Discrepancies in identification of left atrial enlargement using left atrial volume versus left atrial-to-aortic root ratio in dogs.
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BACKGROUND: Left atrial size is prognostically important in dogs with myxomatous mitral valve disease (MMVD). HYPOTHESIS/OBJECTIVES: To compare the level of agreement in identification of left atrial enlargement (LAE) between the left atrial-to-aortic root ratio (LA : Ao) and left atrial volume using the biplane area-length method indexed to body weight (LA Vol/BW). ANIMALS: Sixty dogs with MMVD and 22 normal dogs were prospectively studied with 2-dimensional echocardiography. METHODS: The upper limit of normal for LA Vol/BW was defined as 1.1 mL/kg. LA : Ao was deemed normal if 1.5. To define overall disease severity, each dog was assigned a mitral regurgitation severity score (MRSS) based on echocardiographic parameters that did not include left atrial size. ACVIM staging also was utilized. RESULTS: Of 60 affected dogs, 20 were ACVIM Stage B1, 25 were Stage B2, and 15 were Stage C. LA Vol/BW identified LAE in 12 cases in which LA : Ao was normal; 7 of these were Stage B1 and 5 were Stage B2. This diagnostic disagreement was significant (P = .00012). Of the 12 cases in which diagnostic discrepancies were identified, 5/5 of the B2 dogs and 3/7 B1 dogs had a moderate MRSS, whereas 4/7 B1 dogs had a mild MRSS. No diagnostic discrepancies between LA : Ao and LA Vol/BW were apparent in dogs with a severe MRSS. CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: This study shows evidence of diagnostic disagreement between LA : Ao and LA Vol/BW for assessment of LAE. LA Vol/BW may be superior to LA : Ao for identification of mild LAE.