Features June 2008 Issue

New Technology Helps Diagnose Diastolic Heart Failure

Researchers are learning more about identifying this potentially fatal condition; early diagnosis can lead to better treatment.

When we think of heart failure, we usually picture a heart failing to pump enough blood to keep the body healthy, which is known as systolic heart failure (SHF). But in patients with diastolic heart failure (DHF) the problem lies not in the pump function, which is normal, but in how well the heart relaxes and fills with blood during each heartbeat. DHF afflicts about half of the nearly five million Americans who have heart failure, and about half of the estimated 550,000 patients who are diagnosed with heart failure each year, according to the American Heart Association. The incidence of DHF is increasing and is especially common in older women with high blood pressure, says Cleveland Clinic cardiologist and Director of Cardiovascular Imaging Research Allan Klein, MD, a pioneer in the relatively new field of "diastology."

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