Diastolic dysfunction is a condition that refers to the abnormality of the heart’s filling during the diastole. The diastolic stage of the cardiac cycle happens when the ventricles of the heart do not contract but are relaxed while filling in blood from the body via the right ventricles or perhaps, from the lungs via the left ventricles. There are several causes of the condition, which may include aortic stenosis caused by hypertrophy of the ventricular muscles, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
What Happens During Diastolic Dysfunction?
During the left sided pumping phase of the heart, the blood from the lungs is pumped towards the pulmonary veins, and then passes through the left atrium via the mitral valve and into the left ventricle of the heart. Whenever the left ventricle is not able to normally fill due to the deterioration of compliance, preload, and A-ratio during the diastolic phase, blood is regurgitated into the left atrium and finally back into the lungs.
A diastolic dysfunction results to a higher pressure gradient of the blood in the vessels of the lungs. The mismatched pressure then leads to the leaking of fluids from the vessels into the alveoli or the air spaces on the lungs. This leads to pulmonary edema, which is a health condition characterized by inadequate oxygenation of the blood, difficulty in breathing, and shortness of breath. If left untreated, this can cause death.
Treatment Options Available for Diastolic Dysfunction
Diastolic dysfunction is a chronic condition. When this condition is able to be tolerated by the person affected, no treatment may be provided. However, therapy may be provided if diagnosed early. Therapies are directed to the cause of the condition like diabetes and high blood pressure.
There are several treatments that are being developed to correct the condition like attaching a self expanding gadget on the surface of the heart’s left ventricle. When the muscles on the heart contracts, the energy are loaded into the gadget as the device absorbs this energy. The device releases the energy into the left ventricle during diastolic phase. This ensures muscle elasticity is retained.
Medications may be provided to treat the condition as well as the symptoms associated with diastolic dysfunction. Calcium channel blockers may be provided to reduce ventricular stiffness on most cases. On the other hand, angiotensin, a converting enzyme inhibitor, like ramipril and enalapril are used for ventricular remodeling. Pulmonary edema is treated through the use of medications like diuretics.