UMMS Affiliation

Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Cardiology | Cardiovascular Diseases


BACKGROUND: Impaired left atrial (LA) mechanical function is present in hypertension and likely contributes to various complications, including atrial arrhythmias, stroke, and heart failure. Various antihypertensive drug classes exert differential effects on central hemodynamics and left ventricular function. However, little is known about their effects on LA function.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We studied 212 subjects with hypertension and without heart failure or atrial fibrillation. LA strain was measured from cine steady-state free-precession cardiac MRI images using feature-tracking algorithms. In multivariable models adjusted for age, sex, race, body mass index, blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, LA volume, left ventricular mass, and left ventricular ejection fraction, beta-blocker use was associated with a lower total longitudinal strain (standardized beta=-0.21; P=0.008), and lower LA expansion index (standardized beta=-0.30; P < 0.001), indicating impaired LA reservoir function. Beta-blocker use was also associated with a lower positive strain (standardized beta=-0.19; P=0.012) and early diastolic strain rate (standardized beta=0.15; P=0.039), indicating impaired LA conduit function. Finally, beta-blocker use was associated with a lower (less negative) late-diastolic strain (standardized beta=0.15; P=0.049), strain rate (standardized beta=0.18; P=0.019), and a lower active LA emptying fraction (standardized beta=-0.27; P< 0.001), indicating impaired booster pump function. Use of other antihypertensive agents was not associated with LA function.

CONCLUSIONS: Beta-blocker use is significantly associated with impaired LA function in hypertension. This association could underlie the increased risk of atrial fibrillation and stroke seen with the use of beta-blockers (as opposed to other antihypertensive agents) demonstrated in recent trials.


angiotensin‐converting enzyme inhibitors, hypertension, left atrium, magnetic resonance imaging, β‐adrenergic antagonists

DOI of Published Version



J Am Heart Assoc. 2017 Feb 3;6(2). pii: e005163. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.116.005163. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of the American Heart Association

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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