Age related prevalence of severe left ventricular hypertrophy in essential hypertension: Echocardiographic findings from the ETODH study

Cesare Cuspidi, Stefano Meani, Carla Sala, Cristiana Valerio, Francesca Negri, Giuseppe Mancia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aim. We sought to investigate the prevalence and correlates of severe left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) in relation to age in a large cohort of essential hypertensives referred to a single outpatient hypertension clinic. Methods. A total of 3752 (mean age 53±13 years, 53% men) untreated (29.5%) and treated hypertensive patients categorized in three age groups (I: 18-40 years; II: 41-64 years; III: ≥65 years) were considered for this analysis. All patients underwent extensive investigations searching for target organ damage. LVH, defined as LV mass ≥49/45 g/m 2.7 in men/women, respectively, was graded as mild, moderate and severe according to Lang's report. Results. LVH prevalence was 29.4% in group I, 48.2% in group II and 63.6% in group III. Overall, more than one fourth of patients with LVH had a severely increased LV mass index; the likelihood of having severe LVH was two- and four-fold higher in elderly hypertensives than in their middle-aged and young counterparts, respectively. Increasing age and LVH degree were both associated with a greater prevalence of concentric LV geometry as well as of extra-cardiac organ damage (i.e. carotid intima-media thickness). Conclusions. LVH is a highly prevalent organ damage in essential hypertensives, particularly in the elderly, who exhibited a more severe increase of LV mass index, higher relative wall thickness and extra-cardiac organ damage compared with young and middle-aged sub-groups. Our findings suggest that the assessment of cardiovascular risk by grading LVH rather than simply defining the presence/absence of this cardiac phenotype could improve therapeutic strategies in the hypertensive population, particularly in the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-145
Number of pages7
JournalBlood Pressure
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012



  • echocardiography
  • elderly
  • hypertension
  • severe left ventricular hypertrophy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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