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How is diastolic dysfunction treated and what is the prognosis?

I have just received a diagnosis of Diastolic Dysfunction. What are the treatments and prognosis?   

submitted by Marsha from Lillian, Alabama on 3/1/2012


by Texas Heart Institute cardiologist, Raymond F. Stainback, MD    Raymond F. Stainback, MD

Diastolic dysfunction is most often diagnosed on an echocardiogram which is an ultrasound study of the heart. It is also a diagnosis that can result from any number of different causes for decreased ability of the heart muscle to relax.  This can be related to one or several of the following: part of the aging process, diabetes, hypertension, infiltrative disease of the heart (less common), valvular heart disease and coronary artery disease.

The treatment is usually directed at the underlying cause (which cannot be determined from your question). There is a tendency for patients with diastolic dysfunction to retain fluid and develop swelling (edema). Therefore, the addition of a diuretic is not uncommon to control symptoms (shortness of breath and edema). The heart with diastolic dysfunction does not operate well at increased heart rates, and in some cases drugs which can slow the heart a bit help and when hypertension or coronary artery disease is playing a role, ACE-I (angiotensin converting enzyme-inhibitors) is a useful class of drugs.

Prognosis is usually more related to the other underling disease processes than from diastolic dysfunction itself. When related to the aging process, the symptoms are usually mild and the prognosis is good. 

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Updated March 2012
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