The increasing number and proportion of aged individuals in the population warrants knowledge of normal physiological changes of left ventricular (LV) biomechanics with advancing age. LV twist describes the instantaneous circumferential motion of the apex with respect to the base of the heart and has an important role in LV ejection and filling. This study sought to investigate the biomechanics behind age-related changes in LV twist by determining a broad spectrum of LV rotation parameters in different age groups, using speckle tracking echocardiography (STE). The final study population consisted of 61 healthy volunteers (16-35 yr, n = 25; 36-55 yr, n = 23; 56-75 yr, n = 13; 31 men). LV peak systolic rotation during the isovolumic contraction phase (Rotearly), LV peak systolic rotation during ejection (Rotmax), instantaneous LV peak systolic twist (Twistmax), the time to Rotearly, Rotmax, and Twistmax, and rotational deformation delay (defined as the difference of time to basal Rotmaxand apical Rotmax) were determined by STE using QLAB Advanced Quantification Software (version 6.0; Philips, Best, The Netherlands). With increasing age, apical Rotmax(P < 0.05), time to apical Rotmax(P < 0.01), and Twistmax(P < 0.01) increased, whereas basal Rotearly(P < 0.001), time to basal Rotearly(P < 0.01), and rotational deformation delay (P < 0.05) decreased. Rotational deformation delay was significantly correlated to Twistmax(R2= 0.20, P < 0.05). In conclusion, Twistmaxincreased with aging, resulting from both increased apical Rotmaxand decreased rotational deformation delay between the apex and the base of the LV. This may explain the preservation of LV ejection fraction in the elderly. Copyright

American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Dalen, B.M, Soliman, O.I.I, Vletter, W.B, ten Cate, F.J, & Geleijnse, M.L. (2008). Age-related changes in the biomechanics of left ventricular twist measured by speckle tracking echocardiography. American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 295(4). doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00513.2008