Is blood pressure the major determinant of left ventricular mass in subjects over 50 years of age?

Angelo Scuteri, Mauro Cacciafesta, Maria Gabriella Di Bernardo, Anna Maria De Propris, Domenico Recchi, Valdisa Celli, Ivan Casagrande-Raffi, Concetta Sinopoli, Vincenzo Marigliano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The weak relation of systolic blood pressure to left ventricular (LV) mass in hypertension has frequently been regarded as evidence of non-hemodynamic stimuli to muscle growth. Anyway, left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) is associated with a significantly increased risk for cardiovascular events. Data were obtained from M-mode echocardiograms in 10 normotensives and 58 hypertensives over 50 years (range 50-85 years); 18 hypertensives; were without (LVH-) and 40 were with LVH (LVH+) - when LV mass, normalized for body surface area, was calculated according to the Penn's Convention. Cardiac output was derived by Teicholz formula for LV volumes. End-systolic stress/end-spstolic dimension ratio (ESS/ESD r), an index of myocardial contractility, was calculated as previously validated in the literature. We found that, in subjects ranging from 50 to 85 years of age, the presence of LV hypertrophy is not necessarily associated with raised blood pressure levels. Systolic function was substantially preserved among the study groups, irrespective of their age, hypertensive condition and/or presence of LVH. The increased wall thickness in subjects with LVH was associated with a significant reduction in wall stress (thus suggesting an adequateness of the compensatory role of LVH - at least at the observed stage of the hypertrophic process) and with a significant decrease of the contractile performance. On the multivariate analysis, the observed relation of LV mass to blood pressure and myocardial contractility (r = 0.621, P <0.001) may explain some apparently conflicting findings, such as the lack of LV hypertrophy in a number of hypertensive patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-194
Number of pages14
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1996


  • Aging
  • Contractile performance
  • Hypertension
  • Left ventricular mass
  • Ventricular wall stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Medicine(all)


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