Diastolic heart failure (DHF) is characterized by the clinical presentation of heart failure in the setting of preserved left ventricular systolic function and evidence of diastolic dysfunction. It is estimated to be present in at least one-third of patients, who represent the signs and symptoms of heart failure, and is especially prevalent among the elderly population. Despite an increasing understanding of the pathophysiology of this disease and the improvement of diagnostic and prognostic assessment, the management of DHF remains to be established. Medical therapy consists of the cautious use of diuretics, and some studies suggested the beneficial role of beta-blockers and calcium antagonists. The rationale of current therapy is largely dependent on understanding the pathophysiology of DHF and observations from clinical trials that included relatively small numbers of patients. Large, multicenter, randomized, controlled studies are needed to define the role of various therapeutic agents in DHF, and whether the prognosis of the disease will be altered. The SWEDIC trial observed that carvedilol treatment in patients with DHF was associated with an improvement in diastolic indices measured by Doppler echocardiography. The CHARM-Preserved trial reported a non-significant reduction of cardiovascular death or admission for heart failure. Other studies which are underway include PEP-CHF and the Hong Kong Diastolic Heart Failure study. They will play a pivotal role in ascertaining the therapeutic efficacy of various agents and will help experts to set up treatment guidelines for this common condition.
Keywords: Diastolic Heart Failure, beta-blockers, PEP-CHF, Doppler echocardiography
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