Left Atrial Function
The left atrium (LA) is a left posterior cardiac chamber which is located adjacent to the esophagus. It is separated from the right atrium by the inter-atrial septum and connected to the left ventricle by the mitral valve apparatus. Left and right pulmonary veins carry oxygenated blood to the LA during the cardiac cycle. During ventricular systole, the LA functions mainly as a receiving chamber while during diastole after the opening of the mitral valve it empties the blood into the left ventricle. Healthy LA function is crucial to maintain normal diastolic and systolic function, and it changes in a variety of disease states, including hypertension and coronary artery disease. Left atrial size and function can be evaluated by multimodality imaging, including echocardiography, cardiac computed tomography, and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, and are important prognostic factors in some cardiovascular diseases.
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