Echocardiographic abnormalities in the assessment of cardiac organ damage in never-treated hypertensive patients

Clin Exp Hypertens. 2012;34(7):463-9. doi: 10.3109/10641963.2011.618205. Epub 2012 Jun 27.


Hypertension-related cardiac organ damage, other than left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy (LVH), has been described: in particular, concentric remodeling, LV diastolic dysfunction (DD), and left atrial (LA) enlargement are significantly associated with cardiovascular morbility and mortality in different populations. This study evaluated the prevalence of these latter morphofunctional abnormalities, in never-treated essential hypertensive patients and the role of such a serial assessment of hypertensive cardiac damage in improving cardiovascular risk stratification in these patients. A total of 100 never-treated essential hypertensive subjects underwent a complete clinical and echocardiographic evaluation. Left ventricular morphology, systolic and diastolic function, and LA dimension (linear and volume) were evaluated by echocardiography. Left ventricular hypertrophy was present in 14% of the patients, whereas concentric remodeling was present in 25% of the subjects. Among patients free from LV morphology abnormalities, the most frequent abnormality was LA enlargement (global prevalence 57%); the percentage of patients with at least one parameter consistent with DD was 22% in the entire population, but DD was present as the only cardiac abnormality in 1% of our patient. Left atrial volume indexed for body surface area was the most sensitive parameter in identifying hypertension-related cardiac modification. The global prevalence of cardiac alteration reached 73% in never-treated hypertensive patients. Left ventricular remodeling and LA enlargement evaluation may grant a better assessment of cardiac organ damage and cardiovascular risk stratification of hypertensive patients without evidence of LVH after routine examination.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Surface Area
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Echocardiography / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / etiology
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Ventricular Remodeling / physiology*