BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The purpose of the current study was to assess left atrial (LA) physiology in relation to associations between LA volume change and regional tissue velocities and strains, and to extend this information to patients with mitral stenosis (MS) or mitral regurgitation (MR). SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Twenty-two healthy persons, 22 patients with moderate-to-severe MS, and 22 patients with moderate-to-severe MR were studied. Tissue velocities, strains, and time-volume curves of the LA were acquired using tissue Doppler imaging and 3-dimensional echocardiography. RESULTS: In healthy controls, the maximal LA volume was negatively correlated with the posterior wall longitudinal systolic strain (r=-0.45, p=0.03). The time-to-maximal LA volume was positively correlated with the time-to-posterior wall longitudinal peak strain (r=0.46, p=0.03) and the time-to-circumferential peak strain (r=0.59, p=0.004). The LA active emptying fraction (LAactEF) was positively correlated with the posterior wall longitudinal peak systolic and late diastolic tissue velocities. In patients with MS, the maximal LA volume was negatively correlated with the posterior wall radial peak systolic velocity and the longitudinal late diastolic velocity. In patients with MS, the LAactEF had an additional positive correlation with the anterior wall longitudinal and circumferential systolic velocities, whereas the patients with MR had an additional positive correlation between the LAactEF and the lateral wall longitudinal peak strain as compared with the healthy cantrols. CONCLUSION: LA longitudinal and circumferential deformations are more related than radial deformation to determining LA volume and function. The LA of patients with MS revealed a greater pathologic physiology than those of patients with MR.