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Clinical relevance of left ventricular (LV) diastolic dysfunction in the absence of congestive heart failure (CHF) and LV systolic dysfunction is not fully established.Asymptomatic outpatients, sedentary, with cardiovascular risk factors but no history of cardiovascular events, underwent echocardiographic evaluation of LV structure and function by standard Doppler, color M-mode, and Doppler tissue methods, and exercise testing with simultaneous noninvasive assessment of LV stroke index and cardiac index. LV ejection fraction less than 50% and significant valvular disease or stress test suggestive of coronary disease were additional exclusion criteria.In 70 patients selected (40 ± 10 years old, 63% men, 34% hypertensive, 34% diabetic, 4% diabetic and hypertensive, 11% with LV hypertrophy), LV diastolic dysfunction was detected in 26%, which was associated with hypertension, higher LV mass index, lower systolic function, lower peak exercise heart rate, and chronotropic reserve (all P < .05), and with lower peak exercise stroke index and cardiac index (both covariates adjusted P < .05), but not with lower peak exercise metabolic equivalents (P > .5). Abnormal LV relaxation was independently correlated with lower peak exercise cardiac index and stroke index (both P < .05). Peak exercise systolic and cardiac indices were comparable between patients with CHF risk factors (74%) versus those without.Isolated LV diastolic dysfunction was independently associated with lower peak exercise LV systolic performance in patients without CHF. Its diagnosis may provide a target for aggressive CHF risk management.