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Diastolic dysfunction

Condition

Relaxation difficulty of engorged heart walls leads to heart failure of a special kind.

What is Diastolic Dysfunction?

The heart function and the volume of blood that is being pumped out of the heart with every beat depends on the ability of the heart muscle to contract and on its ability to relax and to fill prior to the heart action.

 

Fibrosis of the heart muscle as we often see with long term untreated or badly treated high blood pressure causes the heart walls to thicken and its ability to relax and  the refill is being affected. The result is a decreased heart volume, less blood is being ejected with every heartbeat. The heart action is insufficient.

Diastolic dysfunction condition.jpg

One cause of diastolic dysfunction, happening in the filling phase of the heart, the Diastoly, is fibrosis, an increased collagen deposition in the heart muscle, which makes the initially rubbery like heart stiffer so that the filling time with blood for the next ejection cycle takes longer. This is the early phase of heart failure in an aging heart.

Other causes of Diastolic Dysfunction:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

  • Diabetes

  • Obesity

  • Coronary artery disease and limited blood flow to the heart

  • Previous heart attack

  • Sleep apnea

  • Lack of physical activity 

 

What are the symptoms of Diastolic Dysfunction?

The same as with regular heart failure (systolic) when the heart walls are too weak to pump the blood out with every heartbeat:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Leg swelling

 

What imaging/ tests are done to diagnose Diastolic Dysfunction?

 

  • Transthoracic Echocardiography

 

What intervention/ treatment can be performed for Diastolic Dysfunction?

Medication, especially blood pressure control with specific drugs like the Renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system blockers like the group of ace inhibitors, at1 and 2 blockers.  

 

These agents have been shown to reduce the risk of developing heart failure from diastolic dysfunction. In fact these drugs have been shown to actually halt or even reverse this collagen deposition (fibrosis) in the heart muscle and thereby reverse to some degree the diastolic dysfunction. This process is called cardiac remodeling.

 

What intervention/ treatment does CardioCare offer for Diastolic Dysfunction?

  • Medication: especially blood pressure control

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