Can heart failure be caused by a stiff heart?


Heart failure isn’t always a problem with the heart’s ability to function as a pump. Sometimes the heart can pump well but has become stiff, meaning it can’t relax and fill with blood as well as it should.

This can lead to classic symptoms of heart failure like breathlessness, difficulty lying flat due to breathlessness, weight gain and ankle swelling.

That’s known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (that is, the “pump” of the heart is preserved). This is actually a very common type of heart failure, usually at an older age – people with this form often have a history of high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity.

People living with this condition may be advised to manage fluid retention by restricting fluid intake and using diuretics as prescribed. 

Managing weight and having high blood pressure treated are important. Daily exercise is also recommended and can help to improve breathlessness.


This article is for reference purposes only – it is not designed to be, nor should it be regarded, as professional medical advice. Please consult your own medical practitioner for health advice specific to your condition.