[Epidemiology of left ventricular systolic dysfunction in the general population of Germany: results of an echocardiographic study of a large population-based sample].Z Kardiol 2003; 92(4):294-302ZK
The prevalence of left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) in the general population is poorly defined. Specifically, the number of asymptomatic individuals with LVSD and, thus, the most appropriate strategy to identify and treat such subjects is still unknown. Therefore, the aim of this study was to document LV dysfunction in a middle-aged (25 to 75 years, mean 51.8+/-13.8) population - based sample in Germany (MONICA Augsburg, n=1678; echocardiography technically adequate n=1418) by M-mode and 2D-echocardiography and to analyze the importance of predisposing contributors. The overall prevalence of an ejection fraction (EF) less than 48% (mean minus 2 SD=LVSD) was 2.3% (n=33), with a slightly higher rate in men than in women (2.8% vs 1.9%, n.s.). LVSD rate increased with age: from 1.5% in individuals younger than 40 years to 4.0% among those older than 60 years of age (p<0.05). Of 33 participants with reduced left ventricular systolic function, 20 presented with at least one cardiovascular disease. The most frequent diagnoses were arterial hypertension, obesity and coronary heart disease. Only 13 subjects (0.9%) of the study population were asymptomatic without a history of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, only 6 subjects (0.4%, 4 male) in this population presented with a moderate impairment of LV function (EF of 30 to 40%) and only 1 subject (0.07%, male) had severe LVSD (EF less than 30%). Almost all subjects with an EF less than 40% (6 of 7 individuals) had a known history of cardiovascular disease. In conclusion, LVSD is a relatively common finding in the general population. However, severe LVSD is rare in subjects without any concomitant cardiovascular disease. Thus, echocardiographic screening cannot be recommended in the unselected, middle-aged population to identify such patients.