Heart failure with preserved left ventricular ejection fraction (HF-PEF), sometimes named diastolic heart failure, is a common condition most frequently seen in the elderly and is associated with arterial hypertension and left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy. Symptoms are attributed to a stiff left ventricle with compensatory elevation of filling pressure and reduced ability to increase stroke volume by the Frank-Starling mechanism. LV interaction with stiff arteries aggravates these problems. Prognosis is almost as severe as for heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HF-REF), in part reflecting co-morbidities. Before the diagnosis of HF-PEF is made, non-cardiac etiologies must be excluded. Due to the non-specific nature of heart failure symptoms, it is essential to search for objective evidence of diastolic dysfunction which, in the absence of invasive data, is done by echocardiography and demonstration of signs of elevated LV filling pressure, impaired LV relaxation, or increased LV diastolic stiffness. Antihypertensive treatment can effectively prevent HF-PEF. Treatment of HF-PEF is symptomatic, with similar drugs as in HF-REF.
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