Clinical variables affecting recovery of left atrial mechanical function after cardioversion from atrial fibrillation

Kishore J. Harjai, Sameh K. Mobarek, Jorge Cheirif, Louis Marie Boulos, Joseph P. Murgo, Freddy Abi-Samra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


Objectives. We sought to evaluate the effect of clinical factors on recovery of atrial function after cardioversion for atrial fibrillation. Background. Lack of effective mechanical atrial function (EMAF) after cardioversion of atrial fibrillation predisposes to thromboembolic complications and delays improvement in functional capacity. Methods. Fifty- two patients underwent cardioversion (group I, electrical cardioversion, n = 40; group II, pharmacologic or spontaneous cardioversion, n = 12) for atrial fibrillation. Serial transmittal inflow Doppler variables were recorded after cardioversion until EMAF (atrial filling velocity >0.50 m/s) was seen. Clinical variables (age, duration of atrial fibrillation, left ventricular ejection fraction, left atrial diameter, underlying cardiovascular disease, antiarrhythmic drug therapy and mode of cardioversion) were tested for an association with the outcomes of recovery of atrial function by day 3 and day 7. Results. Effective mechanical atrial function recovered in 68% of patients by day 3 and in 76% by day 7 after cardioversion. The mode of cardioversion was significantly associated with recovery of atrial function by day 3 in bivariate and multivariate analyses (odds ratio 0.12, 95% confidence interval 0.01 to 1.0, for electrical cardioversion). None of the variables had an association with recovery of atrial function by day 7. Group I patients took a longer time to recover atrial function than group II patients (p = 0.012). In addition, group I patients had a significantly lower peak atrial filling velocity (mean [±SD] 0.39 ± 0.19 m/s vs. 0.56 ± 0.16 m/s) and a higher early filling to atrial filling velocity ratio (2.5 ± 1.2 vs. 1.5 ± 0.5) after cardioversion. Conclusions. A high proportion of patients recover EMAF within 1 week after cardioversion. Patients who undergo electrical cardioversion display a greater degree and a longer duration of mechanical atrial dysfunction than those who convert pharmacologically or spontaneously.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-486
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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