It is well known that arterial stiffness affects the morbidity and mortality associated with cardiovascular disease. However, there are limited data addressing the relationship between arterial stiffness and left ventricular (LV) diastolic function in patients with cardiovascular risk factors. Subclinical atherosclerosis was determined by measuring the intima-media thickness and stiffness (beta) of the left and right common carotid arteries using B- and M-mode ultrasonography in 30 patients with one or more cardiovascular risk factors. LV systolic and diastolic function were also determined by measuring transmitral flow velocity, mitral annular motion velocity, and myocardial strain and strain rate profiles using pulsed Doppler, tissue velocity, and ultrasonic strain imaging. The carotid stiffness beta was greater and the peak early diastolic strain rates of the LV posterior and inferior walls were lower in these patients than in the age-matched control group. The carotid intima-media thickness correlated only with body mass index and LV wall thickness. The carotid stiffness beta correlated with age, peak early diastolic velocity and deceleration time of the transmitral flow, peak early diastolic mitral annular motion velocity, and peak early diastolic strain rates of the LV walls. Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that early diastolic strain rates of the LV walls are strongly related to carotid stiffness beta. In conclusion, LV relaxation is significantly associated with carotid arterial atherosclerosis, particularly sclerosis, in patients with cardiovascular risk factors. These results support the importance of screening using ultrasonic strain imaging and early intervention in this patient population.