Background Left ventricular (LV) dilatation may be an early sign of cardiac compensation to LV dysfunction. Determinants of LV dilatation in young asymptomatic adults are unknown.
Methods and Results A sample of 506 asymptomatic subjects (mean age 32 ± 3 years) enrolled in the Bogalusa Heart Study underwent echocardiographic examination. LV dilatation (LV end-diastolic diameter > 5.5 cm) as measured by M-mode echocardiography was found in 31 (6%) subjects. Subjects with LV dilatation had higher systolic (119 ± 15 vs 112 ± 12 mm Hg, p = .007) and diastolic (79 ± 12 vs 75 ± 9 mm Hg, p = .04) blood pressures. Similarly subjects with LV dilatation had a higher body mass index (BMI 32 ± 9 vs 27 ± 6, p < .0001). Age, sex, race and metabolic parameters (glucose, insulin and lipoprotein levels) did not differ significantly between the subjects with and without LV dilatation. After correction for age, sex and race differences, obesity (BMI > 30) was associated with a threefold (odds ratio 2.9, CI 1.4-6.1) and hypertension (defined as per JNC 7 criteria) was also associated with a threefold (odds ratio 3.0, CI 1.2-7.1) increased incidence of LV dilatation. There was an incremental increase in LV end-diastolic dimension depending on the presence of hypertension or obesity and subjects with both obesity and hypertension had the highest degree of LV end-diastolic dimensions.
Conclusion Obesity and hypertension may play an important role in early LV dilatation in an otherwise healthy young population.
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