Left atrial vortex size and velocity distributions by 4D flow MRI in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation: Associations with age and CHA2DS2-VASc risk score
Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
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© 2019 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine Background: Characterization of left atrial (LA) hemodynamics in paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) may provide valuable insights for thromboembolic risk. Purpose: To evaluate LA vortex formation and velocity distributions by 4D flow MRI and identify associations with age, LA/LV (left ventricle) function, and established risk scores. Study Type: Prospective clinical. Population: Patients with PAF (n = 45, 46 ± 14 years) and healthy controls (n = 15, 54 ± 9 years) were enrolled. MRI Sequences: 3T standardized cardiac MRI protocol inclusive of 4D flow MRI. Assessment: Flow analysis planes were prescribed at each pulmonary vein. Velocity distribution analysis and vortex size quantification by the Lambda2 (λ2) method were performed in the LA. Statistics: Pearson or Spearman's correlation coefficients, r, were calculated to identify relationships between 4D flow-derived LA parameters and age, LA/LV function, and CHA2DS2-VASc stroke risk score. Univariate and multivariate determinants of stroke risk were assessed using linear regressions. To compare parameters within multiple groups, one-way analysis of variance or Kruskal–Wallis was used. Results: LA vortice sizes were observed in all subjects using λ2 showing inverse correlations with peak pulmonary vein inflow velocities (P < 0.05), and positive correlations with LA volume (P < 0.05). Vortex size was elevated in PAF at all phases of the cardiac cycle, being most prominent at end early diastole (3.98 ± 1.84 cm3 vs. 6.93 ± 3.11 cm3, P = 0.001). Velocity distribution analysis showed a greater incidence of flow stasis among patients with PAF (P < 0.05). In univariate regression, vortex size was associated with the CHA2DS2-VASc risk score at peak systole (0.457 ± 0.038, P ≤ 0.001). However, in multivariate regression age was the dominant determinant of stroke risk (0.348 ± 0.012, P = 0.006). Data Conclusion: This study demonstrated that LA vortex size is increased among low-risk patients with PAF and is associated with the CHA2DS2-VASc risk score. Age remained the dominant determinant of stroke risk. Level of Evidence: 2. Technical Efficacy: Stage 3. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2020;51:871–884.