Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
An abdominal aortic aneurysm is an enlargement of the lower part of the aorta. The aorta is your largest artery. In your abdomen, the aorta splits into the iliac arteries, which carry blood to your legs and lower areas of your body. As we age, plaque builds up on the inside of our arteries, which can weaken the artery walls, and an enlargement can occur, which is known as an aneurysm. There is reason to be concerned if you have an abdominal aortic aneurysm: If it becomes too large, it could rupture, which is extremely dangerous and can potentially cause life-threatening bleeding.
Acute Coronary Syndrome
Acute coronary syndrome, or ACS, is an umbrella term for three medically serious heart ailments: unstable angina and two types of myocardial infarction or heart attack. What the three have in common is a severe reduction or stoppage of blood flow to the heart. Any occurrence of ACS is potentially life-threatening and should be treated as a medical emergency. ACS is often indicated by the sudden onset of stabbing and spreading chest pain.
Angina is the clinical term for chest pain or discomfort caused by an inadequate supply of blood to the heart. Angina can be a recurring problem or a sudden condition and can feel like a squeezing, heavy pressure or tightness in the chest, shoulders, neck, jaw or back. Angina is a symptom of coronary artery disease.
Aortic Arch Aneurysm
The aorta is your largest artery and it brings oxygenated blood to all parts of the body. If the walls of the aorta become weak, an enlargement can occur. This is known as an aortic aneurysm. Aneurysms can form in any section of the aorta, but are most common in the abdomen (abdominal aortic aneurysm) or the upper body (thoracic aortic aneurysm). The part of the aorta closest to the heart is called the aortic arch. There is reason to be concerned if you have an aortic aneurysm: If the size is too large, it could rupture, which is extremely dangerous and can cause life-threatening bleeding.
Aortic dissection is a serious condition that occurs when the aorta wall's inner muscles tear and allow blood to split apart the other muscle layers of the aortic wall. Aortic dissection can happen if the walls of the aorta become weak. The aorta has a thick wall of three layers of muscle that protects it from the high pressure generated when the heart pumps. There is reason to be concerned if you have an aortic dissection: If the aorta’s walls rupture, bleeding can damage organs, cause damage to the aortic valve, cause a stroke and lead to death.
Aortic Valve Regurgitation
Aortic valve regurgitation occurs when the aortic valve leaks each time the left ventricle relaxes. This allows blood to flow in two directions – out through the aorta to the body, but also backward from the aorta into the left ventricle when the ventricle relaxes. To compensate for the aortic valve leak, the heart will have to work harder, sometimes causing the walls of the ventricle to thicken. A thickened heart muscle is less effective, and eventually the heart may be unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, leading to heart failure.
Aortic Valve Stenosis
There are four valves made of thin leaflets of tissue in your heart. These valves allow blood flow into or out of your heart each time it beats. The aortic valve acts as a gate to the aorta, the largest artery of your heart, which delivers oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. Aortic valve stenosis is a condition that happens when the valve becomes stiff or thickened by scar tissue, making it difficult for blood to flow out of the heart into the aorta.
Arteriosclerosis occurs when arteries grow thick and stiff and restrict blood flow to organs and tissues in the body. This gradual process weakens arteries and can develop in various organs, most commonly the heart. Arteries circulate blood throughout the body, but when plaque – fat, cholesterol and other cellular waste – build up on artery walls, arteriosclerosis can develop. Arteriosclerosis can develop into atherosclerosis. This condition can cause heart disease, strokes, circulation problems in the arms and legs, aneurysms that can cause life-threatening internal bleeding and chronic kidney disease.
Atherosclerosis is a heart condition that develops as plaque builds up inside your blood vessels, causing them to grow thick and stiff. This gradual process often restricts the flow of oxygenated blood and nutrients to organs and tissues. Atherosclerosis symptoms may go undetected in mild cases. But as plaque continues to weaken arteries, blood clots can form. Blood clots can block arteries in the chest, brain, arms, legs and kidneys. There is reason to be concerned if you develop atherosclerosis because it can cause heart disease, strokes, circulation problems in arms and legs including in gangrene, aneurysms that can cause life-threatening internal bleeding and chronic kidney disease.
Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is the rapid, uncoordinated movements of the heart’s upper two chambers. Disorganized electrical signals cause the heart to flutter, throwing off the heartbeat rhythm. AFib is the most common heart dysrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat. Atrial flutter is a similar condition, and although the rhythm is less chaotic, symptoms and causes are the same.
Atrial flutter is a type of heart rhythm disorder that causes the upper chambers of the heart to beat faster than the lower chambers. Atrial flutter is not life threatening, but it can cause side effects like blood clots that can cause stroke or heart attack.
Bicuspid Aortic Valve
A bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) is an aortic valve that has only two leaflets instead of three. These leaflets open and close to regulate blood flow from the heart into the aorta and prevent blood from flowing back into the heart. BAV is characterized by a bicuspid aortic valve murmur, which is the distinctive sound made by the blood as it moves through the valve.
Blood clotting is a normal process that prevents excessive bleeding when you have an injury or cut. The clot acts as a plug on an injured blood vessel to stop bleeding. But when clots form inside blood vessels, they can be dangerous. Blood clots happen when the platelets and proteins in your blood work together to form a semi-solid mass. If a blood clot forms in a vein, it can keep the blood from properly returning to the heart. Blood will back up into a vein and cause pain and swelling. This clot can detach and travel to the lungs, preventing blood flow, damaging the lungs and potentially causing death if treatment isn’t immediate.
Bradycardia is a slower-than-normal heart rate. One of its most common types is sinus bradycardia, where the heart rate is lower than 60 beats per minute.Your heart usually beats between 60 and 100 times a minute. If your heart doesn't pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body with each contraction, bradycardia can be a serious problem.
Brugada Syndrome is a rare, inherited condition that causes an irregular heartbeat. This heart rhythm disorder impacts the lower chambers of the heart. Brugada Syndrome is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition that, without treatment, can lead to rapid heart failure. It is sometimes referred to as sudden, nocturnal death syndrome because those with this condition can die suddenly in their sleep.
Cardiac arrest occurs when an abnormality in the heart rhythm (arrhythmia) results in a malfunction in the heart’s electrical system, causing the heart to stop beating. Because the heart has stopped, oxygenated blood is not pumped to the brain and other organs. Cardiac arrest can result in death or permanent brain damage within minutes.
Cardiomyopathy refers to diseases of the heart muscle. In these diseases, the heart muscle becomes enlarged, thick or rigid and, at time, scar tissue can replace muscle tissue. As cardiomyopathy progresses, the heart becomes weaker and is less able to pump blood throughout the body. This can lead to arrhythmias, heart valve problems or heart failure.
Cardiovascular disease describes a variety of conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. Many of these conditions are related to a process called atherosclerosis in which plaque builds up in the walls of the arteries, narrowing them and making it harder for blood to flow through. Risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as symptoms and treatment vary for each individual patient, but prevention is largely related to lifestyle factors and behaviors.
Carotid Artery Disease
Carotid artery disease occurs when fatty deposits build up inside the carotid arteries – the two large blood vessels in the neck that supply the brain with blood. This causes a narrowing or blockage that can reduce blood flow to the brain, increasing the risk of stroke. This medical emergency deprives the brain of oxygen and – within minutes to hours – can lead to significant disability or even death.
Cerebrovascular disease refers to a variety of conditions that affect the supply of blood to the brain. These can include several types of stenosis, aneurysms and vascular malformations, and can lead to transient ischemic attacks, hemorrhaging and strokes.
Claudication is a deep aching pain that is felt in the calf, foot, thigh or buttocks during exercise like walking. The pain typically comes and goes with activity and rest. Claudication is a symptom of peripheral artery disease, a restriction of blood flow in the arteries.
Coarctation of the Aorta (COA)
Coarctation of the Aorta, or COA, is a common congenital heart defect where the aorta is narrowed. Coarctation originates from the Latin word coartare, which means “to press together.” A pinched or squeezed aorta restricts normal blood flow through the aorta. The condition is also sometimes diagnosed in adulthood.
Compartment syndrome is when excess pressure inside of muscles cause nerve damage. Pressure inside a muscle builds to higher than usual levels. The pressure prevents nerve and muscles cells from receiving adequate amounts of blood flow, oxygen, and other nutrients.
