To improve risk prediction of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, we need sensitive markers of cardiac dysfunction; Echocardiographic Tissue Doppler Imaging (TDI) is feasible and harmless and may be ideal for this purpose.Methods and results
Within the community-based Copenhagen City Heart Study, 2064 participants were examined by echocardiography including TDI and followed (median 10.9 years) with regard to cardiovascular death, heart failure, or acute myocardial infarction (n = 277). Impaired systolic (s′) and diastolic (e′ and a′) function according to age and sex as assessed by TDI was associated with increased risk of the combined end point, even in the subgroup of persons with a normal conventional echocardiographic examination [per 1 cm/s decrease: s′: HR 1.32 (1.12–1.57), P < 0.001; e′: HR 1.17(1.04–1.31), P < 0.01; a′: HR 1.17 (1.06–1.30), P < 0.005]. Interestingly, reduced early diastolic myocardial velocity (e′) was associated with risk of acute myocardial infarction, whereas reduced systolic (s′) or late diastolic function (a′) was associated with heart failure and cardiovascular death independently of traditional risk factors, plasma proBNP, and conventional echocardiographic measures. Combining information on early and late diastolic function by TDI provided incremental prognostic information and improved risk classification (net reclassification improvement: 27%; P < 0.001) and remained a significant predictor of the combined end point even in the subgroup with a normal conventional echocardiographic examination [per cm/s decrease: HR 1.18 (1.08–1.28), P < 0.001].Conclusion
In the general population, TDI identifies individuals with cardiac dysfunction and high risk of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality independently of traditional risk factors, even in persons with a normal conventional echocardiographic examination.