Skip to main content

Systolic vs Diastolic Heart Failure: Paradigms to Heart Health

Written By
Medically Reviewed By: Alia Hanif Khan
December 14, 2023No Comments

Updated on December 14, 2023

systolic vs diastolic heart failure


The heart is one of the most powerful organs that is involved in pumping blood around the entire body. Through this circulation of blood, the heart ensures that all cells of the body receive oxygenated blood and waste material is removed from those cells. This helps in maintaining all the physiological functions of the body.

Sometimes our heart muscles struggle when pumping and relaxing. These challenges are called systolic and diastolic heart issues. Let’s dive in and understand the difference between systolic and diastolic heart failure, their diagnosis and treatment.

Rhythmic Phases of Heart

While pumping blood around the body the heart undergoes two different phases, that is the systole phase and the diastole phase.

Systole Phase: During the systole phase, muscles of the heart contract to pump blood around the body.

Diastole Phase: During the diastole phase, muscles of the heart relax, allowing its chambers to fill with blood.

Let’s move forward and delve into systolic vs diastolic heart failure.

Heart Failure

Heart failure is a medical condition that occurs when the heart can no longer efficiently pump blood around the body. In the United States, 6.2 million adults suffer from heart failure. It can affect both sides, but left-sided heart failure is more prevalent. The left side of the heart is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body. When it becomes dysfunctional, blood can accumulate in the pulmonary veins, resulting in a reduced amount of oxygenated blood available to meet the needs of the cells.

Left-sided Heart Failure is divided into 2 types:

  • Systolic Heart Failure
  • Diastolic Heart Failure

Systolic vs Diastolic Heart Failure

Systolic Heart Failure

Systolic heart failure, sometimes known as reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) occurs when the left ventricle is unable to pump blood successfully during contraction. This occurs mainly when heart muscles become weaker. During systolic heart failure, the heart pumps with an ejection fraction of less than 40%. Systolic heart failure is linked to conditions such as coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, and problems with heart valves.

Diastolic Heart Failure

Diastolic heart failure, sometimes known as preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) occurs when the left ventricle is unable to relax properly between heartbeats. This happens because the muscles have become stiff. This leads to inadequate filling of the heart with oxygenated blood and consequently less blood to pump out of the heart. The causative factors for diastolic heart failure include high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, diabetes and certain genetic disorders.

Also read: Atherosclerosis vs Arteriosclerosis: Signs and Treatments

Symptoms of Systolic vs Diastolic Heart failure

The following symptoms or a combination of these symptoms can be seen in people suffering from left-sided heart failure. Not to forget that people suffering from left-sided heart failure may suffer from either systolic vs diastolic heart failure.

  • Shortness of Breath: An individual may have trouble breathing, especially during physical activity.
  • Fatigue: One may experience a lack of energy when the heart is constantly struggling to pump blood throughout the body.
  • Swelling (edema): As the heart struggles to effectively circulate blood around the body, it causes fluid retention in the legs.
  • Weight gain: Weight gain may occur due to fluid buildup, again due to inefficient circulation of blood.
  • Persistent Coughing: As fluid builds up in the lungs, this may result in persistent coughing.

Diagnosis of Systolic vs Diastolic Heart failure

Effective and timely management is essential if symptoms of systolic vs. diastolic heart failure are felt by the person. The diagnostic journey is initiated by the physician through the conduct of a thorough physical examination and a detailed medical history. Following that, specific tests may be conducted by the doctor to confirm the diagnosis of systolic vs. diastolic heart failure.

  • Chest X-Ray
  • Echocardiogram (EKG)
  • Heart MRI
  • Cardiac Computed Tomography Scan (CCT scan)
  • Coronary Angiograms
  • B-type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) Blood Test
  • Cardiac Catheterization

Treatment Paths for Systolic vs Diastolic Heart Failure

Heart failure is not an easy condition to live with. If a person experiences heart failure, certain lifestyle changes and medications should be incorporated into their life. This optimizes heart function and improves heart health.

Let’s dive deeper into the treatment approaches a person can consider for systolic vs diastolic heart failure.

Treatment for Systolic Heart Failure:

  • Diuretics
  • Beta Blockers
  • Aldosterone Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors
  • Angiotensin Receptor-Neprilysin Inhibitor (ARNI)
  • Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator
  • Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy
  • Digoxin
  • Hydralazine

Treatment for Diastolic Heart Failure:

  • Blood Pressure Management
  • Diabetes Management
  • Diuretics
  • Sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors

Other than medications, it is necessary for a person suffering from either systolic vs diastolic heart failure to make certain lifestyle changes that include regular exercise, and consuming a healthy diet that is low in sodium and saturated fats. This could significantly improve heart function and heart health.

A Word from Revival

At Revival Research Institute, we firmly believe that a healthy heart is important for good health. As we know, heart failure comes in different forms, systolic vs diastolic heart failure being the unique one. Hence, our dedicated team of researchers are conducting Heart Failure Clinical Trials, investigating the safety and efficacy of novel treatment options. If you believe you can contribute to the future of cardiac care, participate in our clinical trials and help us explore life-changing therapies and treatment approaches.

Also read: Men’s Health and Cardiovascular Risks


In conclusion, systolic vs. diastolic heart failure presents a significant medical challenge that demands effective cardiac care. Both systolic and diastolic heart failures are integral components of left-sided heart failure. In systolic heart failure, the heart struggles to pump blood efficiently throughout the body, while diastolic heart failure arises from the heart’s difficulty in relaxing due to stiffened muscles. Whether facing systolic or diastolic heart failure, the path to improved heart health involves a vital combination of proper medication and the adoption of healthier lifestyle choices. It’s not just about mending a broken heart but nurturing it towards a stronger and happier beat.

Wahiba Shakeel

Author Wahiba Shakeel

More posts by Wahiba Shakeel

Leave a Reply

Close Menu