Background Diastolic dysfunction (DD), a condition characterized by impaired relaxation of the left ventricle, is common among elderly. Increased myocardial fibrosis, a major determinant of diastolic function, has been observed with advancing age. Procollagen type Ic peptide (PICP) is generally elevated in cardiac fibrosis. We sought to determine if PICP is elevated in elderly patients with diastolic dysfunction when compared to healthy controls.
Methods Serum levels of PICP were measured in 29 patients aged 60-85 years with echocardiographic evidence of diastolic dysfunction and 25 healthy subjects with no symptoms suggestive of diastolic dysfunction. Data were presented as mean ± SD. Student t-test was used for comparison between the groups. A p value of .05 was considered statistically significant.
Results Mean age of subjects with DD was 70.3 ± 6 years. 72% of them were female. Hypertension (HTN) and left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) were present in 90% and 66%, respectively. Mean age of healthy persons was 29.8 ± 4 years. 36% were female. HTN was present in only 8%. The PICP level was 300.99 ± 52 ng/mL in the DD group vs 262.87 ± 45.3 ng/mL in healthy controls (p = .025). The PICP levels in the DD with LVH (298.10 ± 53.3 ng/ml) as well as those without LVH (299.18 ± 48.8 ng/mL) were significantly higher than healthy controls (p = .025 and p = .04 respectively). However, there was no significant difference between the PICP levels in DD with and without LVH.
Conclusion Procollagen type Ic peptide is significantly elevated in elderly patients with diastolic dysfunction regardless of the presence or absence of left ventricular hypertrophy when compared to PICP levels in healthy controls. PICP may be used to monitor the course of cardiac fibrosis in elderly persons with diastolic dysfunction.