Myocardial diastolic function and exercise

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999 Dec;31(12):1741-7. doi: 10.1097/00005768-199912000-00008.


There are several important links between aerobic exercise performance and the diastolic phase of the cardiac cycle. During acute exercise, diastolic function must be augmented in order for left ventricular filling to match increased left ventricular output, i.e., cardiac output. This challenges the myocardium because the shortened duration of diastole during exercise may compromise left ventricular filling, thereby limiting the stroke volume. Additionally, left ventricular filling must be accomplished at relatively low filling pressures, otherwise pulmonary vascular congestion may occur. Left ventricular diastolic function may be impaired in the elderly and/or in individuals with ischemic coronary syndromes. Regular aerobic exercise training appears to enhance left ventricular diastolic function and may benefit patients with clinically relevant "diastolic dysfunction." The purpose of this paper is to discuss the relative importance between diastole and exercise and to review some of the involved putative mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diastole / physiology*
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Physical Fitness
  • Ventricular Function, Left / physiology