Diastolic dysfunction is abnormal function of the heart during its relaxation phase, between beats, called diastole. While the heart's ability to contract and pump blood may be maintained, its ability to relax and fill with blood is compromised. Filling of the heart’s lower chambers (ventricles) is impaired because the chamber is stiff (non-compliant), due to thickening (hypertrophy) or diseased heart muscle (cardiomyopathy). It may also be due to stiffening of the sac around the heart (pericardium). Though the heart’s ability to contract may be preserved, diastolic pressure is elevated and cardiac output reduced.
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