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Am J Cardiol. 1998 Sep 1;82(5):621-6.

Relation of age to left ventricular function in clinically normal adults.

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Department of Medicine and Hypertension Center, The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, New York 10021, USA.


The extent to which age, independent of cardiovascular diseases, influences left ventricular (LV) function in adults is uncertain. Echocardiograms and simultaneous arterial pressure in 464 clinically normal adults aged 16 to 88 years were used to measure LV dimensions, endocardial and midwall LV fractional shortening, stroke volume, cardiac output, and circumferential end-systolic stress. The ratios of observed endocardial and midwall shortening to values predicted for observed end-systolic stress were used as measures of chamber and myocardial function. LV endocardial shortening increased slightly with age, as did an index of LV chamber performance, the end-systolic stress/volume index ratio (r = 0.11, p = 0.019, and r = 0.20, p <0.001). However, when age-related increases in LV wall thickness and blood pressure were controlled for by examining afterload-corrected endocardial shortening, no age relation was detected. Weak age-related declines were observed in midwall shortening (r = -0.09, p = 0.043) and afterload-corrected midwall shortening (r = -0.12, p <0.01). Cardiac index decreased slightly with advancing age (r = -0.14, mean -6.7 ml/min/m2/ year, p = 0.003). Total peripheral resistance and the pulse pressure/stroke volume ratio, a measure of arterial stiffness, increased more strongly with age (r = 0.27 and 0.38, both p <0.001). Thus, LV pump performance at rest measured by cardiac index is slightly lower in older than in younger clinically normal adults. Endocardial fractional shortening was slightly higher in older subjects, but the physiologically more appropriate midwall measures of myocardial function decreased slightly. The observed change in LV pump performance was related to smaller LV chamber size and higher total peripheral resistance in older subjects.

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