Impaired shortening deactivation of cardiac myocytes could sustain myocardial contraction, preserving ejection fraction at the expense of diastolic dysfunction. We examined the relationship between first-phase ejection fraction (EF1), the fraction of left ventricular volume ejected from the start of systole to the time of the first peak in left ventricular pressure (corresponding to the time of maximal ventricular shortening) to the duration of myocardial contraction and diastolic function in patients with hypertension (n=163), and varying degrees of diastolic dysfunction. Left ventricular systolic pressure was estimated by carotid tonometry; time-resolved left ventricular cavity and wall volume were obtained by echocardiography with speckle wall tracking. Measurements were repeated after nitroglycerin, a drug known to influence ventricular dynamics, in a subsample (n=18) of patients. EF1 and time of onset of ventricular relaxation (as determined from the temporal pattern of myocardial wall stress) were independently correlated with diastolic relaxation as measured by tissue Doppler early diastolic mitral annular velocity (E′, standardized regression coefficients 0.48 and -0.34 for EF1 and time of onset of ventricular relaxation, respectively, each P<0.001, irrespective of adjustment for age, sex, antihypertensive treatment, measures of afterload, and ventricular geometry) and with diastolic function measured by the ratio of transmitral Doppler early filling velocity (E) to E′ (E/E′, regression coefficients -0.34 and 0.34, respectively, each P<0.001). Nitroglycerin increased EF1, decreased time of onset of ventricular relaxation, and improved diastolic function (each P<0.05). Hypertensive patients with diastolic dysfunction exhibit reduced EF1 which may sustain myocardial contraction, preserving systolic ejection fraction at the expense of impaired diastolic function.
- blood pressure
- ventricular function