Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • cardiac MRI
  • dilated cardiomyopathy
  • feature tracking strain
  • left atrial phasic function
  • prognosis

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