Left atrial diameter in nonvalvular atrial fibrillation: An echocardiographic study

Howard C. Dittrich, Lesly A. Pearce, Richard W. Asinger, Ruth McBride, Richard Webel, Miguel Zabalgoitia, Gregory D. Pennock, Robert E. Safford, Robert M. Rothbart, Jonathan L. Halperin, Robert G. Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


Background: The left atrium (LA) is usually enlarged in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (AF), but factors associated with LA diameter are incompletely defined. Methods and Results: This transthoracic echocardiographic cohort study includes 3465 participants with nonvalvular AF in 3 multicenter clinical trials. LA diameter determined by M-mode echocardiography was correlated with clinical and echocardiographic features by cross-sectional multivariate regression analyses. The mean LA diameter was 47 ± 8 mm, on average 6 mm larger in those with AF at the time of echocardiography than in those with sinus rhythm (48 vs 42 mm, P < .001). Patient age and body weight were independently predictive of LA diameter (P < .0001), but sex, body surface area, and body mass index were not. The estimated independent contribution of atrial rhythm to LA diameter was approximately 2.5 mm. Prolonged duration of AF, left ventricular dilatation and increased muscle mass, mitral regurgitation, annular calcification, and hypertension were additional independent predictors of LA diameter. Conclusions: Multiple factors appear to contribute to LA enlargement in patients with nonvalvular AF, including the presence and persistence of the dysrhythmia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-499
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Heart Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


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