Of note, diastolic heart failure disproportionately affects women, particularly elderly women. “These data confirm that heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, also know as diastolic heart failure, is a growing concern,” says Margaret Redfield, M.D., lead author of the study and director of Mayo Clinic’s Heart Failure Clinic. “Nearly all previous studies of therapies for heart failure have excluded patients with diastolic heart failure. This type of heart failure is poorly understood. It is possible that therapies for this type of heart failure will need to be very different from those which are of benefit in systolic heart failure.”

The proportion of heart failure cases caused by diastolic heart failure increased from 38 percent to 47 percent to 54 percent in three consecutive five-year periods during a study of 4,596 patients who were discharged with a heart failure diagnosis at the two Mayo Clinic hospitals in Olmsted County, Minn., from 1987 through 2001. Among heart failure patients, the prevalence of diseases that cause diastolic heart failure and worsen its symptoms - including hypertension, atrial fibrillation and diabetes - also increased over the study period.

The increase in the proportion of diastolic heart failure was due to increases in the number of diastolic heart failure cases with no change in the number of systolic heart failure cases. On average, mortality rates for the two forms of heart failure were very similar. Importantly, while improvements in survival rates over the study period were seen for systolic heart failure, no such improvement was observed for diastolic heart failure, Redfield says.

MEDICA.de; Source: Mayo Clinic