Association between social isolation and left ventricular mass

Carlos J. Rodriguez, Mitchell S V Elkind, Lynn Clemow, Zhezhen Jin, Marco Di Tullio, Ralph L. Sacco, Shunichi Homma, Bernadette Boden-Albala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Social isolation is associated with progression of cardiovascular disease, with the most socially isolated patients being at increased risk. Increased left ventricular mass is a predictor of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. It is not yet clear whether social isolation is a determinant of increased left ventricular mass. Methods: We performed a cross-sectional study of Northern Manhattan Study participants who were free of clinical cardiovascular disease and had obtained transthoracic echocardiograms (n = 2021) and a baseline questionnaire on social habits. Social isolation was defined as the lack of friendship networks (knowing fewer than 3 people well enough to visit within their homes). Echocardiographic left ventricular mass was indexed to height2.7, analyzed as a continuous variable and compared between exposure groups. Results: The prevalence of social isolation was 13.5%. The average left ventricular mass was significantly higher (50.2 gm/m 2.7) in those who were, as compared with those who were not (47.6 gm/m2.7), socially isolated (P < .05). Higher prevalence of social isolation was found among those less educated, uninsured, or unemployed. There were no significant race-ethnic differences in the prevalence of social isolation. In multivariate analysis, there was a trend toward an association between social isolation and increased left ventricular mass in the total cohort (P = .09). Among Hispanics, social isolation was significantly associated with greater left ventricular mass. Hispanics who were socially isolated averaged 3.9 gm/ht2.7 higher left ventricular mass compared with those not socially isolated (P = .002). This relationship was not present among non-Hispanic blacks or whites. Conclusion: In this urban tri-ethnic cohort, social isolation was prevalent and associated with indices of low socioeconomic status. Hispanics who were socially isolated had a greater risk for increased left ventricular mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-170
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2011


  • Hispanics
  • Left ventricular mass
  • Psychosocial factors
  • Social isolation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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