Non-invasive measures of cardiac mechanical function may have the potential to serve as markers of risk for heart failure; however, limited data exist regarding clinical correlates and heritability of these measures in the community.Methods and results
We used speckle-tracking echocardiography to assess LV strain and synchrony in the Framingham Offspring Study (n = 2816; mean age 67 years, 54% women). In multivariable regression analyses, male gender (vs. female, P < 0.001), higher heart rate (P < 0.0001), and presence of cardiovascular disease (P < 0.001) were associated with worse global peak strains across all planes analysed (longitudinal, transverse, circumferential, and radial). Higher diastolic blood pressure and diabetes were associated with worse longitudinal strain (P < 0.01), and greater body mass index was associated with worse radial strain (P = 0.0004). Overall, however, clinical correlates accounted for only 4–19% of the variation in measures of LV mechanical function. Select measures of LV strain were heritable: longitudinal strain (h2 = 16%, P = 0.002), transverse strain (h2 = 15%, P = 0.006), and circumferential strain (h2 = 30%, P < 0.0001). Furthermore, in a subset of 1437 participants with parental data available, parental heart failure was associated with worse circumferential strain in the offspring free of heart failure (P = 0.01).Conclusions
Our investigation in a large community-based sample identified heritablity and clinical correlates of LV mechanical function, and highlighted an association of parental heart failure with worse global circumferential strain in offspring.