Diastolic heart failure: Standard doppler approach and beyond

Antonio Vitarelli*, Mihai Gheorghiade

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Evidence of normal systolic left ventricular function has been reported in up to 30-40% of patients with clinical signs at congestive heart failure, suggesting that diastolic dysfunction is an important predictor at prognosis and mortality. Doppler echocardiography as a noninvasive diagnostic procedure is able to provide immediate and relevant information on functional and structural changes underlying the clinical syndrome of heart failure. Four distinct early filling/late diastale (E/A) ratio patterns (normal, delayed relaxation, pseudonormal, restrictive) can be discerned if viewed within the context of other available clinical information. These patterns evolve from one to another in a single individual, with changes in disease evolution, treatment, and leading condition. They represent a continuum from normal to severe diastolic dysfunction, showing progressively increasing left ventricular (LV) chamber stiffness and subsequently decreasing deceleration time. The combination of Doppler restrictive filling pattern and decreased deceleration time provides important information that helps to differentiate gradations of diastolic dysfunction and has been found to be a potent predictor of prognosis and mortality in various cardiac conditions. When clinical and transthoracic data alone are not sufficient in guiding therapy of congestive heart failure, transesophageal echocardiography can be used to assess most Doppler flows, especially pulmonary venous and left atrial (LA) appendage flows. The use of the multiplane transducer in multiple intermediate scan planes further improves the possibility of optimizing the Doppler incident angle and obtaining the best Doppler recordings of the left upper or right upper pulmonary venous flow. Whereas LV diastolic dysfunction is common in patients with congestive heart failure and appears to be an important predictor of prognosis, little information is available about right ventricular (RV) diastolic dysfunction. The role of RV function in congestive heart failure has probably been underestimated and it is possible mat RV diastolic dysfunction assessment is equally important in the follow-up of heart failure patients. Recently, 2 novel echocardiographic technologies for the assessment of ventricular wall dynamics have been developed-color kinesis and tissue Doppler imaging. Both techniques have recently been shown to provide global as well as regional information on LV contraction and filling. Complementary use of bath techniques may allow a more complete noninvasive assessment of global and regional systo-diastolic LV function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115G-121G
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number12 A
StatePublished - Jun 18 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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