BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The cut-off value of diastolic dysfunction by tissue Doppler imaging (TDI) is affected by aging and modalities used (pulsed-wave vs. color-coded). The purpose of this study was to investigate the diastolic function of healthy elderly people and to determine the appropriate cut-off value of diastolic dysfunction in elderly individuals. SUBJECTS AND METHODS: Healthy volunteers (n=76) and patients with hypertension (n=51) aged > or =70 years underwent 2-dimensional and Doppler echocardiography. Mitral annulus velocities of TDI were measured at septal and lateral sites using the pulsed-wave and color-coded modalities. The appropriate cut-off value of diastolic dysfunction for healthy elderly individuals was defined as the lower limit of the 95% confidence interval for early diastolic mitral annulus velocity (Ea). RESULTS: The mean septal and lateral Ea were 6.5+/-1.5 and 8.3+/-1.7 cm/s, respectively, by pulsed-wave TDI, and 6.1+/-1.4 and 7.9+/-1.7 cm/s, respectively, by color-coded TDI. The cut-off values for diastolic dysfunction were as follows: septal and lateral Ea were 6.1 and 7.9 cm/s by pulsed-wave TDI, and 5.7 and 7.5 cm/s by color-coded TDI, respectively. When the group was stratified by gender, Ea was significantly lower in women than men. CONCLUSION: When interpreting diastolic function as measured by TDI in elderly subjects, different cut-off values should be considered based on the TDI modality, annulus site, and gender.