Gender differences in postinfarction left ventricular remodeling

Cardiology. 1999;91(3):173-83. doi: 10.1159/000006906.


Objective: Previous studies suggest that gender affects the adaptive responses of the heart to some forms of cardiac overload. It is unknown whether gender influences left ventricular (LV) remodeling after myocardial infarction (MI).

Methods: We performed transthoracic echocardiographic-Doppler examinations in age-matched male (n = 17) and female (n = 16) rats before, and 1 and 6 weeks after transmural MI or sham surgery.

Results: Following large MI (male = 45 +/- 1% LV circumference vs. female = 48 +/- 4%, p = NS), both male and female rats developed progressive LV dilatation. Infarctions caused a similar degree of global and regional LV systolic dysfunction in males and females. Male rats had significant increases in the thickness of the noninfarcted posterior wall by 6 weeks after MI. However, posterior wall thickness did not change in the infarcted female rats. Average myocyte diameter in the noninfarcted region of the heart was also greater in male than female MI rats. The combination of increased cavity size with little change in wall thickness resulted in a greater decline in relative wall thickness in the female rats compared to the males. Male rats with MI showed progressively restricted LV diastolic filling as assessed by transmitral Doppler recordings. Female rats had less of an increase in the ratio of early to late transmitral velocities and less of an increase in the E wave deceleration rate after MI.

Conclusions: Female rats showed a different pattern of LV remodeling than males with less of an increase in thickness of the noninfarcted portions of the left ventricle than males, but comparable LV cavity enlargement and systolic dysfunction. Despite similar infarct size, females developed less pronounced abnormalities of LV diastolic filling. We hypothesize that the gender-related differences in postinfarction LV remodeling may contribute to the different LV filling patterns, and might ultimately relate to differences in clinical outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics
  • Male
  • Myocardial Infarction / pathology*
  • Myocardial Infarction / physiopathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Ventricular Function, Left
  • Ventricular Remodeling*