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Am J Cardiol. 2011 Sep 1;108(5):735-40. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2011.04.025. Epub 2011 Jun 23.

Left ventricular diastolic function and exercise capacity in community-dwelling adults ≥65 years of age without heart failure.

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VA Medical Center, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.


Left ventricular diastolic dysfunction (LVDD) has been reported to have strong correlation with exercise capacity. However, this relationship has not been studied extensively in community-dwelling older adults. Data on pulse and tissue Doppler echocardiographic estimates of resting early (E) and atrial (A) transmitral peak inflow and early (Em) mitral annular velocities, and six-minute walk test were obtained from 89 community-dwelling older adults (mean age, 74; range, 65-93 years; 54% women), without a history of heart failure. Overall, 47% had cardiovascular morbidity and 60% had normal diastolic function (E/A 0.75-1.5 and E:Em <10). Among the 36 individuals with LVDD, 83%, 14% and 3% had grade I (E/A <0.75, regardless of E/E(m)), II (E/A 0.75-1.5 and E/E(m) ≥10) and III (E/A>1.5 and E/E(m) ≥10) LVDD, respectively. Those with LVDD were older (77 versus 73 years; p = 0.001) and had a trend for higher prevalence of cardiovascular morbidity (58% versus 40%; p = 0.083). LVDD negatively correlated with six-minute walk distance (1013 versus 1128 feet; R = -0.25; p = 0.017). This association remained significant despite adjustment for cardiovascular morbidity (R = -0.35; p = 0.048), but lost significance when adjusted for age (R = -0.32; p = 0.105), age and cardiovascular morbidity (R = -0.38; p = 0.161), and additional adjustment for sex, race, body mass index, and systolic blood pressure (R = -0.44; p = 0.365). In conclusion, most community-dwelling older adults without heart failure had normal left ventricular diastolic function or grade-I LVDD. Although LVDD was associated with decreased performance on a six-minute walk test, that association was no longer evident after adjustment for age, body mass index and cardiovascular morbidity.

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