Sex, age, and disease affect echocardiographic left ventricular mass and systolic function in the free-living elderly: The cardiovascular health study

J. M. Gardin, D. Siscovick, H. Anton-Culver, J. C. Lynch, V. E. Smith, H. S. Klopfenstein, William J Bommer, L. Fried, D. O'Leary, T. A. Manolio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

222 Scopus citations


Background: Left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy, as measured by M-mode echocardiography, is an independent predictor of mortality and/or morbidity from coronary heart disease (CHD). LV global and segmental systolic dysfunction also have been associated with myocardial ischemia and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Echocardiographic data, especially two-dimensional, have not been available previously from multicenter-based studies of the elderly. This report describes the distribution and relation at baseline of echocardiographic LV mass and global and segmental LV wall motion to age, sex, and clinical disease category in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS), a cohort of 5201 men and women (4850 white) 65 years of age and older. Methods and Results: M-mode LV mass adjusted for body weight increased modestly with age (P<.0001), increasing less than one gram per year increase in age for both men and women. After adjustment for weight, LV mass was significantly greater in men than in women and in participants with clinical CHD compared with participants with neither clinical heart disease nor hypertension (both P<.001). Across all CHS age subgroups, the difference in weight-adjusted LV mass by sex was greater in magnitude than the difference related to clinical CHD. M-mode measurements of LV mass could not be made in 34% of CHS participants, and this was highly related to age (29% in the 65 to 69 year versus 50% in the 85+ year age group, P<.001) and other risk factors. In participants with clinical CHD and with neither clinical heart disease nor hypertension, LV ejection fraction and segmental wall motion abnormalities were more prevalent in men than women (all P<.001). Of interest, 0.5% of men and 0.4% of women with neither clinical heart disease nor hypertension had LV segmental wall motion abnormalities, suggesting silent disease, compared with 26% of men and 10% of women in the clinical CHD group (p<.0001). Multivariate analyses revealed male sex and presence of clinical CHD (both P<.001) to be independent predictors of LV akinesis or dyskinesis. Conclusions: Significant baseline relations were detected between differences in sex, prevalent disease status, and echocardiographic measurements of LV mass and systolic function in the CHS cohort. Age was weakly associated with LV mass measurements and LV ejection fraction abnormalities. These relations should be considered in evaluating the preclinical and clinical effects of CHD risk factors in the elderly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1739-1748
Number of pages10
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • aging
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • echocardiography
  • multicenter study
  • ventricles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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