Echocardiographic measures of diastolic function in pediatric heart disease

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Purpose of review

The past year has seen a continued evolution in the echocardiographic assessment of diastolic function in children. This paper reviews published studies from the past year that have helped characterize diastolic function using echocardiography in children.

Recent findings

Characterization of diastolic function using Doppler and Doppler tissue imaging in the normal infant and child was a primary focus of pediatric echocardiographic investigation. These technologies appear to hold significant promise as tools to improve understanding of diastolic function in the normal child as the heart matures. Diastolic function in children with congenital heart disease has also been better characterized using these tools, specifically in patients with atrial septal defects, tetralogy of Fallot, single ventricle physiology, and following cardiac transplantation. Finally, diastolic function in acquired heart disease or with systemic disease in the child has been evaluated using echocardiography, with recent reports describing findings in children with dilated cardiomyopathy, chronic renal disease, obesity, type I diabetes, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, obstructive sleep apnea, and after anthracycline exposure for childhood cancer.


Pediatric echocardiography has clearly become the primary tool for describing and characterizing diastolic function in infants and children both with and without heart disease. It is becoming an important noninvasive diastolic monitoring tool that allows serial assessment of pathologic diastolic disease in both primary myocardial and systemic disease states.

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