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Left Ventricular Diastolic Function in Children with Atrial Septal Defects Improves After Closure by Means of Increased Hydraulic Force.

Hydraulic force aids diastolic filling of the left ventricle (LV) by facilitating basal movement of the atrioventricular plane. The short-axis atrioventricular area difference (AVAD) determines direction and magnitude of this force. Patients with atrial septal defect (ASD) have reduced LV filling due to the left-to-right shunt across the atrial septum and thus potentially altered hydraulic force. The aims were therefore to use cardiac magnetic resonance images to assess whether AVAD and thus the hydraulic force differ in children with ASD compared to healthy children, and if it improves after ASD closure. Twenty-two children with ASD underwent cardiac magnetic resonance before ASD closure. Of these 22 children, 17 of them repeated their examination also after ASD closure. Twelve controls were included. Left atrial and ventricular areas were delineated in short-axis images, and AVAD was defined as the largest ventricular area minus the largest atrial area at each time frame and normalized to body height (AVADi). At end diastole AVADi was positive in all participants, suggesting a force acting towards the atrium assisting the diastolic movement of the atrioventricular plane; however, lower in children both before (6.3 cm2 /m [5.2-8.0]; p < 0.0001) and after ASD closure (8.7 cm2 /m [6.6-8.5]; p = 0.0003) compared to controls (12.2 cm2 /m [11.3-13.9]). Left ventricular diastolic function improves after ASD closure in children by means of improved hydraulic force assessed by AVAD. Although AVADi improved after ASD closure, it was still lower than in controls, indicating diastolic abnormality even after ASD closure. In patients where AVADi is low, ASD closure may help avoid diastolic function deterioration and improve outcome. This could likely be important also in patients with small shunt volumes, especially if they are younger, who currently do not undergo ASD closure. Changes in clinical routine may be considered pending larger outcome studies.

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