BACKGROUND: Attempts to achieve rhythm control using direct-current cardioversion (DCC) are common in those with persistent atrial fibrillation (AF). Although often successful, AF recurs within 1 month in as many as 57% of patients. The aim of this study was to assess whether a baseline left atrial sphericity index (LASI) acquired by 2-dimensional transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) could be used as a predictor of AF recurrence after successful DCC.
HYPOTHESIS: A baselline LASI assessed by 2D TTE can predict AF recurrence after successful DCC in patients with persistent AF.
METHODS: A total of 124 consecutive patients with persistent AF lasting <120 days underwent successful DCC. Other than β-blockers, no other antiarrhythmic treatment was administered. Prior to DCC, all patients underwent thorough TTE, and LASI was calculated as the fraction of the left atrial width/length of the largest possible left atrial volume in a 4-chamber view. The primary outcome was a TTE-estimated baseline LASI as a predictor of AF recurrence after successful DCC for persistent AF.
RESULTS: Anatomically, a more spherical shape of the left atrium (LASI >0.9) proved to be a strong and independent predictor of AF recurrence, with an odds ratio between 4.1 (95% confidence interval: 1.6-11.9, P = 0.005) and 7.6 (95% confidence interval: 3.3-19.7; P = 7.2 × 10(-6) ). The receiver operating characteristic curve indicated good power for distinguishing between recurring and nonrecurring AF, and we chose a cutoff of 0.9 because high specificity was a priority for clinical reasons.
CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, baseline LASI >0.9 was associated with significantly greater AF recurrence throughout the 12-month follow-up period.