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Eur J Heart Fail. 2002 Aug;4(4):419-30.

Diagnosing diastolic heart failure.

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Department of Cardiology, Academic Medical Hospital Maastricht, P.O. Box 5800, 6262 AZ, The Netherlands.



increasing evidence supports the existence of left ventricular diastolic dysfunction as an important cause of congestive heart failure, present in up to 40% of heart failure patients.


to review the pathophysiology of LV diastolic dysfunction and diastolic heart failure and the currently available methods to diagnose these disorders.


for diagnosing LV diastolic dysfunction, invasive hemodynamic measurements are the gold standard. Additional exercise testing with assessment of LV volumes and pressures may be of help in detecting exercise-induced elevation of filling pressures because of diastolic dysfunction. However, echocardiography is obtained more easily, and will remain the most often used method for diagnosing diastolic heart failure in the coming years. MRI may provide noninvasive determination of LV three-dimensional motion during diastole, but data on correlation of MRI data with clinical findings are scant, and possibilities for widespread application are limited at this moment.


in the forthcoming years, optimal diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for patients with primary diastolic heart failure have to be developed. Therefore, future heart failure trials should incorporate patients with diastolic heart failure, describing precise details of LV systolic and diastolic function in their study populations.

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