Congenital Heart Disease
Congenital heart disease stems from an abnormality in the heart’s structure that is present at birth. Conditions can include defects of the heart valve; a hole in the heart or passageway between two of the heart’s chambers; problems with the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body; problems with veins leading from the lungs to the heart; or problems with one or more of the heart’s chambers.
Congestive Heart Failure
Congestive heart failure is a progressive disease with four stages. If untreated, congestive heart failure can become worse and cause many symptoms that affect quality of life. In general, heart failure is when the heart does not circulate blood normally because the walls of the ventricles are too thin to pump the blood through the ventricles as it should. Therefore kidneys receive less blood and filter less fluid into urine – causing this fluid to build up in the lungs, liver, around the eyes, or in in the legs.
Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease. It is a result of the buildup of plaque on the inner walls of the coronary arteries, which supply oxygen and nutrient-rich blood directly to your heart. This buildup can begin early in life, and usually occurs over many years as cholesterol, fatty substances, cellular waste products, calcium and clotting agents in the blood stick to your arterial walls. This causes your arteries to harden and narrow, restricting the flow of blood and causing inflammation. The reduced blood flow and potential for blockages can lead to serious conditions such as arrhythmias, heart failure, heart attack and cardiac arrest.
Danon Disease is a rare, inherited disorder that affects many organ systems in the body. Untreated, the condition is fatal. Among males, the condition often results in a defective heart, weakening of muscles in the body, and mild to severe intellectual disabilities. A heart transplant is usually needed during childhood or early adolescence. Among females, the condition is generally milder with fewer symptoms. Onset might not occur until early adulthood. Sometimes a heart transplant is required to treat the condition.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, typically in one of the legs. This condition can develop as a result of certain medical conditions that affect blood clotting or if a person is immobile for an extended period of time due to surgery, an accident or illness. Deep vein thrombosis can lead to a condition called pulmonary embolism, if a clot breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream to the lung. This can cause permanent damage to the affected lung, low oxygen levels in the blood, organ damage due to low oxygen and even death without rapid treatment.
Diastolic Heart Failure
Diastolic heart failure is a condition where the lower left chamber of the heart is not able to fill properly with blood during the diastolic phase, reducing the amount of blood pumped out to the body. The diastolic phase is when the heart relaxes and fills with blood.
Cardiac dysrhythmias are a problem with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat caused by changes in your heart’s normal sequence of electrical impulses. Your heart may beat too quickly, called tachycardia; too slowly, bradycardia; or with an irregular pattern. Dysrhythmias can range from completely harmless to life-threatening (without proper treatment).
Eisenmenger Syndrome is a condition associated with a long-term, uncorrected heart defect present at birth. Over time, the unrepaired defect changes the natural flow of blood between your heart and lungs. As a result, blood vessels in your lungs harden and narrow, intensifying pressure on your lungs. Ultimately, this process causes permanent damage to your blood vessels.
Enlarged Aorta or Aortic Aneurysm
The aorta is your largest artery and it brings oxygenated blood to all parts of the body. If the walls of the aorta become weak, an enlargement can occur, which is known as an aortic aneurysm. Dilated valves near the aortic root closest to the heart are also common. There is reason to be concerned if you have an aortic aneurysm: If the vessel becomes too large, it could rupture, which is extremely dangerous and can cause life-threatening bleeding.
An enlarged heart, also is called cardiomegaly or idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, is a condition that occurs when a heart becomes enlarged by factors such as infection, stress, or other heart conditions. Symptoms of an enlarged heart can improve, but most often, treatment to correct the cause of the enlargement is needed.
Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers and valves. This infection is caused when bacteria, fungi, or germs from your body enter the bloodstream and attach to the heart. Left untreated, the infection causes inflammation that can severely damage your heart. This can be life-threatening.
A heart attack occurs when a blood clot restricts or cuts off oxygenated blood to a portion of the heart’s muscle. Unless blood starts flowing again quickly to that area, the heart muscle begins to die. Most heart attacks are caused by a buildup of plaque inside the coronary arteries. Plaque build-up can rupture an artery and allow a blood clot to form. If the blood clot is large enough, it can block blood flow to the heart.
A heart block is an abnormal rhythm of the heart. In this case, the heart beats too slowly. Heart block occurs when electrical signals that tell the heart to contract are prevented from passing between the upper and lower chambers of the heart, also known as the atria and ventricles. Because of this, heart block is also referred to as “atrioventricular block,” or AV block.
