The aim of this study has been to analyze the acute and chronic effects of oral verapamil on diastolic function indices, derived from Doppler echocardiography, and left-ventricular (LV) dimensions and mass, assessed by M-mode echocardiography, in hypertensive patients without LV hypertrophy. 12 patients with essential hypertension were studied in basal conditions and (1) after a single oral administration of verapamil 160 mg and placebo in a double-blind protocol and (2) over chronic treatment (12 months) with verapamil 240 mg/day. At baseline, the ratio between early and atrial-induced transmitral velocities (E/A ratio) was lower in patients than in 12 age-matched normal subjects (1.08 ± 0.2 vs. 1.51 ± 0.3, p < 0.01). Acute verapamil administration significantly decreased arterial blood pressure (162 ± 26/101 ± 8 to 142 ± 12/88 ± 7 mm Hg, p < 0.01 after 2 h) and increased the E/A ratio to 1.26 ± 0.3 (p < 0.05) after 3 h. No change in ventricular dimensions and heart rate was observed. After chronic therapy, we found a further increase in the E/A ratio in 10 responder patients (1.49 ± 0.3, p < 0.01). The LV mass index, that was higher than in normal subjects before the treatment (118 ± 16 vs. 91 ± 11 g/m<sup>2</sup>, p < 0.01), was significantly reduced (100 ± 17 g/m<sup>2</sup>, p < 0.05 vs. basal, nonsignificant vs. normal subjects). Our results demonstrate that acute administration of verapamil only partially improves the abnormal indices of diastolic function in hypertensive patients, whereas chronic treatment, by reducing LV mass indices and blood pressure to normal values, can completely normalize the indices of LV diastolic filling.