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Assessment of left atrial appendage function by echocardiography

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The left atrial appendage (LAA) is considered not only to be the most frequent site of thrombus formation, but also to play a pivotal role in maintaining normal cardiac function. Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is widely used to assess LAA function. The LAA flow velocity has been used as a surrogate for LAA function, and it varies with multiple interrelated factors including age, hemodynamics, type of arrhythmia, and antiarrhythmic interventions. Relatively great importance of LAA function is involved with intraatrial thrombus formation and subsequent thromboembolism, and thus, understanding of characteristics and behaviors of the LAA under various clinical conditions may help determine strategies against atrial thrombosis. Also, techniques other than TEE-derived Doppler to assess LAA function, such as tissue Doppler imaging, have been proposed. In this review, we introduce clinical and echocardiographic correlates of LAA function, the LAA flow velocity in particular, its significance, and how to interpret functional patterns of the LAA each relevant to specific clinical settings.

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Takahide Ito was involved in the design and writing of the article, and Michihiro Suwa in drafting and revising for important intellectual content.

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Ito, T., Suwa, M. Assessment of left atrial appendage function by echocardiography. Heart Fail Rev 28, 1177–1187 (2023).

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