, Volume 53, Issue 6, pp 1033-1045

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Diastolic dysfunction in diabetes and the metabolic syndrome: promising potential for diagnosis and prognosis

  • H. von BibraAffiliated withClinic for Endocrinology, Diabetes and Vascular Medicine, Klinikum Bogenhausen, Städt. Klinikum München GmbH Email author 
  • , M. St John SuttonAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, Cardiovascular Division, School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania


Cardiac disease in diabetes mellitus and in the metabolic syndrome consists of both vascular and myocardial abnormalities. The latter are characterised predominantly by diastolic dysfunction, which has been difficult to evaluate in spite of its prevalence. While traditional Doppler echocardiographic parameters enable only semiquantitative assessment of diastolic function and cannot reliably distinguish perturbations in loading conditions from altered diastolic functions, new technologies enable detailed quantification of global and regional diastolic function. The most readily available technique for the quantification of subclinical diastolic dysfunction is tissue Doppler imaging, which has been integrated into routine contemporary clinical practice, whereas cine magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) remains a promising complementary research tool for investigating the molecular mechanisms of the disease. Diastolic function is reported to vary linearly with age in normal persons, decreasing by 0.16 cm/s each year. Diastolic function in diabetes and the metabolic syndrome is determined by cardiovascular risk factors that alter myocardial stiffness and myocardial energy availability/bioenergetics. The latter is corroborated by the improvement in diastolic function with improvement in metabolic control of diabetes by specific medical therapy or lifestyle modification. Accordingly, diastolic dysfunction reflects the structural and metabolic milieu in the myocardium, and may allow targeted therapeutic interventions to modulate cardiac metabolism to prevent heart failure in insulin resistance and diabetes.


Cardiovascular disease Diastolic dysfunction Metabolic syndrome Review Tissue Doppler imaging Type 2 diabetes