OBJECTIVES: To compare left atrial performance with dual-source CT (DSCT) with respect to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in orthotopic heart transplant recipients.
METHODS: Twenty-nine consecutive heart transplant recipients (27 male; mean age 64.1 +/- 13 years; mean time from transplantation 122.8 +/- 69.7 months) referred for exclusion of cardiac allograft vasculopathy underwent cardiac DSCT and MRI. Standard biatrial technique was employed in 13 subjects whereas 16 were transplanted after the bicaval technique. Axial 5-mm slice-thickness DSCT datasets reconstructed in 5% steps of the cardiac cycle and axial 5-mm SSFP-MRI images were analyzed. Two blinded readers manually traced left atrial contours in random order to estimate end-diastolic volume (EDV), end-systolic volume (ESV), and ejection fraction (EF). Parameters were compared with a paired sample Student t-test. Concordance correlation coefficient (CCC) was calculated to determine measurement agreement between techniques and observers.
RESULTS: Left atrial volumes were significantly higher with cardiac DSCT (EDV: 170.9 +/- 78.1 mL; ESV: 139.5 +/- 76.6 mL) than with MRI (EDV: 158.2 +/- 72.5 mL; ESV: 124.2 +/- 68.2 mL), whereas left atrial EF was lower with DSCT (EF: 20.8% +/- 7.5% vs. 23.6% +/- 7.7%) (P < 0.05). Measurement agreement between DSCT and MRI was excellent for all parameters (CCC >0.82). Individuals operated with the biatrial anastomosis technique presented significantly higher left atrial volumes and lower EF compared with subjects with bicaval anastomosis. Interobserver agreement was excellent for all parameters (CCC >0.80).
CONCLUSION: Even if DSCT slightly overestimates left atrial volumes with respect to MRI, results remain clinically valid. Bicaval surgical technique offers improved left atrial performance compared with standard biatrial anastomosis. DSCT may be used as a reliable tool to estimate left atrial parameters in orthotopic heart transplant recipients.