, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 281-286
Date: 29 Nov 2009

Diastolic and systolic heart failure: Different stages or distinct phenotypes of the heart failure syndrome?

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It remains uncertain if diastolic heart failure (DHF) is a distinct HF phenotype or a precursor stage of systolic HF (SHF). The unimodal distribution of left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) in HF, depressed LV long-axis shortening in DHF, and progression to eccentric LV remodeling in hypertension favor DHF and SHF as successive stages. These arguments are countered by the bimodal distribution of LVEF after correction for gender, by the preserved LV twist in DHF and by the low incidence of eccentric LV remodeling in hypertension. Clinical features, LV anatomy and histology, cardiomyocyte stiffness, myocardial effects of diabetes, and the response to HF therapy support DHF and SHF as distinct phenotypes. Comparison of the myocardial signal transduction cascades that drive LV remodeling in DHF and SHF may solve the controversy. This review analyzes arguments supporting DHF and SHF as successive stages or distinct phenotypes of the HF syndrome.