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What does stiff heart mean?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 11917 Questions
ok my spouse was told by md that he has a stiff heart. he has been hospitalized twice with near syncope episodes. his bp drop drastically like 70/30. so what is going on?
Posted Fri, 28 Feb 2014 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 45 minutes later
Brief Answer: diastolic dysfunction (the heart is not relaxing ) Detailed Answer: Hi, thanks for using healthcare magic There are different types of heart diseases that can occur. One of the more common is heart failure. In heart failure the heart is unable to function well enough to meet its demands and the demands of the body. There are different types of heart failure: (1) systolic heart failure and (2) diastolic heart failure In systolic heart failure, there are problems with the heart's ability to contract and therefore pump out blood to the body In diastolic heart failure, there is problems with relaxation of the heart, it is stiff, as in your husband's case. This commonly occurs as a result of hypertension, angina (decreased blood flow in blood vessels in the heart). Other causes of diastolic heart failure are conditions called restrictive cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, infiltrative cardiomyopathy among others. Usually if there is a history of bypass and blocked vessels in some aspect of the body, it is likely that there are blockages elsewhere such as the heart. Blockages to blood vessels in the heart means that parts of the heart are not receiving sufficient blood on some occasions. Decreased blood supply to any areas of the heart affects the function of the heart , affecting the ability of the heart to relax. Blood pressure is affected by different issues including the amount of blood the heart pumps out.If the heart is unable to relax properly, it cannot hold a lot of blood, therefore reducing the amount of blood pumped out. This would cause a reduction in blood pressure on some occasions. I hope this helps, feel free to ask any other questions
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Follow-up: What does stiff heart mean? 1 hour later
What is the treatment for this condition?
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 9 hours later
Brief Answer: would depend somewhat on the cause Detailed Answer: HI It would depend somewhat on the underlying cause but in general would consist of controlling any risk factors that would further affect the heart such as abnormal cholesterol, increased weight ,smoking, diabetes, abnormal heart rhythms. The use of medication to improve relaxation of the heart, this may include medications such as beta blockers, a dose may have to used that would not also cause a reduction in blood pressure. please feel free to ask any additional questions
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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