The mechanical efficiency of left ventricular contraction and relaxation, the asynchrony of the onset of left ventricular relaxation, the time constant of left ventricular isovolumic pressure decay, and left ventricular chamber and myocardial stiffness were analysed in 32 patients after cardiac (24) and heart-lung transplantation (8). After cardiac transplantation left ventricular myocardial stiffness was increased and a mild degree of incoordinate contraction and relaxation was seen. In contrast, after heart-lung transplantation diastolic function was almost normal. Impairment of passive diastolic properties was significantly related to the ischaemic time of the donor heart and the donor's age. The index of left ventricular asynchrony was related to the ischaemic time and the recipient's age. The interval between transplantation and study did not influence the number of rejection episodes. This study confirms the presence of diastolic dysfunction after cardiac transplantation. Impairment of diastolic function seems to be related to the ischaemic time of the donor heart and to a mismatch between the size of the donor heart and the recipient's needs.
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