Aims: To describe the influence of age and other cardiovascular factors on regional pulsed wave Doppler myocardial imaging (DMI), and to compare DMI with conventional transmitral echocardiography and the atrioventricular plane displacement (AVPD) method.

Methods and Results: Eighty-eight healthy subjects aged 20–81 years were examined by DMI, performed in the intraventricular septum just below the mitral annulus and in the corresponding lateral region, by transmitral pulsed wave Doppler echocardiography, and by AVPD. The DMI peak velocity during the left ventricular (LV) early filling phase ( e ), decreased with age from 12·3 ± 2·3 cm/s in the youngest to 7·0 ± 1·7 cm/s in the oldest tercentile ( r =−0·76, P <0·001). The DMI peak velocity during atrial contraction ( a ), increased from 7·5 ± 2·2 cm/s in the youngest to 9·7 ± 1·7 cm/s in the oldest tercentile ( r =0·41, P <0·001). The DMI systolic peak velocity ( s ), decreased with age from 8·2 ± 1·1 (youngest tercentile) to 6·9 ± 1·1 (oldest tercentile), r =−0·39, P <0·001cm/s, while the fraction shortening of the LV increased from 33·7 ± 4·1 to 38·2 ± 5·9% ( r =0·36, P <0·01). The DMI e/a correlated with the transmitral early/atrial ( E/A ) ( r =0·83, P <0·001) and with the AVPD measurement of diastolic function AV-LA/AV-mean ( r =0·82, P <0·001). The DMI e velocity correlated with the transmitral E velocity ( r =0·38, P <0·001). In the multiple regression analysis of DMI e , age was the strongest factor and LV mass index correlated inversely and independently with e . No DMI variables were influenced by gender, while transmitral E correlated with gender. The LV dimension variables explained 35% (R 2 adjusted) of the DMI e velocity changes; only 7% of the transmitral E changes were explained by those variables.

Conclusion: Regional DMI indices are highly age-dependent. In comparision with conventional echocardiography, regional DMI might be more influenced by LV geometry and by myocardial structural changes. These findings suggest a complementary role for regional DMI to conventional echocardiography for the assessment of myocardial function.

Author notes

Correspondence address: Magnus Edner, Division of Internal Medicine, Karolinska Institutet Danderyd Hospital, S-182 88 Danderyd, Sweden.