The presence of the metabolic syndrome is a strong predictor for the presence of NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis) in patients with NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). In the present study, we assessed LA (left atrial) deformation parameters in patients with NAFLD using 2D-STE (speckle tracking echocardiography) and to investigate if any changes exist between subgroups of the NAFLD. A total of 55 NAFLD patients and 21 healthy controls were included in the study. The diagnosis of NAFLD was based on liver biopsy. After patients were categorized into groups according to histopathological analysis (simple steatosis, borderline NASH, definitive NASH), all patients underwent echocardiography with Doppler examination. In the 2D-STE analysis of the left atrium, LA-Res (peak LA strain during ventricular systole), LA-Pump (peak LA strain during atrial systole), LA-SRS (peak LA strain rate during ventricular systole), LA-SRE (peak LA strain rate during early diastole) and LA-SRA (peak LA strain rate during atrial systole) were obtained. LA-Res, LA-Pump and LA-SRA were lower in the NAFLD group than in the control group. LA-Res was found to be significantly lower in NAFLD subgroups compared with healthy subjects (43.9±14.2 in healthy controls compared with 31.4±8.3 with simple steatosis, 32.8±12.8 with borderline NASH and 33.8±9.0 with definitive NASH). LA-Pump was significantly lower in the NAFLD group (18.2±3.1 in healthy controls compared with 13.3±4.7 with borderline NASH and 14.4±4.7 with definitive NASH). There were significant differences in LA-SRA between healthy controls compared with simple steatosis and borderline NASH (−1.56±0.36 compared with 1.14±0.38 and 1.24±0.32 respectively). Correlation analysis showed significant correlation of LA-Res values with E (early diastolic peak velocity)/Em (early diastolic mitral annular velocity) ratio (r=−0.50, P≤0.001), with LAVI (LA volume index; r=−0.45, P≤0.001) and with Vp (propagation velocity; r=0.39, P≤0.001). 2D-STE-based LA deformation parameters are impaired in patients with NAFLD with normal systolic function. Although LA-Res and pump function parameters might be useful in estimating LV (left ventricular) filling pressure in the NAFLD patient group, it could not be used for differentiating the subgroups.

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