Heart failure means the heart isn't able to pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body, either because the heart muscle is weakened or stiff or because a defect is present that prevents proper circulation. When the heart does not circulate blood normally, the kidneys receive less blood and filter less fluid into urine – causing this fluid to build up in the lungs, liver, around the eyes, or in in the legs.
A heart murmur is an extra or unusual sound heard during the heartbeat cycle, ranging from very faint to very loud. Through a stethoscope, a heart murmur sounds like whooshing or swishing. Often, heart murmurs are harmless, or innocent, but some may indicate an underlying heart condition. Heart murmur symptoms can vary and may be absent in the case of an innocent murmur.
Have you ever sensed your heart speeding up or possibly skipping a beat? You may have experienced a heart palpitation. Heart palpitations are perceived changes in heart rhythm or rate, which may include fast, hard, or irregular beats, as felt in the chest, throat, or neck. Some people experience them regularly, others only rarely. Heart palpitations are typically short-lived and harmless but, in some cases, may indicate a more serious underlying medical issue.
Heart Valve Disease
The heart is divided into two upper chambers and two lower chambers. There are four valves that control the flow of blood through your heart. They are called the aortic, mitral, pulmonary, and tricuspid valves, and each is made of flaps of tissue called leaflets. Each time your heart beats, it pumps blood through these valves by contracting its chambers. These valves open in one direction, allowing blood to flow forward. Between beats, the heart’s chambers relax, and its valves close, preventing blood from flowing backward.
- When your valve is narrowed and does not completely open because of things like a build-up of calcium, high cholesterol, age, or genetics, this is called stenosis.
- When your valve does not fully close and allows blood to leak backwards through the valve, this is called regurgitation.
Hyperlipidemia (also known as high cholesterol) refers to several disorders that can result in too much fat (lipids) in the blood. These lipids can enter the walls of the arteries and increase the risk for developing hardening of the arteries, which could cause complications such as heart disease or stroke. Hyperlipidemia can also be a cause of cardiovascular disease.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is an enlargement and thickening of the heart muscle which can block the flow of blood, causing the heart to pump harder. Some people can develop symptoms and potentially severe complications.
Cholesterol is a lipid, a fatty substance produced by your liver. In small amounts it plays a positive role, helping to synthesize cell membranes, bile acid, certain hormones, and vitamin D. When joined with proteins, it passes into the bloodstream and circulates through the body in two forms, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. LDL is sometimes called “bad cholesterol,” while HDL is known as “good cholesterol.” Cholesterol is only a problem when there’s more than your body can properly use. Excess LDL cholesterol combines with fats and calcium to create plaque, which builds up in the blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries, hypertension, and a heightened chance of heart disease and stroke. It is partly offset by HDL cholesterol, which helps return excess LDL cholesterol to the liver.
Ischemic cardiomyopathy (CM) is a type of dilated cardiomyopathy. When coronary artery disease is present, or after a heart attack, an artery to the heart can become blocked for a short time, preventing oxygen-rich blood from entering the heart. When this happens, the heart muscle can become enlarged, dilated and weak. This reduces the heart’s capacity to pump blood to the rest of the body. If untreated, ischemic cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure, blood clots or death.
Kawasaki disease is the most common acquired heart disease in children across the world. The condition features inflamed blood vessels that can impact the heart. Kawasaki disease can impair heart muscle and valve function. Left untreated, these impairments can lead to serious health complications.
Left-Sided Heart Failure
Left-sided heart failure is a heart condition where the muscle on the left side of the heart is diminished and the pump doesn't work to the body. Left-sided heart failure occurs when the left ventricle is gradually weakened. When this occurs, the heart is unable to pump oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to the heart’s left atrium, into the left ventricle and on through the body and the heart has to work harder.
Long QT Syndrome
Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a rare, usually congenital disorder that causes an irregular heartbeat. This can cause sudden, dangerous arrhythmias and in some cases ventricular fibrillation, usually in response to exercise or stress.
Low Heart Ejection Fraction
A low ejection fraction is typically 45 or less and can be evidence of heart failure or cardiomyopathy. The heart’s ejection fraction (EF) refers to the amount – or percentage – of blood pumped out of the heart’s left ventricle with each contraction. The EF is an important measurement that physicians use to determine how well your heart is pumping out blood and to diagnose or track heart failure.
Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that weakens the body’s connective tissue which can affect how the heart and blood vessels work. If Marfan syndrome affects the aorta the main blood supplier to the body it can be life threatening.
Mitral Valve Disease
Mitral valve disease is the medical condition in which the mitral valve, located between the heart’s left atrium and left ventricle, doesn’t work properly.
Mitral Valve Prolapse
Mitral valve prolapse is a condition in which the valve flaps of the heart’s mitral valve do not close smoothly or evenly. The flaps bulge, or prolapse into the atrium. Mitral valve prolapse is also known as Barlow's syndrome, click-murmur syndrome or floppy valve syndrome.
Mitral Valve Regurgitation
Mitral valve regurgitation is a condition in which the flaps, or leaflets, of the mitral valve don’t close tightly. This allows some of the blood being pumped from the left atrium to the left ventricle to flow backward into the left atrium.
Mitral Valve Stenosis
Mitral valve stenosis is a condition in which the mitral valve, located between the heart’s left atrium and left ventricle, becomes thick, stiff or fused. This prevents the valve from fully opening and not enough blood can flow through to the main pumping chamber of the heart.
Neurocardiogenic syncope is a fainting spell that occurs when the body overreacts to certain triggers, like intense emotion, the sight of blood, extreme heat, dehydration, a long period of standing or intense pain. The trigger causes a person’s heart rate and blood pressure to drop suddenly, and blood may pool in the legs. This leads to reduced blood flow to the brain, causing a brief loss of consciousness. Neurocardiogenic syncope doesn’t indicate a more serious underlying health condition. When a person faints, normal blood flow to the brain resumes and consciousness returns. If the affected person falls on a hard surface, there is a possibility of injury.
Non-ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction is a type of heart attack, often referred to as NSTEMI or a non-STEMI. An NSTEMI is a less severe form of heart attack than the STEMI because it inflicts less damage to the heart. However, both are heart attacks and require immediate medical care.
Other Heart Rhythm Disorders
An arrhythmia is a disorder that affects the heart rate. The heart tends to beat too slow (bradycardia), too fast (tachycardia), or irregularly. Arrhythmias can affect the amount of blood pumped by the heart.
Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a continual opening between the two major blood vessels leading from the heart. In medical terms, patent means “failing to close.” The opening is called the ductus arteriosus. So when this opening doesn’t close on its own after a baby’s birth, it is referred to as a patent ductus arteriosus. PDA occurs twice as often in girls as in boys, and is common in premature babies.
Pericardial effusion is an abnormal buildup of fluid in the membranous sac surrounding the heart, called the pericardium. The excess fluid in the pericardium puts pressure on the heart, reducing its ability to pump blood and oxygenate the body. Minor fluid buildups are often asymptomatic and can be accommodated by the heart. More severe cases pose a serious health risk and require medical and sometimes surgical treatment.
Pericarditis is an inflammation of the thin, fluid-filled membrane sac surrounding the heart called the pericardium. Pericarditis is marked by sharp pain in the chest’s center or left side. Scientists have identified a number of potential causes, with viral infections being primary. Mild cases of pericarditis often heal on their own; more severe cases can generate serious health risks and require corrective treatment.
Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
Peripheral artery disease is a condition of the blood vessels that leads to narrowing and hardening of the arteries that supply the limbs. The narrowing of the blood vessels leads to decreased blood flow, which can injure nerves and other tissues.
Peripheral Vascular Disease
Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) develops as plaque builds up on the inside of arteries. This buildup restricts the flow of blood to the stomach, arms and head – but particularly in the legs – causing pain and numbness when walking or climbing stairs. Painful cramping in calves, thighs or hips after certain physical activities like walking or climbing stairs is common. PVD increases the risk for infection, tissue death, heart attack, stroke and amputation.
Hypertension is high blood pressure. Prehypertension is the state before hypertension when you're at high risk of developing full-blown high blood pressure if you don't take steps to improve your health. High blood pressure is serious. It puts you at risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and dementia.
