Harvard Heart Letter

What is diastolic dysfunction?

Ask the doctor [IMGCAP(1)] Q. I had an echocardiogram and the report says I have mild diastolic dysfunction. What does that mean? A. Diastolic dysfunction means that your heart is having trouble relaxing between beats. Every heartbeat has two distinct phases: when the heart contracts and pushes blood out to the body (the systolic phase) and when the heart relaxes and refills with blood (the diastolic phase). …

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