The way in which the heart ages is sex dependent. This difference is the biggest in the left ventricle – clinically relevant because its mass is a predictor of cardiovascular events. That is written in Radiology by American researchers of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Previous research showed that left ventricle mass is age-dependent, but a lot of these studies were cross-sectional or compared patients of different ages. Therefore, John Eng, MD, and his colleagues used data from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. This observational cohort consists of 2,395 subjects from 54 to 94 years old. All participants underwent a baseline MRI scan which was repeated after a median follow-up of 9,4 years.
During analysis of left ventricle mass, the researchers found an increase with age in men, compared to a decrease in women. Also, the amount of blood in men’s hearts decreased with age. Furthermore, the authors discovered that left ventricle mass is influenced by hypertension and a high body-mass index. Treated hypertension and HDL cholesterol intake were negatively associated with left ventricle mass.
The authors have no explanation for the connection between age, sex and left ventricle mass and make a plea for more research into this phenomenon. Nevertheless, they think that their findings can be a starting point for personalised medicine – the treatment for heart failure might not be the same for men and women.
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