Background: Much in the diagnosis of diastolic ventricular dysfunction is dependent upon the filling pattern, and most patients diagnosed with diastolic heart failure are elderly. Data from healthy asymptomatic individuals across a range of ages are rare. We sought to find an age-related variation in normal diastolic physiology, specifically the filling pattern and segmental myocardial longitudinal velocities. Methods and Results: To assess the effect of normal ageing on left ventricular longitudinal function, we studied myocardial shortening and lengthening velocities using the tissue Doppler technique in 60 healthy subjects who were randomly selected from the Umeå (Sweden) General Population Register, which represents a wide range of ages (23-88 years). Myocardial velocities were documented at four left ventricular sites (anterior, left, posterior and septal) and at three levels (basal, mid-cavity and apical). Transmitral, transtricuspid and pulmonary venous flow velocities were recorded using pulsed-wave Doppler. While systolic myocardial velocities were conserved across ages, there was a marked decrease in early diastolic velocities with age (from 16cm . s-1 at 30 years to 9 cm . s-1 at 80 years at the basal segment) and a corresponding significant increase in late diastolic velocities (from 10 to 16 cm . s-1). Although these findings were most marked at the basal level, they were also clearly manifested at the apical level. Myocardial lengthening velocities were related to transmitral flow velocities, showing a correlation of 0·64 (P<0·0001) in early diastole and 0·68 (P<0·0001) in late diastole. Finally, diastolic pulmonary venous flow velocity was found to correlate with early diastolic myocardial velocities (at the basal level, r=0·53, P<0·0001). Conclusions: Normal ageing causes a decrease in early diastolic and a substantial increase in late diastolic myocardial lengthening velocities. These changes explain the known trends in the transmitral flow pattern with age. In contrast, systolic myocardial velocities do not change significantly with age. These findings should be considered when evaluating diastolic function, especially in the elderly.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine