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Am J Cardiol. 2007 Oct 15;100(8):1271-3. Epub 2007 Jul 18.

Comparison of Afro-Caribbean patients presenting in heart failure with normal versus poor left ventricular systolic function.

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  • 1Antigua Heart Centre, Belmont Clinic, Antigua, West Indies.


Data suggest that heart failure (HF) in Afro-Caribbean patients may be more often associated with preserved left ventricular (LV) systolic function, LV hypertrophy, and probable LV diastolic dysfunction than in other populations. Echocardiographic results on all patients referred for HF in a contemporary Afro-Caribbean population were reviewed, comparing findings in patients with and without preserved LV systolic function with. Echocardiographic findings included left atrial dimension, LV systolic and diastolic dimensions, ventricular septal and posterior wall thicknesses, right ventricular dimension, valve abnormality, or pericardial effusion. LV shortening fraction and ejection fraction were calculated. Age, gender, and presence of atrial fibrillation were recorded. Results from patients with preserved LV systolic function (LV shortening fraction >0.27) were compared with those with poor LV systolic function. There were 505 patients with HF with adequate studies; mean age +/- SD was 64 +/- 15 years, 46% were men, 17% had atrial fibrillation, and 285 of 505 (57%) had preserved LV systolic function. Those with preserved LV systolic function were no different in age (64 +/- 15 vs 64 +/- 14 years, p = 0.98) but were less likely to be men (40% vs 54%, p <0.01). They were less likely to have a dilated left atrium (61% vs 81%, p <0.001) or increased LV diastolic dimension (8% vs 63%, p <0.001). They were more likely to have increased ventricular septal or posterior wall hypertrophy (84% vs 66%, p <0.001) or other abnormal findings, including an abnormal valve, right ventricular enlargement, increased septal to posterior wall thickness ratio, or pericardial effusion (25% vs 6%, p <0.001). The presence of atrial fibrillation was no different (14% vs 20%, p = 0.10). In conclusion, most Afro-Caribbean patients with HF have preserved LV systolic function with high rates of LV hypertrophy, septal hypertrophy, and other echocardiographic abnormalities.

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