Diastolic Heart Failure | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Diastolic Heart Failure

What Is Diastolic Heart Failure?

Diastolic heart failure, or diastolic dysfunction, happens when the part of the heart responsible for pumping blood out to the rest of the body — the left ventricle — has stiffened. As a result, the heart can’t fill with blood between beats as it should.

A clinical measure of diastolic heart failure is preserved ejection fraction. Ejection fraction refers to how much blood the left ventricle pumps out. A normal ejection fraction is more than 55%. With diastolic heart failure, the left ventricle’s ejection fraction is preserved, meaning it is pumping out the blood it has sufficiently. But it isn’t filling properly between beats (diastolic dysfunction), so it has less blood to move along.

To compensate, your heart may increase pressure inside the ventricle — corresponding to the bottom number in your blood pressure reading — to try to fill it.

More patients with diastolic heart failure, diastolic dysfunction and other heart conditions entrust their care to Norton Heart & Vascular Institute than any other provider in the Louisville and Southern Indiana area. Our board-certified and fellowship-trained cardiologists and other specialists in the Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program are at the leading edge of advanced treatments for diastolic heart failure.

Systolic Versus Diastolic Heart Failure

The key difference between systolic and diastolic heart failure is in how well the left ventricle is pumping blood. As blood circulates though the heart, it’s final trip before going out to the rest of the body is the left ventricle. If it isn’t performing well, the body doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood, and fluids can back up — affecting the lungs, kidneys and other organs.

Diastolic heart failure means the left ventricle pumping out as it should, but when it relaxes to refill with blood between beats it isn’t taking in as much as it needs to. In cases of systolic heart failure, the left ventricle is filling with blood, but can’t pump it out effectively.

Diagnosing systolic versus diastolic heart failure can be difficult and requires experience, skill and access to leading-edge tools possessed by the specialists at the Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program.

Precise diagnosis is crucial, because the treatments for systolic or diastolic heart failure can be quite different, especially when mechanical assist devices may be needed.

Diastolic Heart Failure Symptoms

Chronic diastolic heart failure comes on slowly with age and is the most common form. Acute diastolic heart failure comes on suddenly, often with sudden difficulty breathing and fatigue.

The outward symptoms of diastolic heart failure and systolic heart failure are the same. Your Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program providers will be able to make an accurate diagnosis. Symptoms can include:

  • Brain fog – difficulty concentrating or staying alert
  • Fatigue
  • Fluid collection in the abdomen
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea and lack of appetite
  • Persistent cough, wheezing
  • Reduced exercise tolerance
  • Shortness of breath either while lying down or active
  • Swelling in the legs and ankles, possibly with sudden weight gain

Diastolic Heart Failure Treatment

We work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that fits your condition and goals.

Every case of diastolic heart failure is unique and complex. The specialists at the Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program have the expertise ant leading-edge treatments to relieve symptoms and slow the disease’s progress.

Diastolic heart failure treatment at the Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program includes lifestyle and dietary changes, medication to control blood pressure and heart rate, and diuretics to reduce fluid retention.

Patients with diastolic heart failure often have coronary artery disease as well, and our cardiologists may recommend surgery or minimally invasive procedures to remove built-up plaque in the blood vessels.

Our full-time nurse navigator meets with patients to provide details of their condition, answer any questions and review dietary adjustments, physical therapy and other changes to slow the progress of diastolic heart failure.

The nurse navigator will arrange for home health services, acute rehabilitation services and other assistance for patients so they can be successful managing their disease at home and reduce the need for hospital stays.

The Advanced Heart Failure and Recovery Program’s full-time social worker helps patients with insurance, housing and other needs. Heart failure workshops are designed to provide tools, resources and a more in-depth education on how to live fully with heart failure.

Hypertension medications can include beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). Medication may be used to reduce congestion in the lungs.

Heart and Vascular Care for the Whole Person

Norton Heart & Vascular Institute offers patient resources to support you and your family, including free classes for people of all ages who are seeking to improve cardiovascular health or living with a heart condition.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Program

Our cardiac rehabilitation providers are leaders in developing and applying innovative techniques that can help you recover and resume your life.

Connecting Hearts Support Group

The group provides education and support to individuals who have had a heart attack, are living with a heart condition or are at risk for cardiovascular disease.

Heart Health Screenings

Prevention is the best way to manage heart disease, and screenings are available to detect early signs of cardiac and vascular disease and identify risk factors.

About Norton Heart & Vascular Institute

Norton Healthcare Heart and Vascular Institute

Every year, about 250,000 people in Louisville and Southern Indiana choose Norton Heart & Vascular Institute specialists for their heart and vascular care. That’s more than any other health care provider.

  • Norton Healthcare’s four adult-service hospitals in Louisville are American College of Cardiology accredited Cycle VI Chest Pain Centers — the highest level of expertise to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack.
  • You have access to more than 50 board-certified cardiovascular physicians and 35 advanced practice providers with specialized training and experience in a comprehensive range of conditions and treatments.
  • Patients can make appointments at 27 locations in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Telecardiology is offered at more than 30 sites in the region.
  • Norton Audubon Hospital, a key location for Norton Heart & Vascular Institute services, has been recognized with a HeartCare Center National Distinction of Excellence year after year by the American College of Cardiology. This is the only hospital in Louisville to be recognized for this distinction.
  • Norton Healthcare is the only health care system in Kentucky to receive the prestigious Mission: Lifeline Regional Trailblazer Award from the American Heart Association for being an innovator in creating a system of care for the most severe type of heart attacks.
  • Communicate with your health care provider, renew prescriptions, get lab results and more through your free MyNortonChart account.
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