Patients with Alzheimer disease have altered transmitral flow: Echocardiographic analysis of the vortex formation time

Marek Belohlavek, Panupong Jiamsripong, Anna M. Calleja, Eileen M. McMahon, Chera L. Maarouf, Tyler A. Kokjohn, Teresa L. Chaffin, Linda J. Vedders, Zsolt Garami, Thomas G. Beach, Marwan N. Sabbagh, Alex E. Roher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objective. There is considerable epidemiologic evidence that Alzheimer disease (AD) is linked to cardiovascular risk factors and associated with an increased risk of symptomatic left ventricular (LV) dysfunction. Formation of a vortex alongside a diastolic jet signifies an efficient blood transport mechanism. The vortex formation time (VFT) is an index of optimal conditions for vortex formation. We hypothesized that AD and its associated cardiovascular risk factors impair diastolic transmitral flow efficiency and, therefore, shift the VFT value out of its optimal range. Methods. Echocardiographic studies were performed on 45 participants in total: 22 patients with AD diagnosed according to the American Psychiatric Association's criteria and 23 age-matched individuals as a control group with cognitive function within normal limits. Results. The echocardiographic ratio of the early to atrial phases of the LV filling velocities was significantly lower in the AD group (mean ± SD, 0.67 ± 14) when compared with the control individuals (0.79 ± 0.14; P = .003). The interventricular septum diastolic thickness, left ventricular posterior wall diastolic thickness, and right ventricular end-diastolic diameter were significantly higher in the AD group (P ≤ 0.04). The mitral annular diameters in the control and AD groups were nearly identical (P = .725). The time-velocity integral of the E wave had a lower value in the AD group than in the control group (P = .05), whereas the VFT was significantly lower in the AD group (P = .018). Conclusions. Our study suggests that patients with AD have impaired transmitral flow efficiency of diastolic filling, as measured by the VFT, compared with age-matched control individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1493-1500
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Ultrasound in Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2009


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Blood flow velocity
  • Diastolic function
  • Vortex formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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