Background: Left ventricular hypertrophy is often found very early in the course of hypertension. It is not known whether increased left ventricular mass contributes to the pathogenesis of hypertension. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of left ventricular mass and other echocardiographically assessed cardiac structural features on the incidence of hypertension. Methods and Results: Subjects for this investigation included participants in the Framingham Heart Study and the Framingham Offspring Study who were normotensive at the baseline examination (systolic blood pressure, <140 mm Hg; diastolic blood pressure, <90 mm Hg; not receiving antihypertensive medications) and free of coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, valvular heart disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, diabetes mellitus, and renal insufficiency. The study sample included 1121 men (mean age, 44.4 years) and 1559 women (mean age, 45.6 years). Four years after the baseline examination, 202 men (18.0%) and 257 women (16.5%) were hypertensive (systolic blood pressure, ≥140 mm Hg; diastolic blood pressure, ≥90 mm Hg; or use of antihypertensive medications). Baseline echocardiographic left ventricular mass (P=.01) and the sum of septal and posterior left ventricular wall thicknesses (P=.02) were associated with progression to hypertension. After adjusting for sex, baseline age, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, body mass index, alcohol intake, and systolic blood pressure from an examination 8 years earlier, the odds ratio for developing hypertension for a 1-SD increment in left ventricular mass index was 1.20 (95% confidence interval, 1.04 to 1.39), and the odds ratio for a 1-SD increment in left ventricular wall thickness was 1.16 (95% confidence interval, 1.02 to 1.33). Conclusions: In these normotensive adults, increased left ventricular mass and wall thickness were associated with the development of hypertension. Further studies are warranted to examine the utility of echocardiography in determining the need for antihypertensive therapy and to assess the effect of earlier intervention on the course of progression to hypertension.
- Framingham Heart Study
- left ventricle
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)