Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

PURPOSE: Systolic impairment is well reported in critically ill patients but diastolic function has been relatively understudied. The objective of this review was to assess tissue Doppler indices of diastolic function in critically ill patients along with any association with mortality. METHODS: A systematic review of articles in English using Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL and the Cochrane database of systematic reviews. Search terms included diastolic function, diastolic dysfunction, diastolic abnormal*, diastolic heart failure, diastolic filling, ventricular relaxation, pulmonary artery occlusion pressure, left ventricular filling pressure, cardiac dysfunction, intensive care, critical care, critically ill, critical illness, sepsis and septic shock. Only studies of critically ill adult patients (excluding post-cardiac surgical patients) whose diastolic function was assessed using tissue Doppler imaging were included. Study quality was assessed using a modified version of the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS). RESULTS: Nineteen studies were included, with a total of 1365 patients. All trials were observational. There was a large heterogeneity in patient populations and the methodology of tissue Doppler assessment of diastology resulting in a descriptive analysis. Patient groups included severe sepsis or septic shock (5 studies), septic shock (5 studies), systemic inflammatory response syndrome and shock (1 study), septic shock and acute lung injury (1 study), cancer and septic shock (2 studies), general ICU patients (1 study), combined medical and surgical ICU (2 studies) and sub-arachnoid haemorrhage patients (2 studies). Seventeen studies scored 5/6 on the NOS with the remaining two scoring 4/6. Fourteen studies reported on numbers of patients diagnosed with diastolic dysfunction (500/999, mean 50%, range 20-92%). Three studies found that diastolic dysfunction was an independent predictor of mortality. CONCLUSIONS: Current data shows a large range in the incidence of diastolic dysfunction in this patient population and a variable link with mortality. Future research should focus on the definition of normal values for diastolic function in critically ill patients along with the effects of ICU therapies and consensus criteria for its assessment in this patient population.

Original publication




Journal article


J intensive care soc

Publication Date





51 - 62


Diastolic dysfunction, critical care, critical illness, incidence, mortality, sepsis