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Am J Med Sci. 2000 Jul;320(1):13-7.

The association of left ventricular mass with cardiovascular risk factors in African American women.

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Department of Medicine, MCP-Hahnemann School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19129, USA.



African American women have disproportionately high rates of myocardial infarction and stroke. Left ventricular hypertrophy is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Increases in left ventricular mass (LVM) may precede the expression of hypertension. The purpose of this study was to determine whether LVM is related to cardiovascular risk variables in healthy, premenopausal African American women.


Normotensive or borderline hypertensive nondiabetic African American women (N = 52; mean age, 31 years) underwent anthropometric and blood pressure measurements, oral glucose tolerance test, euglycemic clamp, fasting lipid profile, and two-dimensional echocardiography. LVM was calculated by the cube root formula and adjusted for height [LVM index (LVMI)].


LVMI correlated with body mass index (r = .36, P = 0.009), systolic blood pressure (r = .44, P = 0.001), diastolic blood pressure (r = .43, P = 0.002), and central body fat (r = .42, P = 0.002). LVMI also directly correlated with lipoprotein (a) (r = .34, P = 0.02). Significant independent relationships of other metabolic variables with LVMI were not detected.


These data show that increased LVMI is associated with body mass index and central obesity, but not with lipids, insulin resistance, or insulin sensitivity. LVMI is also associated with blood pressure before the expression of severe hypertension in healthy, premenopausal African American women.

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