Measuring atrial stasis during sinus rhythm in patients with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation using 4 Dimensional flow imaging: 4D flow imaging of atrial stasis

Benedict T. Costello, Aleksandr Voskoboinik, Abdul M. Qadri, Murray Rudman, Mark C. Thompson, Ferris Touma, Andre La Gerche, James L. Hare, Stavroula Papapostolou, Jonathan M. Kalman, Peter M. Kistler, Andrew J. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) is associated with cardioembolic risk, however events may occur during sinus rhythm (SR). 4D-flow cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging allows visualisation of left atrial blood flow, to determine the residence time distribution (RTD), an assessment of atrial transit time. Objective: To determine if atrial transit time is prolonged in PAF patients during SR, consistent with underlying atrial stasis. Method: 91 participants with PAF and 18 healthy volunteers underwent 4D flow analysis in SR. Velocity fields were produced RTDs, calculated by seeding virtual ‘particles’ at the right upper pulmonary vein and counting them exiting the mitral valve. An exponential decay curve quantified residence time of particles in the left atrium, and atrial stasis was expressed as the derived constant (RTDTC) based on heartbeats. The RTDTC was evaluated within the PAF group, and compared to healthy volunteers. Results: Patients with PAF (n = 91) had higher RTDTC compared with gender-matched controls (n = 18) consistent with greater atrial stasis (1.68 ± 0.46 beats vs 1.51 ± 0.20 beats; p = .005). PAF patients with greater thromboembolic risk had greater atrial stasis (median RTDTC of 1.72 beats in CHA₂DS₂-VASc≥2 vs 1.52 beats in CHA₂DS₂-VASc<2; p = .03), only female gender and left ventricular ejection fraction contributed significantly to the atrial RTDTC (p = .006 and p = .023 respectively). Conclusions: Atrial stasis quantified by 4D flow is greater in PAF, correlating with higher CHA₂DS₂-VASc scores. Female gender and systolic dysfunction are associated with atrial stasis. RTD offers an insight into atrial flow that may be developed to provide a personalised assessment of thromboembolic risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-50
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2020


  • 4d flow
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Atrial function
  • Cardiac magnetic resonance
  • Stroke

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