Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is a complex heterogeneous disease for which our pathophysiological understanding is still limited and specific prevention and treatment strategies are lacking. HFpEF is characterised by diastolic dysfunction and cardiac remodelling (fibrosis, inflammation, and hypertrophy). Recently, microvascular dysfunction and chronic low-grade inflammation have been proposed to participate in HFpEF development. Furthermore, several recent studies demonstrated the occurrence of generalized lymphatic dysfunction in experimental models of risk factors for HFpEF, including obesity, hypercholesterolaemia, type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), hypertension, and aging. Here, we review the evidence for a combined role of coronary (micro)vascular dysfunction and lymphatic vessel alterations in mediating key pathological steps in HFpEF, including reduced cardiac perfusion, chronic low-grade inflammation, and myocardial oedema, and their impact on cardiac metabolic alterations (oxygen and nutrient supply/demand imbalance), fibrosis, and cardiomyocyte stiffness. We focus primarily on HFpEF caused by metabolic risk factors, such as obesity, T2DM, hypertension, and aging.
Keywords: Cardiac lymphatic dysfunction; Cardiac metabolism; Coronary microvascular dysfunction; Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction; Inflammation; Myocardial fibrosis.