Features April 2012 Issue

Diastolic Dysfunction Can Be Serious, But is Often Overlooked

Your heart’s ability to fill with blood in between beats may predict your odds of developing heart failure.

Of the two actions of the heart—pumping blood throughout the body (systole) and refilling with blood (diastole)—your systolic function is the one that tends to get the most attention. You can feel your heartbeat and know that the muscle is contracting and pushing blood to your brain, lungs, organs and your entire body. But the relaxation of your heart as it fills with blood and prepares for its next contraction is something that is often overlooked, though new research suggests that should not be the case.

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