Definition of Diastole

Diastole: The time period when the heart is in a state of relaxation and dilatation (expansion).

The final letter in "diastole" is pronounced as a long "e" as in "lee." The adjective for diastole is diastolic.

The diastolic pressure is specifically the minimum arterial pressure during relaxation and dilatation of the ventricles of the heart. Diastole is the time when the ventricles fill with blood.

In a blood pressure reading, the diastolic pressure is typically the second number recorded. For example, with a blood pressure of 120/80 ("120 over 80"), the diastolic pressure is 80. By "80" is meant 80 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury).

A diastolic murmur is a heart murmur heard during diastole, the time the heart relaxes.

"Diastole" came without change from the Greek diastole meaning "a drawing apart." The term has been in use since the 16th century to denote the period of relaxation of the heart muscle.


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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