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Herz. 2013 Feb;38(1):18-25. doi: 10.1007/s00059-012-3751-5.

[Assessment of diastolic heart failure. Current role of echocardiography].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Comprehensive Heart Failure Center Würzburg, Medizinische Klinik und Poliklinik I, Universitätsklinik Würzburg, Oberdürrbacherstrasse 6, Würzburg, Germany.


Diastolic heart failure, also known as heart failure with preserved left ventricular ejection fraction (HF-pEF), is responsible for approximately 50 % of all heart failure cases. According to current guidelines the diagnosis HF-pEF requires three criteria: (1) signs or symptoms of heart failure, (2) presence of a normal left ventricular ejection fraction and (3) evidence of diastolic dysfunction. Echocardiography is the diagnostic modality of choice, especially after ruling out other causes of dyspnea, such as pulmonary diseases, heart rhythm disturbances and volume overload. Important echocardiographic parameters for the assessment of diastolic function are atrial dimensions, myocardial mass, mitral inflow pattern, pulmonary vein flow, propagation velocity of mitral inflow and the tissue Doppler of the mitral annulus. Nevertheless, a complete echocardiographic examination should be performed in every patient with heart failure. In general, diastolic dysfunction is frequently associated with increased atrial diameter and left ventricular hypertrophy. In advanced stages pulmonary hypertension can be present. A robust method for evaluation of systolic function in patients with diastolic dysfunction is crucial. The mitral inflow pattern provides various parameters to describe diastolic function (E/A ratio, deceleration time, isovolumetric relaxation time). In case of difficulties to separate a normal from a pseudonormal mitral inflow pattern the Valsalva maneuver can be used. Another valuable parameter for this differentiation is the duration of the backward flow in the pulmonary veins in contrast to forward flow over the mitral valve. Tachycardia or atrial fibrillation is a major problem for grading of diastolic function; however, in patients with atrial fibrillation E/e' is a well-established parameter. In summary, this review provides a detailed overview and discussion of the established and newer echocardiography techniques for the evaluation of diastolic function and provides an algorithm for the assessment of diastolic dysfunction in everyday routine.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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