Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Geriatrics and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

High frequency of diastolic dysfunction in a population-based cohort of elderly women - but poor association with the symptom dyspnea

Alfried Germing1*, Michael Gotzmann1, Tamara Schikowski2, Andrea Vierkötter2, Ulrich Ranft2, Ursula Krämer2 and Andreas Mügge1

Author Affiliations

1 Medizinische Klinik II (Kardiologie & Angiologie), Berufsgenossenschaftliches Universitätsklinikum Bergmannsheil, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Bochum, Germany

2 Institut für Umweltmedizinische Forschung (IUF) an der Heinrich Heine-Universität, Düsseldorf, Germany

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Geriatrics 2011, 11:71  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-11-71

Published: 2 November 2011

Abstract

Background

The European Society of Cardiology recently proposed a new algorithm "How to diagnose heart failure with normal ejection fraction". Central element of the diagnostic strategy is the demonstration of diastolic dysfunction, either by tissue Doppler-derived indices in first line, or in second line by a combination of elevated blood levels of natriuretic peptide with abnormal tissue Doppler findings. We thought to use this diagnostic flowchart in a population-based cohort of elderly women, in whom the prevalence of diastolic dysfunction and heart failure is believed to be high. The purpose was to evaluate the association of dyspnea with the presence of diastolic dysfunction.

Methods

The study cohort recruited from a cross-sectional follow-up examination of the SALIA cohort (study on the influence of air pollution on lung function, inflammation, and aging). Participants with cardiac or pulmonary disease were excluded, 291 participants formed the final study group (all women, age range 69 to 79 years, all in sinus rhythm, LV ejection fraction > 50%, LV enddiastolic volume index < 97 mL/m2). Quality of life was assessed by the Minnesota living with heart failure questionnaire, and actual symptoms by a structural questionnaire; the examination consisted of a physical examination, measurement of B-type natriuretic peptide, ECG and tissue Doppler echocardiography. Diastolic dysfunction was assumed when the E/E' ratio exceeded 15 as derived from tissue Doppler. In case, tissue Doppler yielded an E/E' ratio ranging from 8 to 15, additional non-invasive parameters had to be fulfilled: left atrial volume index > 40 ml/m2 body surface,

    or
left ventricular mass index > 122 g/m2 body surface,
    or
transmitral E/A ratio < 0.5 plus deceleration time > 280 ms,
    or
blood level of brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) > 200 pg/mL.

Results

The examinations were concordant with the presence of diastolic dysfunction in 122/291 participants (41.9%). The diagnosis based in 94% of cases on two criteria: in 50 cases on the criterion "E/E' ratio > 15", and in 65 cases on the criterion "15 > E/E'>8 and LV mass index > 122 g/m2". The participants with diastolic dysfunction had on average a higher body mass index, more frequent a history of arterial hypertension and of hospitalization for congestive heart failure, poorer quality of life, and higher BNP blood levels as compared to those participants without signs of diastolic dysfunction. The number of participants complaining exertional dyspnea, however, was similar distributed among the subgroups with and without signs of diastolic dysfunction (40.2 vs 40.8%; p = n.s). In a logistic regression model, the symptom dyspnea was best predicted by systolic pulmonary artery pressure, followed by left atrial volume index, BNP, and body mass index.

Conclusion

The demonstration of diastolic dysfunction showed only a poor association with the symptom dyspnea in a cohort of elderly women with otherwise normal systolic function. Additional structural or hemodynamic changes are necessary to "explain" the symptom dyspnea. It is unclear whether these additional factors are secondary to a more advanced stage of diastolic dysfunction, or are related to cardiovascular co-morbidities, or both.