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Left Atrial Enlargement and Risk of Ischemic Stroke in Elderly Treated Hypertensive Patients.

Am J Hypertens. 2014 Mar 28

Pierdomenico SD1, Pierdomenico AM, Di Carlo S, Di Tommaso R, Cuccurullo F.

BACKGROUND: The independent prognostic significance of left atrial enlargement is not yet completely clear. We investigated the association between left atrial enlargement and risk of ischemic stroke in elderly treated hypertensive patients.

METHODS: The occurrence of ischemic stroke was evaluated in 1,191 elderly treated hypertensive patients (age range = 60-90 years). Left atrium diameter (cm) was indexed by body surface area (m2) and subjects were divided into those with normal or enlarged (≥2.4cm/m2) left atrium.

RESULTS: During the follow-up (9.1±4.9 years; range = 0.4-20 years), 139 ischemic strokes occurred. The event rate per 100 patient-years was 1.28. There were 86 strokes in patients with normal (= 928) left atrium and 53 strokes in patients with enlarged (= 263) left atrium, respectively. Stroke-free survival curves were significantly different between the groups (P < 0.01). After adjustment for various covariables, including clinical variables, left ventricular hypertrophy, and ambulatory blood pressure parameters, Cox regression analysis showed that left atrial enlargement was significantly associated with increased risk of ischemic stroke (hazard ratio = 1.54; 95% confidence interval = 1.05-2.27; P = 0.03).

CONCLUSIONS: In elderly treated hypertensive patients, left atrial enlargement is an independent predictor of ischemic stroke.

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