Heart Disease Forum
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Avatar universal

Living with Diastolic Dysfunction

Hello, just wondering, my wife has been diagnosed with mild diastolic dysfunction about 3 years ago.

This was her diagnosis three years ago:
Left ventricle: the left ventricular cavity size is normal. the estimated left ventricular ejection fraction is 60-65%. Doppler study of the mitral inflow suggest abnormal left ventricular relaxation (mild left ventricular diastolic dysfunction).
Atria: The left atrium is normal. The right atrium is normal.
Right heart: Right ventricular size, thickness and function are normal. The estimated pulmonary artery systolic pressure is normal at 30.0 mmHg. The pulmonary valve is not well visualized. No indication of pulmonary valve regurgitation.

Since then, she gets occasional chest tightness and shortness of breath, but not on a regular basis, and sometimes nothing for a long period of time. When she eats well and exercise regularly, she feels good and has no symptoms. When we go hiking, she feels great, no shortness of breath. However, when she eats excessive salt or too much meat, she gets slight tightness of chest.

She has been taking co-enzyme with vitamin C for a year, along with a low-salt diet. It seems to help her feel much better. Lately, she started taking less co-enzyme, but continued with vitamin C daily. She started coughing irregularly. No shortness of breath, nothing else, except coughing 2 or 3 times a day (cough last a few seconds).

She just checked her blood pressure, which is 99/68.

I am wondering if her diastolic dysfunction is getting worse? She is 42 years of age. Should I worry? And how long can a person live with diastolic dysfunction?
4 Responses
Avatar universal
Thank you for taking the time to post on our forum.

These are great questions, and your wife is very lucky to have someone as thoughtful as you looking into her health!

The cardiac cycle, or heart beat, consists of both contraction (systole) and relaxation (diastole) of the heart.  The left ventricle is the main pumping chamber of the heart.  Patients with abnormal heart function can have a problem with the heart contracting (systolic dysfunction), or relaxing (diastolic dysfunction).  Abnormal heart function can lead to fluid backing up in the lungs and other serious symptoms, called heart failure.

Your wife appears to have what is called "diastolic dysfunction", which means that by echocardiogram, there is evidence that the heart has a difficulty with relaxing.  When it is severe enough, this may lead to difficulty with the heart filling, and symptoms of heart failure.  Reassuringly, however, your wife's echo report was read as "mild" diastolic dysfunction.  While this does not typically cause patients symptoms, this is typically  monitored by a cardiologist over time to assure it does not get worse.  The most common cause of diastolic dysfunction is hypertension.  Although there is not much evidence evaluating patients long term with mild diastolic dysfunction, if this is the only issue noted on echocardiography, it is unlikely to affect her life-span.

It seems unlikely that your wife's symptoms are solely due to her mild diastolic dysunction, but it is possible if her diastolic dysfunction has gotten worse over the past 3 years, and it is reasonable to seek an evaluation by a physician to be certain this is not the case.  Eating excessive salt may cause fluid retention, and in patients with abnormal diastolic funciton, this may cause shortness of breath.  However, shortness of breath and cough are fairly non-specific symptoms, and as such it is difficult to fully assess the cause of these symptoms without a full evaluation by a physician.

I hope you find this information helpful.  Very best wishes into the future!
Avatar universal
Thank you for responding to my questions. I appreciate this very much. Should I be worried if it has gotten worse? She likes to argue, which I don't think is good for her. But she said that she need to let it out. She has insomnia as well. Thank you in any case.
Avatar universal
Also, can her condition be reversed? Can she go back to normal health again? Will a healthy nutrition and exercise be good enough for her?
Avatar universal
Here are the rest of the report (from my original post):

Tricuspid Valve: The triscupid valve is normal in structure and function. Physiologic triscupid regurgitation.
Aortic Valve: The aortic valve is not well visualized. No indication of aortic valve regurgitation.
Mitral Valve: The mitral valve is normal in structure and function. Mild mitral valve regurgitation.
Aorta: The aortic root appears normal.
Pericardium: No pericardial effusion is seen.
1. Global left ventricular systolic function is normal.
2. Doppler study of the mitral inflow suggest abnormal left ventricular relaxation (mild left
ventricular diastolic dysfunction).

I want to thank you for responding to me. And if you have the time to look this over, it will be greatly appreciated. In the meantime, I will start looking for a cardiologist to set up an appointment. If you do not have the time, I want to thank you for your initial response.
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Is a low-fat diet really that heart healthy after all? James D. Nicolantonio, PharmD, urges us to reconsider decades-long dietary guidelines.
Can depression and anxiety cause heart disease? Get the facts in this Missouri Medicine report.
Fish oil, folic acid, vitamin C. Find out if these supplements are heart-healthy or overhyped.
Learn what happens before, during and after a heart attack occurs.
What are the pros and cons of taking fish oil for heart health? Find out in this article from Missouri Medicine.
How to lower your heart attack risk.