Echocardiographic Evaluation of Diastolic Function Can Be Used to Guide Clinical Care
This article requires a subscription to view the full text. If you have a subscription you may use the login form below to view the article. Access to this article can also be purchased.
For normal cardiac performance, the left ventricle (LV) must be able to eject an adequate stroke volume at arterial pressure (systolic function) and fill without requiring an elevated left atrial (LA) pressure (diastolic function). These systolic and diastolic functions must be adequate to meet the needs of the body both at rest and during stress.
Response by Tschöpe and Paulus on p 809
Systolic function is conveniently (although not always accurately) measured as the ejection fraction (EF), calculated as stroke volume divided by end-diastolic volume.1 The LV EF is easily interpreted. The lower limit of normal is ≈50%. The lower the EF is, the greater the reduction in systolic function. Diastolic function has been more difficult to evaluate.2 Traditionally, invasive measures of LV diastolic pressure-volume relations and the rate of LV pressure fall during isovolumetric relaxation have been used. However, these methods are not practical for routine clinical use and do not adequately evaluate all aspects of diastolic filling.3
Comprehensive echocardiographic evaluation of the dynamics of LV filling using blood pool and tissue Doppler has now progressed so that it provides clinically important information that can be used to direct patient care. We present data that support the use of echocardiographic evaluation of diastolic function to recognize cardiac dysfunction in patients with heart failure, especially those with preserved EF; to guide the management of patients by identifying those with and without elevated left filling pressures regardless of underlying EF; and to determine prognosis in a wide variety of patient populations.
Although the LV end-diastolic pressure-volume relation describes the passive properties of the LV, LV filling is not a passive or slow process.3 In fact, the peak flow rate across the mitral valve is equal to or greater than the peak flow rate across the aortic valve. …