Using digitized M-mode echograms, we evaluated the influence of sex on age-related changes of left ventricular (LV) anatomy and function in a normal population (75 males and 75 females, subdivided in age groups for each decade from 20 to 70 years). Aging is accompanied with an increase in septal and wall thickness in both males and females and in LV diameter only in males, with a progressive increase of LV mass more pronounced in males than in females. As regards LV function we found a progressive slowing of relaxation in females and of both contraction and relaxation in males, not related to changes in LV mass.

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