I was told yesterday that my heart failure could have been caused by a diastolic dysfunction. What is that and what diagnostic data do they use to diagnose this? What could cause diastolic dysfunction? Are there specific markers on the echocardiogram that would indicate a diastolic dysfunction? I have low to normal blood pressure, normal kidney function, clean coronaries but now have a dilated global LV systolic dysfunction with an EF of 30%. I did have valvular heart disease (mitral valve) for which I had a mitral valve replacement. I have also had a year and a half of battling Atrial Fib/Flutter for which I had a AV node ablation so am pacer dependent now. Could any of this be related?
The heart has a period when it ejects blood called systole and a period when it relaxes and refills with blood to pump again called diastole.
Abnormalities in diastole are known as disatolic dysfunction. Some degree of diastolic dysfunction occurs from the natural process of aging. Things that cause the heart to stiffen up or improperly relax, impain its ability to fill properly, increase pressures in the heart and can cause heart failure. The most common cause of this phenomenon is thickening of the heart form hypertension. Actually, pretty much all people with heart failure have some element of both systolic and diastolic dysfunction. Commonly, echocardiograms will report measurement of diastolic dysfunction.
Unfortunaltely, the diagnosis of diastolic heart failure is sometimes difficult to make in the setting of normal ventricular function. Given your EF is low, you probably have both systolic and diastolic dysfunction. The cause of your heart failure was more likely due to your mitral valve disease and your fibrillation.
If you continue to have symptoms, I would recommend seeing a heart failure specialist to help tease out treatment modalities.
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