Age-related changes in the biomechanics of left ventricular twist measured by speckle tracking echocardiography

Bas M van Dalen, Osama I I Soliman, Wim B Vletter, Folkert J ten Cate, Marcel L Geleijnse
American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology 2008, 295 (4): H1705-11
The increasing number and proportion of aged individuals in the population warrants knowledge of normal physiological changes of left ventricular (LV) biomechanics with advancing age. LV twist describes the instantaneous circumferential motion of the apex with respect to the base of the heart and has an important role in LV ejection and filling. This study sought to investigate the biomechanics behind age-related changes in LV twist by determining a broad spectrum of LV rotation parameters in different age groups, using speckle tracking echocardiography (STE). The final study population consisted of 61 healthy volunteers (16-35 yr, n=25; 36-55 yr, n=23; 56-75 yr, n=13; 31 men). LV peak systolic rotation during the isovolumic contraction phase (Rot(early)), LV peak systolic rotation during ejection (Rot(max)), instantaneous LV peak systolic twist (Twist(max)), the time to Rot(early), Rot(max), and Twist(max), and rotational deformation delay (defined as the difference of time to basal Rot(max) and apical Rot(max)) were determined by STE using QLAB Advanced Quantification Software (version 6.0; Philips, Best, The Netherlands). With increasing age, apical Rot(max) (P<0.05), time to apical Rot(max) (P<0.01), and Twist(max) (P<0.01) increased, whereas basal Rot(early) (P<0.001), time to basal Rot(early) (P<0.01), and rotational deformation delay (P<0.05) decreased. Rotational deformation delay was significantly correlated to Twist(max) (R(2)=0.20, P<0.05). In conclusion, Twist(max) increased with aging, resulting from both increased apical Rot(max) and decreased rotational deformation delay between the apex and the base of the LV. This may explain the preservation of LV ejection fraction in the elderly.

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