"Even though the recently recognized form, called diastolic heart failure, is less deadly in individuals, it produces more deaths nationwide because of its much higher prevalence," said Dalane W. Kitzman, M.D., a cardiologist from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. "In our study of older adults with heart failure, over twice as many participants had diastolic heart failure, suggesting that a key to reducing heart failure deaths is successful treatment of this second type."
Also participating in the research were: St. Francis Hospital, Roslyn, N.Y.; the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; the University of Washington in Seattle; the University of Vermont in Burlington; Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, Mass.; St. Johns Hospital and Medical Center, Detroit, Mich.; and the University of Massachusetts at Worcester. The research was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
The researchers examined data from the Cardiovascular Health Study, which assessed cardiovascular disease in more than 5,000 adults over age 65 living in four United States communities: Forsyth County, N.C.; Sacramento County, Calif.; Pittsburgh, Penn.; and Washington County, Md. The goal of the analysis was to learn whether the type of heart failure affects mortality.
With the most widely known type of congestive heart failure systolic heart failure the heart doesn't contract strongly enough. With the newly recognized type diastolic heart failure the heart's main chamber doesn't fill with enough blood. The end result in both types is that the body doesn't get enough oxygenated blood to meet its demands.