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AIMS: As obesity-related cardiovascular mortality, although elevated when compared with normal weight, is lower in females than in males at every body mass index (BMI) level, we aimed to investigate gender-specific differences in left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy in obesity, which themselves have been shown to have varying prognostic value. METHOD AND RESULTS: In total, 741 subjects (female, n = 399) without identifiable cardiovascular risk factors (BMI 15.7-59.2 kg/m(2)) underwent cardiovascular magnetic resonance (1.5 T) to determine LV mass, end-diastolic volume (EDV, mL), and LV mass/volume ratio (LVM/VR). Across both sexes, there was a strong positive correlation between BMI and LV mass (male r = 0.44, female r = 0.57, both P < 0.001), with males showing a greater LV hypertrophic response (male +2.3 vs. female +1.6 g per BMI point increase, P = 0.001). Concentric hypertrophy was present in both sexes and LVM/VR positively correlated to BMI (male r = 0.45, female r = 0.29, both P < 0.001) on linear regression analysis. However, the degree of concentric hypertrophy was greater in males (male +0.13 vs. female +0.06 LVM/VR increase per BMI point increase, P = 0.001). On the other hand, females showed a greater LV cavity dilatory response (female +1.1 vs. male +0.3 mL per BMI point increase, P < 0.001). Indeed, in contrast to females, where BMI and LV-EDV were positively correlated (r = 0.38, P < 0.001), BMI did not correlate with EDV in men (r = 0.03, P = 0.62). CONCLUSION: In the absence of traditional cardiovascular risk factors, obese men show predominantly concentric hypertrophy, whereas obese women exhibit both eccentric and concentric hypertrophy. As concentric hypertrophy is more strongly related to cardiovascular mortality than eccentric hypertrophy, our observations may explain the observed gender difference in obesity-related mortality.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur Heart J

Publication Date





292 - 299


Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Body Mass Index, Female, Humans, Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular, Magnetic Resonance Angiography, Male, Middle Aged, Obesity, Sex Characteristics, Stroke Volume, Ventricular Function, Left, Ventricular Remodeling, Young Adult