OBJECTIVES: To provide reference intervals for 2-dimensional linear and area-based estimates of left atrial (LA) function in healthy dogs and to evaluate the ability of estimates of LA function to differentiate dogs with subclinical myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD) and similarly affected dogs with congestive heart failure (CHF).
ANIMALS: Fifty-two healthy adult dogs, 88 dogs with MMVD of varying severity.
METHODS: Linear and area measurements from 2-dimensional echocardiographs in both right parasternal long and short axis views optimized for the left atrium were used to derive estimates of LA active emptying fraction, passive emptying fraction, expansion index, and total fractional emptying. Differences for each estimate were compared between healthy and MMVD dogs (based on ACVIM classification), and between MMVD dogs with subclinical disease and CHF that had similar LA dimensions. Diagnostic utility at identifying CHF was examined for dogs with subclinical MMVD and CHF. Relationships with bodyweight were assessed.
RESULTS: All estimates of LA function decreased with increasing ACVIM stage of mitral valve disease (p<0.05) and showed negative relationships with increasing LA size (all r2 values < 0.2), except for LA passive emptying fraction, which did not differ or correlate with LA size (p=0.4). However, no index of LA function identified CHF better than measurements of LA size. Total LA fractional emptying and expansion index showed modest negative correlations with bodyweight.
CONCLUSIONS: Estimates of LA function worsen with worsening MMVD but fail to discriminate dogs with CHF from those with subclinical MMVD any better than simple estimates of LA size.