Background and aim: Upper reference values of echocardiographic left-ventricular mass in the European population are based on scanty data mostly derived from northern European population-based samples. Furthermore, data in apparently healthy populations have included individuals with conditions affecting left-ventricular mass such as obesity, diabetes and masked hypertension. Thus, from 1051 individuals with normal office blood pressure (BP) belonging to the PAMELA (Pressioni Arteriose Monitorate E Loro Associazioni) study population, we selected a group of 675 sustained normotensive individuals in order to provide reliable echocardiographic reference values for defining the criteria of left-ventricular hypertrophy (LVH).
Methods: The study group (women 58%, mean age 42 ± 11 years) was identified after excluding individuals with isolated home or ambulatory hypertension, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and echocardiographic examinations of insufficient quality to evaluate left-ventricular mass.
Results: Sex-specific upper limits of normality [mean + 1.96 standard deviation (SD)] for left-ventricular mass, left-ventricular mass indexed to body surface area, height2.7and height were the following: 213 g, 114 g/m2, 51 g/h2.7, 123 g/h in men and 161 g, 99 g/m2, 47 g/h2.7, 101 g/h in women. In multivariate analyses, body size measures and ambulatory BP levels were the most important correlates of left-ventricular mass.
Conclusions: Our investigation by providing upper reference limits of left-ventricular mass in a southern European population sample, carefully selected after exclusion of a large number of conditions affecting left-ventricular mass, may offer a contribution for revising diagnostic criteria of echocardiographic LVH currently recommended by European hypertension guidelines.