Diastolic heart failure in anaesthesia and critical care.


Diastolic heart failure is an underestimated pathology with a high risk of acute decompensation during the perioperative period. This article reviews the epidemiology, risk factors, pathophysiology, and treatment of diastolic heart failure. Although frequently underestimated, diastolic heart failure is a common pathology. Diastolic heart failure involves heart failure with preserved left ventricular (LV) function, and LV diastolic dysfunction may account for acute heart failure occurring in critical care situations. Hypertensive crisis, sepsis, and myocardial ischaemia are frequently associated with acute diastolic heart failure. Symptomatic treatment focuses on the reduction in pulmonary congestion and the improvement in LV filling. Specific treatment is actually lacking, but encouraging data are emerging concerning the use of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone axis blockers, nitric oxide donors, or, very recently, new agents specifically targeting actin-myosin cross-bridges.


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