Transthoracic Tissue Doppler Assessment of Left Atrial Appendage Contraction and Relaxation: Their Changes with Aging


Address for correspondence and reprint requests: Naoyasu Yoshida, Ph.D., Hiroshima Prefectural Hospital, 1-5-54 Ujinakanda, Minami-ku, Hiroshima-city 734-8530, Japan, Fax: 082-253-0659; E-mail:


Aim: We assessed left atrial appendage (LAA) function using transthoracic tissue Doppler echocardiography (TDE), and examined the influence of aging on LAA contraction and relaxation. Methods: The subjects were 45 consecutive patients with heart disease and 110 healthy individuals. LAA wall motion velocity (LAAWV) at the tip of the LAA was measured using transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) and/or transesophageal echocardiography (TEE). Results: We successfully recorded and measured LAAWV using TTE in 105 (95%) of the 110 healthy subjects. When angle correction was applied for the Doppler beam in TTE, LAAWV during contraction (LAAWVc) measured by TTE closely correlated with that measured by TEE (r = 0.97), and LAAWV during relaxation (LAAWVr) measured by TTE closely correlated with that measured by TEE (r = 0.95). LAAWVc and LAAWVr measured by TTE correlated significantly with the LAA flow velocities during LAA contraction and LAA relaxation measured by TEE (r = 0.64, P < 0.001; r = 0.53, P = 0.001). In healthy subjects, although LAAWVc remained unchanged with aging, LAAWVr significantly declined with aging (r =−0.48, P < 0.001) and had a significant negative correlation with left atrial dimension and a significant positive correlation with transmitral flow and annulus velocity during early diastole. Conclusion: Transthoracic TDE can provide information on LAA function. LAA relaxation may be impaired with aging and may be accompanied by early diastolic left ventricular dysfunction and chronic overload to the left atrium. (Echocardiography 2010;27:839-846)