Determinants of left ventricular mass as measured by Doppler echocardiography in pre-adolescents
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This study examined factors contributing to the differences in left ventricular mass as measured by Doppler echocardiography in children. Fourteen boys (10.3 ± 0.3 years of age) and 1 1 girls (10.5 ± 0.4 years of age) participated in the study. Height and weight were measured, and relative body fat was determined from the measurement of skinfold thickness according to Slaughter et al. (1988). Lean Body Mass was then calculated by subtracting the fat mass from the total body mass. Sexual maturation was self-assessed using the stages of sexual maturation by Tanner (1962). Both pubic hair development and genital (penis or breast for boys and girls respectively) development were used to determine sexual maturation. Carotid Pulse pressure was assessed by applanation tomometry in the left carotid artery. Cardiac mass was measured by Doppler Echocardiography. Images of cardiac structures were taken using B-Mode and were then translated to M- Mode. The dimensions at the end diastole were obtained at the onset of the QRS complex of the electrocardiogram in a plane through a standard position. Measurements included: (a) the diameter of the left ventricle at the end diastole was measured from the septum edge to the endocardium mean border, (b) the posterior wall was measured as the distance from to anterior wall to the epicardium surface, and (c) the interventricular septum was quantified as the distance from the surface of the left ventricle border to the right ventricle septum surface. Systolic time measurements were taken at the peak of the T-wave of the electrocardiogram. Each measurement was taken three to five times before averaging. Average values were used to calculate cardiac mass using the following equation (Deveraux et al. 1986). Weekly physical activity metabolic equivalent was calculated using a standardize activity questionnaire (Godin and Shepard, 1985) and peakV02 was measured on a cycloergometer. There were no significant differences in cardiovascular mesurements between boys and girls. Left ventricular mass was correlated (p<0.05) with size, maturation, peakV02 and physical activity metabolic equivalent. In boys, lean body mass alone explained 36% of the variance in left ventricular mass while weight was the single strongest predictor of left ventricular mass (R =0.80) in girls. Lean body mass, genital developemnt and physical activity metabolic equivalent together explained 46% and 81% in boys and girls, respectively. However, the combination of lean body mass, genital development and peakV02 (ml kgLBM^ min"') explained up to 84% of the variance in left ventricular mass in girls, but added nothing in boys. It is concluded that left ventricular mass was not statistically different between pre-adolescent boys and girls suggesting that hormonal, and therefore, body size changes in adolescence have a main effect on cardiac development and its final outcome. Although body size parameters were the strongest correlates of left ventricular mass in this pre-adolescent group of children, to our knowledge, this is the first study to report that sexual maturation, as well as physical activity and fitness, are also strong associated with left ventricular mass in pre-adolescents, especially young females. Arterial variables, such as systolic blood pressure and carotid pulse pressure, are not strong determinants of left ventricular mass in this pre-adolescent group. In general, these data suggest that although there is no gender differences in the absolute values of left ventricular mass, as children grow, the factors that determine cardiac mass differ between the genders, even in the same pre-adolescent age.