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Etiologic significance of enlargement of the left atrial appendage in adults


, : Etiologic significance of enlargement of the left atrial appendage in adults. Radiology 142(1): 21-27

Fifty-one patients were divided into two groups: 20 patients with proven rheumatic mitral valve disease (RMVD) and 31 patients with left atrial enlargement (LAE) of a nonrheumatic etiology. The latter group included patients with ischemic papillary muscle dysfunction, mitral valve prolapse, and congestive cardiomyopathy. Radiographic studies showed that enlargement of the left atrial appendage (LAAE) was present in 18 of 20 rheumatics but in only one of 31 non-rheumatics. There was no direct relationship between enlargement of the LAA and radiographic or echocardiographic left atrial size, degree of pulmonary venous hypertension (PVH), or presence of atrial fibrillation. It is postulated that rheumatic inflammation of the LAA allows it to dilate out of proportion to the body of the left atrium. In the adult patient with radiographic findings of PVH, LAAE is a valuable and specific radiographic sign of rheumatic mitral valve disease.

US$19.90

PMID: 6458839

DOI: 10.1148/radiology.142.1.6458839


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