Longitudinal myocardial function (LMF) may be impaired while systolic function is still normal. We investigated relationship between LMF and hypertensive organ damage in newly diagnosed stage I hypertensive patients. A total of 57 patient with never treated stage I hypertension and 48 matched healthy control subject were enrolled in the study. Conventional 2-D, Doppler and tissue wave Doppler imaging (TDI) echocardiography were used. LMF was evaluated by the septal and lateral strain (S) and strain rate (SR) measurements. Hypertensive complications were evaluated by the urine microalbumin levels and retinal examination. A multivariate regression analysis was perfomed to assess the relation between the variables. Ejection fraction, mid-wall fractional shortenning, systolic movement rates (TDs) in TDI were similar both in hypertensive and control groups. In patients with left ventricular hypertrophy, septal TDs (7.29 +/- A 1.28 vs. 8.06 +/- A 1.19 cm, P = 0.03), lateral TDs (8.46 +/- A 1.83 vs. 9.87 +/- A 2.42 cm, P = 0.01) and lateral S (-13.02 +/- A 7.83 vs. -18.86 +/- A 8.60%, P = 0.01) values were significantly lower. Septal S (-13.67 +/- A 3.52 vs. -19.09 +/- A 5.96%, P < 0.01) and SR (-0.83 +/- A 0.29 vs. -1.22 +/- A 0.28 1/S, P < 0.01) were significantly decreased in hypertensive patients with microalbuminuria. Septal S value was also significantly decreased in patients with retinopathy (-14.76 +/- A 5.55 vs. -20.20 +/- A 5.44%, P = 0.01). Multivariate analysis showed that only septal and lateral S values were independent factors for the retinopathy and left ventricular hypertrophy, respectively. In hypertensive patients, LMF established by the measurement of S and SR, might be impaired and also related with end organ damage while global circumferential function is preserved.