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Medicine & Law Weekly

December 24, 2004

SECTION: EXPANDED REPORTING; Pg. 415

LENGTH: 365 words

HEADLINE: UNIVERSITY OF NAPLES;
Left atrial function is a strong predictor of atrial fibrillation development

BODY:

Researchers have investigated determinants of atrial fibrillation
development in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

According to recent research published in the American Journal of Cardiology
, "Predictors of the development of atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients who
have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HC) have not been extensively studied,
although, in these patients, AF contributes to the exacerbation of symptoms and
the development of heart failure. [Our] study determined the role of left atrial
(LA) function in the development of AF in patients who have HC."

M.A. Losi and colleagues of the University of Naples described their study,
"One hundred fifty consecutive patients who had HC, had no history of AF, and
who were followed for 5.2±2.9 years constituted the study population. Using
M-mode echocardiography, we measured LA function as global LA fractional
shortening and LA diameter. LA volume was measured from 2-dimensional 4-chamber
views by the method of disks."

"During follow-up, 20 patients developed AF. LA function was an independent
predictor of AF (odds ratio 0.716, p=<0.001), whereas LA diameter and volume
were predictors in addition to age. Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that LA
dysfunction carried a high risk of AF," the researchers reported.

They concluded, "Thus, in patients who have HC, LA function is a strong
predictor of AF development and is independent of age."

Losi and colleagues published their study in American Journal of Cardiology
(Determinants of atrial fibrillation development in patients with hypertrophic
cardiomyopathy. Am J Cardiol, 2004;94(7):895-900).

For additional information, contact S. Betocchi, University of Naples
Federico II, Department of Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine, Via S Pansini
5, I-80131 Naples, Italy.