Insight into echocardiographic parameters in the general population may facilitate early recognition of ventricular dysfunction, reducing the population morbidity and mortality of heart failure. We examined the distribution of structural, systolic and diastolic echocardiographic parameters and their associations with cardiovascular risk factors in the Rotterdam Study, a population-based cohort study in men and women aged a parts per thousand yen55 years. Participants with prevalent heart failure, myocardial infarction and atrial fibrillation and flutter were excluded. Echocardiographic parameters were assessed using two-dimensional, M-mode and Doppler echocardiography. Echocardiograms were available in 4,425 participants. Structural parameters were generally larger in men, and most consistently associated with age, body mass index and blood pressure in both sexes. Prevalence of moderate or poor left ventricular systolic function was 3.9% in men and 2.1% in women. Age, body mass index and blood pressure were most consistently associated with systolic function. E/A ratio was lower in women than in men. Age and diastolic blood pressure were most consistently associated with E/A ratio in both sexes. In conclusion, ventricular systolic and diastolic dysfunction is present in asymptomatic individuals. Selected established cardiovascular risk factors are associated with structural, systolic and diastolic parameters.