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An understanding of the basic principles of diastolic function is important in order to recognize diseases that may result in diastolic dysfunction and diastolic heart failure. Although uncommon, restrictive cardiomyopathy, constrictive pericarditis, and cardiac tamponade are among the disorders that may affect primarily diastolic function with preservation of systolic function. Diastolic heart failure may manifest with chronic nonspecific symptoms or may present with acute hemodynamic compromise. Echocardiography plays a vital role in the diagnosis of diastolic dysfunction and differentiation of these disease processes. It also provides a basis for clinical decisions regarding management and surgical referral. This review summarizes the clinical features, pathophysiology, and hemodynamic and echocardiographic signs of restrictive cardiomyopathy, constrictive pericarditis, and cardiac tamponade.