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Int J Cardiol. 2006 Mar 22;108(1):76-83.

Left ventricular morphology, global and longitudinal function in normal older individuals: a cardiac magnetic resonance study.

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Academic Department of Cardiology, The University of Hull, Castle Hill Hospital, Castle Road, Cottingham, Kingston-upon-Hull, HU16 5JQ United Kingdom.



The heart transforms structurally and functionally with age but the nature and magnitude of reported changes appear inconsistent. This study was designed to assess left ventricular (LV) morphology, global and longitudinal function in healthy older men and women using cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR).


Ninety-five healthy subjects (age 62+/-16 years, range 22-91 years) underwent breath-hold cine CMR. LV end-diastolic volume (EDV), end-systolic volume (ESV), myocardial mass, ejection fraction (EF), mass-to-volume ratio, mean midventricular wall motion, thickness and thickening were calculated from short-axis data sets. Average mitral annular displacement was measured to assess longitudinal LV function.


Subjects were divided according to age (< 65 and > or = 65 years) and sex. EDV and ESV indices (corrected for body surface area) decreased whilst EF increased with age. There was no difference in LV myocardial mass index between the age groups, but midventricular wall thickness was significantly higher in older people. Mass-to-volume ratio also increased with age. In contrast to EF, mitral annular displacement declined with age. Midventricular LV wall thickness, myocardial mass index and mass-to-volume ratio were higher in men than in women but there were no differences in measures of global and longitudinal LV systolic function.


Due to smaller LV volumes but higher wall thickness, myocardial mass remains unchanged with age. We have found an age-related increase in EF and reduction in longitudinal LV function in apparently normal subjects. This must be borne in mind when assessing older patients with possible heart failure and normal LV systolic function. Men have higher myocardial mass than women.

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