Background: Left ventricular mass is a risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Although factors associated with elevated left ventricular mass have been sought and studied extensively in elderly and in diseased subjects, few studies have examined the young and healthy. The aim of this study was to examine the possible influence of lifestyle on left ventricular mass in a large group of young men.
Methods: Left ventricular mass was assessed using cardiovascular magnetic resonance in 541 healthy Caucasian male army recruits. Anthropometric, lifestyle and blood pressure data were collected.
Results: Mean unadjusted left ventricular mass and left ventricular mass indexed to body surface area were 163.8+/-24.9 g and 86.6+/-10.2 g m(-2) respectively. In univariate analysis, age, height, weight, alcohol consumption, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure and indices of physical activity were positively associated with unadjusted left ventricular mass (all P<0.02). By contrast, smoking was associated with lower mean left ventricular mass; never smoked 167.5+/-25.8 g vs ex-smokers 159.1+/-25.2 g vs current smokers 161.0+/-23.1 g (P=0.007). Multivariate analysis revealed weight, systolic blood pressure, smoking status and indices of physical activity to be independent predictors of left ventricular mass.
Conclusions: Our data confirm an association of age, body weight, height, physical activity, diastolic and systolic blood pressure with left ventricular mass. In addition, unexpectedly, we have found smoking is associated with lower left ventricular mass in a large sample of young healthy men. Although the latter association may result from confounding effects, such an interesting observation deserves further investigation.