The relationship between blood pressure and left ventricular diastolic function was examined in participants of the Tecumseh Blood Pressure study. When subjects were divided into three blood pressure groups according to blood pressure levels 3 years apart, it was found that subjects who were had sustained 'hypertension' at both time points (SH) had a decreased early/late diastolic filling rate (E/A ratio) compared to subjects who were hypertensive at only one of the timepoints (OH) and those who were consistently normotensive (NN) (1.71 ± 0.02 NN vs 1.55 ± 0.05 OH, (p < 0.0001) vs 1.56 ± 0.07 SH, (p < 0.04)). This relative order was maintained when the second estimation of diastolic filling was performed 3 years later, but the E/A ratio had decreased significantly in all groups (1.54 ± 0.01 NN vs 1.45 ± 0.03 OH (p < 0.01) vs 1.37 ± 0.06 SH (p < 0.006)), consistent with an age- related reduction in diastolic filling. Heart rates were significantly higher in the hypertensive groups initially (63.5 NN vs 66.2 OH (p < 0.03) vs SH 67.3 (p < 0.01)) and increased in all groups over time, with the largest increase in the SH group (64.9 ± 0.04 NN vs 67.8 ± 1.02 OH (p < 0.0001) vs 70.9 ± 1.6 SH (p < 0.01)). Stroke volume index changed in all groups over time, with the increase greatest in the NN group and least in the SH groups the reverse of this pattern was seen for changes in heart rate. All subjects gained weight over the 3 years of the study so that these unexpected changes in stroke volume index and heart rate could be a consequence of a weight gain-related increase in the sympathetic tone, although we have no direct evidence that this is the case. Should this be so, the smaller increase in stroke volume in conjunction with the larger increase in the heart rate in the sustained hypertensive group may reflect the effects of mild blood pressure elevation in producing a reduction in left ventricular diastolic function associated with a decrease in the inotropic responsiveness of the heart to enhanced sympathetic tone.
- Left ventricular function
- Sympathetic nervous system
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine