Diastolic dysfunction: A link between hypertension and heart failure

Sophie Lalande, Bruce D. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Diastolic heart failure is characterized by the symptoms and signs of heart failure, a preserved ejection fraction and abnormal left ventricular (LV) diastolic function caused by a decreased LV compliance and relaxation. The signs and symptoms of diastolic heart failure are indistinguishable from those of heart failure related to systolic dysfunction; therefore, the diagnosis of diastolic heart failure is often one of exclusion. The majority of patients with heart failure and preserved ejection fraction have a history of hypertension. Hypertension induces a compensatory thickening of the ventricular wall in an attempt to normalize wall stress, which results in LV concentric hypertrophy, which in turn decreases LV compliance and LV diastolic filling. There is an abnormal accumulation of fibrillar collagen accompanying the hypertension-induced LV hypertrophy, which is also associated with decreased compliance and LV diastolic dysfunction. There are no specific guidelines for treating diastolic heart failure, but pharmacological treatment should be directed at normalizing blood pressure, promoting regression of LV hypertrophy, preventing tachycardia and treating symptoms of congestion. Preventive strategies directed toward an early and aggressive blood pressure control are likely to offer the greatest promise for reducing the incidence of diastolic heart failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-513
Number of pages11
JournalDrugs of Today
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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