Left ventricular (LV) diastolic function in the early diastolic phase includes both active and passive processes, but in the atrial contraction phase it includes only passive processes. To elucidate the relation between the intraventricular dispersion of the flow velocity in diastole and LV diastolic process, 31 normal volunteers and 12 patients with hypertensive heart disease were studied. In these subjects the flow velocity pattern at the mitral tip was recorded simultaneously with regional flow velocity patterns 1, 2 or 3 cm from the mitral tip toward the apex, respectively, with multigate pulsed Doppler echocardiography from the apical long-axis view with the guidance of Doppler colorflow imaging. Although the ratio of regional peak flow velocity/mitral peak flow velocity in the atrial contraction phase decreased from the mitral tip to the apex to the same degree in the normal volunteers and patients with hypertensive heart disease, there was a significant difference in the intraventricular dispersion of the early diastolic flow velocity between the two groups. These results suggest that the progressive intraventricular drop of the flow velocity in the early diastolic phase in patients with hypertensive heart disease may reflect the impairment of active rather than passive LV diastolic function.