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Circulation. 2005 Oct 11;112(15):2254-62. Epub 2005 Oct 3.

Age- and gender-related ventricular-vascular stiffening: a community-based study.

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Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, MN, USA.



Increases in vascular (Ea), ventricular systolic (Ees), and ventricular diastolic (Ed) elastance (stiffness) may contribute to the pathogenesis of heart failure (HF) with preserved ejection fraction (HFnlEF). The prevalence of HFnlEF increases strikingly with age, particularly in women. We hypothesized that ventricular-vascular stiffening may occur with age and be more pronounced in women in the general community.


In a cross-sectional sample of Olmsted County, Minn, residents > or =45 years old (n=2042), clinical data, Doppler echocardiography, and blood pressure (BP) measurements were obtained. Ea was calculated from stroke volume and systolic BP and indexed to body size (EaI). Ees was calculated by a modified single-beat method using systolic and diastolic BP, stroke volume, ejection fraction, timing intervals, and an estimated normalized ventricular elastance at arterial end diastole. Operant Ed was calculated from Doppler indices reflective of atrial pressures and the diastolic filling volume. EaI, Ees, and Ed all increased with age in men and in women (P<0.0001 for all). Ees increased more steeply with age in women (P=0.002). Adjusted for age, EaI, Ees, and Ed were higher in women than in men (P<0.0001 for all). Findings were similar in those without known or suspected cardiovascular disease (n=623).


In the community, advancing age and female gender are associated with increases in vascular and ventricular systolic and diastolic stiffness even in the absence of cardiovascular disease. We speculate that this combined ventricular-vascular stiffening may contribute to the increased prevalence of HFnlEF in elderly persons and particularly in elderly women.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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