PURPOSE OF REVIEW:Heart failure and diabetes mellitus are frequently associated, and diabetes appears to potentiate the clinical presentation of heart failure related to other causes. The purpose of this review is to examine recent advances in the application of tissue Doppler imaging for the assessment of diabetic heart disease. RECENT FINDINGS:Recent studies have documented that both myocardial systolic and diastolic abnormalities can be identified in apparently healthy patients with diabetes and no overt cardiac dysfunction. Interestingly, these are disturbances of longitudinal function, with compensatory increases of radial function-suggesting primary involvement of the subendocardium, which is a hallmark of myocardial ischemia. Despite this, there is limited evidence that diabetic microangiopathy is responsible-with reduced myocardial blood volume rather than reduced resting flow, and at least some evidence suggesting a normal increment of tissue velocity with stress. Finally, a few correlative studies have shown association of diabetic myocardial disease with poor glycemic control, while angiotensin converting enzyme inhibition may be protective. SUMMARY:Tissue Doppler imaging (and the related technique of strain rate imaging) appears to be extremely effective for the identification of subclinical LV dysfunction in diabetic patients. It is hoped that the recognition of this condition will prompt specific therapy to prevent the development of overt LV dysfunction.