BACKGROUND: A distinct velocity pattern represented by a "notch" is observed during the time interval between the end of the systolic and the onset of the early diastolic velocity wave on longitudinal myocardial velocity curve. The origin of the post-systolic velocity notch (PSN) has not been resolved. METHODS: The high frame rate color tissue Doppler imaging of the apical longitudinal axis was performed in 32 healthy subjects. RESULTS: The time delays of the PSN onset at the posterior aortic wall (AW), the mid anteroseptal wall (MAS) and the posterior mitral annulus (MA) relatively to the anterior aortic annulus (AA) were found to be significantly longer than zero (5.1 +/- 2.2, 6.0 +/- 2.3, 6.8 +/- 2.8 ms; p < 0.001). The amplitude was the highest at the AA when compared to the AW, the MAS and the MA (4.77 +/- 1.28 vs. 2.88 +/- 1.11, 2.15 +/- 0.73, 2.44 +/- 1.17 cm/s; p < 0.001). A second PSN spike was identifiable in 10/32 (31%) of the studied subjects at the AA. Of these, 9 (28%) exhibited a second PSN spike at the AW, 3 (9%) at the MAS and no one at the MA. CONCLUSION: The AA represents the site of the earliest onset and maximal amplitude of the PSN on the longitudinal velocity curve suggesting its mechanism to be that of an energy release at the instant of the aortic valve closure causing an apically directed acceleration of the myocardium. A substantial number of healthy subjects exhibit a second PSN spike predominantly at the level of the AA. Its mechanism remains to be elucidated.