Hypertension and heart failure: a dysfunction of systole, diastole or both?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Colleges, School and Institutes


The pathological myocardial hypertrophy associated with hypertension contains the seed for further maladaptive development. Increased myocardial oxygen consumption, impaired epicardial coronary perfusion, ventricular fibrosis and remodelling, abnormalities in long-axis function and torsion, cause, to a varying degree, a mixture of systolic and diastolic abnormalities. In addition, chronotropic incompetence and peripheral factors such as lack of vasodilator reserve and reduced arterial compliance further affect cardiac output particularly on exercise. Many of these factors are common to hypertensive heart failure with a normal ejection fraction as well as systolic heart failure. There is increasing evidence that these apparently separate phenotypes are part of a spectrum of heart failure differing only in the degree of ventricular remodelling and volume changes. Furthermore, dichotomizing heart failure into systolic and diastolic clinical entities has led to a paucity of clinical trials of therapies for heart failure with a normal ejection fraction. Therapies aimed at reversing myocardial fibrosis, and targets outside the heart such as enhancing vasodilator reserve and improving chronotropic incompetence deserve further study and may improve the exercise capacity of hypertensive heart failure patients. Hypertension heart disease with heart failure is simply not a dysfunction of systole and diastole. Other peripheral factors including heart rate and vasodilator response with exercise may deserve equal attention in an attempt to develop more effective treatments for this disorder.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-306
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Human Hypertension
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009


  • remodelling, heart failure, pressure overload, volume overload