Assessment and impact of diastolic function by echocardiography in elderly patients.
Dugo C., Rigolli M., Rossi A., Whalley GA.
Doppler echocardiography is the gold standard for assessment of diastolic dysfunction, which is increasingly recognised as a cause of heart failure, especially in the elderly. Using a combination of Doppler echocardiography techniques, it is possible to identify grades of diastolic dysfunction, estimate left ventricular filling pressures and establish the chronicity of diastolic dysfunction. These physiologically-derived measures have been widely validated against invasive measurements of left heart pressures and have been shown to be prognostically valuable in a wide range of clinical settings. This review explores the mechanisms, and approaches to the assessment of diastolic dysfunction in the elderly. The challenge for clinicians is to identify pathophysiological changes from those associated with normal ageing. When used in combination, and taking age into account, Doppler echocardiographic parameters are helpful in the assessment of dyspnoea in older patients and provide prognostic insights.