Left Ventricular Diastolic Dysfunction in the Community: Impact of Diagnostic Criteria on the Burden, Correlates, and Prognosis

J Am Heart Assoc. 2018 Jun 1;7(11):e008291. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.117.008291.


Background: Left ventricular diastolic dysfunction (DD) is common, particularly in women and older individuals, and it is associated with adverse cardiovascular outcomes. We evaluated the impact of age- and sex-specific diagnostic criteria on the assessment of DD in the community-based Framingham Heart Study.

Methods and results: We estimated age- and sex-specific reference limits for echocardiographic measures of DD in a healthy reference subsample (N=2355, mean age 44 years, 66% women). The prevalence, correlates, and association with future cardiovascular disease were compared for DD using age- and sex-specific versus single cut point reference limits in a broad sample (N=6102, mean age 50 years, 56% women). Using age- and sex-specific criteria, DD was present in ≈25% to 30% of individuals across age groups, and it was directly associated with a number of modifiable risk factors. In contrast, with single cut point criteria, age was the primary determinant of DD. During follow-up (mean 7.9±2.2 years), incident cardiovascular disease occurred in 213 of 5770 individuals. Using age- and sex-specific criteria, mild and moderate-severe DD were associated with 50% (95% confidence interval, 1.09-2.05) and 65% (95% confidence interval, 1.14-2.38) higher incidences of cardiovascular disease, respectively, in age- and sex-adjusted analyses. With single cut point criteria, moderate-severe DD (hazard ratio, 1.66; 95% confidence interval, 1.05-2.61), but not mild DD (hazard ratio, 0.94; 95% confidence interval, 0.63-1.40), was associated with incident cardiovascular disease.

Conclusions: Age- and sex-specific reference limits may result in DD assessments that are less dependent on age, more robustly related to modifiable risk factors, and are more closely associated with incident cardiovascular disease.

Keywords: diastolic dysfunction; echocardiography; epidemiology; heart failure; prevention.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diastole
  • Echocardiography / methods*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / diagnosis
  • Ventricular Dysfunction, Left / epidemiology
  • Ventricular Function, Left / physiology*