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Gender differences in systolic left ventricular function in hypertensive patients with electrocardiographic left ventricular hypertrophy (the LIFE study)

      Abstract

      Echocardiography was performed in 944 untreated hypertensive patients (391 women and 553 men, mean age 66 years) who had electrocardiographic left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy at baseline in the Losartan Intervention For End point reduction in hypertension (LIFE) study to evaluate gender-associated differences in systolic LV function. Women had significantly lower diastolic blood pressure (175/97 vs 173/99 mm Hg) and body surface area and a higher body mass index (all p <0.01). Women also had higher LV ejection fraction (EF), endocardial and midwall fractional shortening (63% vs 60%, 35% and 33%, and 16% vs 15%, respectively, all p <0.01), higher stress-corrected midwall fractional shortening (98% vs 96%, p <0.05), and lower circumferential end-systolic wall stress (178 vs 187 kdynes/cm2, p <0.01). There was no difference in age or LV mass indexed for height2.7, but relative wall thickness was higher in women (0.42 vs 0.41, p <0.05). In multiple regression analyses: (1) EF and endocardial fractional shortening were 2% to 3% higher in women than men, independent of the effects of LV stress, body mass index, and height (multiple r = 0.77 and 0.75, respectively, gender p <0.02 in both models); (2) midwall fractional shortening was 0.5% higher in women, independent of the effects of age, body mass index, circumferential end-systolic stress, and absence of diabetes (multiple r = 0.36, p = 0.014 for gender); and (3) stress-corrected LV midwall fractional shortening was 2% higher (p = 0.004) in women, independent of the effects of age, height, heart rate, body mass index, and diabetes (multiple r = 0.33). Thus, female gender is an independent predictor of higher systolic LV function in hypertensive patients with electrocardiographic LV hypertrophy.
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