What is left ventricular diastolic dysfunction?
Diastole is the period during which the heart relaxes and fills blood prior to contraction which causes ejection of the blood. Impaired relaxation of the heart muscle is known as diastolic dysfunction. Left ventricular diastolic dysfunction can occur when the heart muscles are thickened as in high blood pressure where the thickening is compensatory to the increased load on the heart. Another important cause of diastolic dysfunction is decreased blood supply to the heart muscle (ischemia) due to coronary artery (blood vessels supplying oxygenated blood to the heart muscles) obstruction. Diastolic dysfunction is common in the elderly due to stiffening of the heart muscles as well.