Midwall fractional shortening is an independent predictor of left ventricular diastolic dysfunction in asymptomatic patients with systemic hypertension
Conventional measures of left ventricular (LV) systolic performance suggest that diastolic dysfunction precedes the development of systolic dysfunction in hypertension. Midwall fractional shortening is a new measure of systolic function that identifies hypertensive patients who have evidence of target-organ damage, impaired contractile reserve, and increased mortality. We therefore sought to determine whether depressed midwall fiber shortening is associated with abnormal diastolic function. Echocardiograms were obtained in 102 otherwise healthy hypertensive patients without treatment with normal conventional measures of systolic function. Of these, 15 had depressed midwall shortening based on previously described normative relations. Patients with depressed midwall shortening had slightly higher blood pressure. Abnormal diastolic function, defined as late (A) LV inflow velocity greater than early (E) velocity, was observed in 33% of those with normal midwall shortening but in 60% of those with depressed shortening (p <0.05). Patients with A/E >1 had lower absolute midwall fiber shortening (15 +/- 3% vs 18 +/- 3%, p <0.0001) but similar endocardial shortening. Patients with abnormal midwall shortening had higher A/E and longer isovolumic relaxation times (both p <0.05). In multivariate analysis, midwall fractional shortening, age, and heart rate were independent predictors (p <0.01) of A/E in a model including blood pressure, LV mass, and endocardial shortening. We conclude that subnormal midwall shortening predicts LV diastolic abnormalities in this population of hypertensive patients with otherwise normal measures of LV systolic function. Contrary to our previous understanding, depressed LV systolic performance, when identified with this newer method, occurs coincidentally with impaired diastolic function.