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Early Signs of Heart Disease Seen in MRI

Left ventricular concentric remodeling linked to regional dysfunction

THURSDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDay Physician's Briefing) -- Healthy patients who show signs of left ventricular concentric remodeling by magnetic resonance imaging also have a decrease in regional systolic function, according to a study published in the August 8 online Circulation. The changes may be a sign of local transition from remodeling to myocardial dysfunction, conclude Boaz Rosen, of Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and colleagues.

The results are from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), a trial that aims to look at the development of subclinical heart disease in healthy individuals. The cohort includes a total of 6,814 men and women aged 45 to 85 who are white, Hispanic, black and Chinese, and who do not have known cardiovascular disease.

In the new study, the researchers performed myocardial tagged MRI on 441 asymptomatic MESA participants. The research team determined regional myocardial function by measuring peak systolic midwall circumferential strain (Ecc) and they measured the extent of concentric remodeling by determining the ratio of left ventricular mass to end-diastolic volume (M/V ratio).

They found that in men, there was a gradual decline in peak global Ecc with increasing M/V ratio. Among women, however, Ecc tended to be lower in the fifth compared to the first quintile of M/V ratio. Overall, the reduction in function was most pronounced in the left anterior descending coronary artery.

In both genders, decline in myocardial function "was regionally heterogeneous and more pronounced in the anterior wall of the LV," the authors write. "It may reflect the transition from compensatory remodeling to incipient myocardial failure."

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