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Hypertensive left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy has been associated with diastolic dysfunction. However, the underlying physiological relationship between LV size and diastolic function remains to be clarified. The aim of this study was to evaluate the relationship between several measures of diastolic filling and LV mass in a population sample.We used M-mode and Doppler echocardiography to compare left ventricular mass index (LVMI) and wall thickness with five measures of ventricular diastolic filling (ratio of the peak early mitral inflow velocity to the peak atrial mitral inflow velocity, deceleration time of early mitral inflow, isovolumetric relaxation time, ratio of the peak pulmonary venous systolic to diastolic flow and difference between the durations of the pulmonary venous and mitral inflow atrial waves) in 159 healthy volunteers.LVMI was significantly (P <0.0001) greater in men (81.3 g/m2, interquartile range: 67–94) than women (59.7 g/m2, interquartile range: 49–74), but no gender differences were observed in diastolic filling. Higher age, blood pressure and heart rate showed significant correlation with diminished diastolic filling. However, no measure of diastolic filling correlated with LVMI or wall thickness in either univariate or multiple regression analyses that adjusted for relevant covariates.LVMI does not explain physiological differences in diastolic filling. The significant decline in diastolic filling with age reflects changes in the quality rather than the quantity of myocardial tissue.