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Question:

Please help me understand the stages of heart failure.

Does the diagnosis of mild diastolic dysfunction (grade 1), with hypertension and history of SCD in mother equate to Stage B heart failure? How do I know if this diagnosis of diastolic dysfunction is preclinical or subclinical? I’m reading and reading, but it’s not clear to me if this is going to progress. I’m also having some syncope and had ANS testing, but don’t have the results back yet. Thank you!

Submitted by Dana from Florida on 10/20/2015

Dear Dana,
The heart has 2 functions. It squeezes (systolic function) and relaxes (diastolic function). Heart failure is classically due to systolic dysfunction. Heart failure due to diastolic dysfunction has been recognized as a significant problem as well. Many pts >60 have echocardiograpic signs of early (Grade 1) diastolic dysfunction which is essentially benign. More advanced degrees eventually cause significant morbidity & mortality.

At this time there is no treatment for diastolic dysfunction except prevention by aggressive treatment of high blood pressure. [Synonyms: impaired relaxation, heart failure with preserved ejection (HFPEF).]
Your cardiologist will be able to to tell you if the syncope & diastolic dysfunction are related.