Aims: Increased left ventricular mechanical dispersion by 2D speckle tracking echocardiography predicts ventricular arrhythmias in ischaemic heart disease and heart failure. However, little is known about mechanical dispersion in the general population. We aimed to study mechanical dispersion in the general population and in diseases associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Methods and results: The present cross-sectional study consists of 2529 subjects born in 1950 included in the Akershus Cardiac Examination (ACE) 1950 study. Global longitudinal strain (GLS) was assessed from 17 strain segments, and mechanical dispersion calculated as the standard deviation of contraction duration of all segments. The cohort was divided according to the median value of mechanical dispersion, and multivariable linear regression models were performed with mechanical dispersion as the dependent variable. The prevalence of coronary artery disease (CAD), hypertension, obesity, and diabetes (P < 0.01 for all) was significantly higher in subjects with supra-median mechanical dispersion. In a multivariable clinical model, CAD (B = 7.05), hypertension (B = 4.15; both P < 0.001), diabetes (B = 3.39), and obesity (B = 1.89; both P < 0.05) were independently associated with increasing mechanical dispersion. When echocardiographic indices were added to the multivariable model, CAD (B = 4.38; P < 0.01) and hypertension (B = 2.86; P < 0.001) remained significant in addition to peak early diastolic tissue velocity e' (B = -2.00), GLS (B = 1.68), and ejection fraction (B = 0.22; P < 0.001 for all).
Conclusion: In a general middle-aged population, prevalent CAD and hypertension were associated with increasing mechanical dispersion, possibly indicating elevated risk of fatal arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. Albeit weaker, systolic and diastolic dysfunction, were also associated with increasing mechanical dispersion.
Keywords: myocardial strain; cardiovascular risk factors; general population; mechanical dispersion; population study; speckle tracking echocardiography.
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