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Diastolic dysfunction, often seen with increasing age, is associated with reduced exercise capacity and increased mortality. Mortality rates in older individuals are linked to the development of disability, which may be preceded by functional limitations. The goal of this study was to identify which echocardiographic measures of diastolic function correlate with physical function in older subjects. A total of 36 men and women from the Louisiana Healthy Aging Study, age 62–101 yr, received a complete echocardiographic exam and performed the 10-item continuous-scale physical-functional performance test (CS-PFP-10). After adjustment for age and gender, left atrial volume index (ρ = –0.59; p = .0005) correlated with the total CS-PFP-10 score. Increased left atrial volume index may be a marker of impaired performance of activities of daily living in older individuals.

Pellett is with the Dept. of Cardiopulmonary Science, and Welsh, the Dept. of Medicine, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA. Myers is with the Dept. of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA. Welsch is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. Jazwinski is with the Tulane Center for Aging and Dept. of Medicine, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, New Orleans, LA.