In horses, persistent atrial dysfunction is a prognostic indicator of recurrence of atrial fibrillation (AF). The objective of this study was to quantify left atrial (LA) contractile function in Warmblood horses after successful cardioversion of AF to sinus rhythm, using standard two-dimensional echocardiography (2DE) and two-dimensional speckle tracking (2DST) analyses, and to provide proof-of-concept for use of 2DST to detect LA contractile dysfunction in horses.
Nineteen Warmblood horses with AF and successful transvenous electrical cardioversion (TVEC) or medical cardioversion using quinidine sulfate (QS) were included. Echocardiography was performed at 24 hr, 72 hr, and 1–6 months after cardioversion. Conventional 2DE-derived indices of LA size and function and global longitudinal strain (SL) and longitudinal strain rate (SRL) during LA contractile function were measured to detect differences in LA size and function over time and between treatment modalities. The association between 2DE-derived indices and global SL and SRL, respectively, and the agreement of the variables to detect LA dysfunction were assessed.
Global SL and SRL, as well as active LA fractional area change (FAC) identified cases with LA dysfunction after TVEC and QS cardioversion and proved useful to demonstrate LA functional recovery over time. Agreement between active LA FAC and SL and SRL, respectively, to diagnose atrial dysfunction was substantial to fair at 24 hr after cardioversion and decreased with time.
This study shows that 2DST is useful to quantify LA contractile dysfunction in horses after cardioversion of AF.