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Aging heart changes shape, shrinks and loses pumping function too
Date:11/4/2007

year with heart failure - mostly women over age 50 - have a non-systolic form, in which the ejection fraction appears the same, even though heart function is declining. Age could be the deciding factor in determining who gets this kind of heart failure, he says.

This study highlights how the aging hearts anatomy and function change hand in hand over time, similar to arteries stiffening, bones weakening from loss of calcium, and kidney function declining, says Lima. Physicians and patients need to recognize it as a process that can be accelerated by risk factors or possibly slowed down by healthy lifestyle choices and sound medical care.

The next step, researchers say, is to look for so-called biological markers, usually blood proteins, which can track the effects of the aging process on heart shape and function and to measure these markers, so that a test specific to aging of the cardiovascular system can be developed.

Study participants from six centers across North America were drawn from a larger pool of 7,000 ethnically diverse adults, including African Americans, Chinese Americans, Caucasians and Hispanics - all monitored to see who develops heart failure. Started in 2000, the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) is set to run for another six years. It is the first large-scale analysis of racial or ethnic differences in heart function. So far, 79 study participants have developed congestive heart failure.


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Contact: David March
dmarch1@jhmi.edu
410-955-1534
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions  
Source:Eurekalert

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