Background: Diastolic dysfunction (DD) is known to be associated with increased mortality rate in the presence of impaired systolic function. However, few prognostic data exist regarding the effect of DD in patients with normal systolic function.
Methods: We reviewed clinical records and echocardiographic findings of consecutive patients who underwent an outpatient echocardiogram that revealed normal systolic function (ejection fraction, ≥55%) from January 1, 1996, through December 31, 2005. Diastolic function was graded using echocardiographic Doppler variables designated as normal, mild (grade I, ie, impaired relaxation pattern), moderate (grade II, ie, pseudonormal pattern), or severe (grade III, ie, restrictive filling pattern) dysfunction. Propensity analysis was performed to compare outcomes among the groups.
Results: A total of 36 261 patients were identified (mean [SD] age, 58.3 [15.4] years; 54.4% female) with a mean (SD) follow-up time of 6.2 (2.3) years. In 65.2% of the cohort, DD was present, with mild DD being the most prevalent type of dysfunction. A total of 5789 deaths occurred during the follow-up period. The unadjusted survival rate was worse according to the presence and degree of DD (P <.001). However, after propensity matching, only moderate and severe DD were associated with an increased mortality risk (hazard ratio, 1.58; 95% confidence interval, 1.20-2.08; and hazard ratio, 1.84; 1.29-2.62, respectively; P <.001 for each).
Conclusions: In this single-center study of patients with normal ejection fraction who presented for outpatient echocardiography, the presence of moderate or severe DD was an independent predictor of mortality. Mild DD, although prevalent, did not affect survival rate.