Premature Ventricular Contractions
Premature ventricular contractions are extra heartbeats that begin in the ventricles or lower chambers of the heart and disrupt the heart’s normal rhythm. People with the condition may feel a skipped beat or a fluttering in the chest. Almost everyone experiences premature ventricular contractions at some point, but frequent premature ventricular contractions could be a sign of an underlying heart problem or heart disease
Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)
Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) is a rare form of pulmonary hypertension where the blood vessels in your lungs are narrowed, blocked or destroyed. The damage slows blood flow through your lungs, and blood pressure in the lung arteries rises. Your heart must work harder to pump blood through your lungs.
A pulmonary embolism is a sudden blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries in the lungs. It’s typically caused by a blood clot in one of the legs that breaks loose and travels through the bloodstream to the lung. A pulmonary embolism can cause permanent damage to the affected lung, low oxygen levels in the blood, organ damage due to low oxygen and even death without rapid treatment.
When small arteries in the lungs are inflamed, they can become damaged, narrowed or blocked, making it harder for blood to flow normally. This pressure builds up and weakens the lungs and right side of the heart. Over time, the artery walls can stiffen or tighten and blood clots can form. With some types of pulmonary hypertension, symptoms can go unnoticed. For other types, pulmonary hypertension symptoms can be severe and can be life-threatening.
Pulmonary stenosis is a narrowing of the pulmonary valve opening. This narrowing restricts blood flow from the lower right chamber of the heart (ventricle) and the pulmonary arteries, which deliver blood to the lungs.
Restrictive cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the walls of the lower chambers of the heart become too rigid to expand as the ventricles fill with blood. The heart’s ability to pump blood may be normal, but its ability to fill with blood is abnormal. As a result, the heart eventually loses its ability to pump properly, leading to heart failure.
Right-Sided Heart Failure
Right-sided, heart failure often occurs when the weakened and/or stiff left ventricle loses power to efficiently pump blood to the rest of the body. As a result, fluid is forced back through the lungs, weakening the heart’s right side, causing right-sided heart failure. This backward flow backs up in the veins, causing fluid to swell in the legs, ankles, GI tract and liver. In other cases, certain lung diseases like COPD or pulmonary fibrosis can cause right-sided heart failure, despite the left-side of the heart functioning normally.
Rheumatic Heart Disease
Rheumatic heart disease is damage to the heart and its valves caused by rheumatic fever – an inflammatory disease that can develop as a complication of inadequately treated strep throat or scarlet fever. This damage may affect the aortic valve, the mitral valve or both – causing the valves to leak or become narrowed over time. Rheumatic fever can also affect the heart muscle or the outer covering of the heart.
Sick Sinus Syndrome
Sick sinus syndrome refers to heart rhythm disorders (dysrhythmias) caused by improper function of the heart’s natural pacemaker, called the sinus node. Sick sinus syndrome can cause a heart rhythm to be too fast, too slow, interrupted by long pauses or a combination of all of these. Sick sinus syndrome can be controlled with a pacemaker.
STEMI Myocardial Infarction
STEMI stands for ST elevated myocardial infarction, which is the clinical name given to a major heart attack, and describes the wave pattern displayed by an electrocardiogram when the heart attack is occurring. STEMI occurs when one of the coronary arteries becomes completely blocked, cutting off the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of the heart. STEMI is a life-threatening condition. If you suspect you or someone else is having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 and wait for emergency help to arrive. Unless blood flow to the impacted area is restored quickly, the heart muscle begins to die, causing permanent damage and possible cardiac arrest and death.
Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, or stress cardiomyopathy, is a weakening of the heart muscle as a result of significant emotional or physical stress. Triggers may include sudden illness, a serious accident, a natural disaster, loss of a loved one or intense fear. The condition is sometimes known as broken-heart syndrome. In stress cardiomyopathy, stress triggers an onset of chest pain, breathlessness and other symptoms that mimic a heart attack. An electrocardiogram (EKG) may even show abnormalities similar to those found in some heart attacks. The left ventricle temporarily enlarges and doesn’t pump well, while the rest of the heart functions normally or with even more forceful contractions.
Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)
Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is an abnormality in the timing or pattern of your heartbeat. The heart may beat very rapidly or erratically, affecting its ability to pump blood throughout the body. Supraventricular tachycardia originates in the atria, or upper chambers of the heart. Infrequent occurrences are only rarely associated with serious medical problems.
Syncope is commonly known as fainting. It occurs when the brain does not receive enough oxygen, causing you to temporarily lose consciousness. The most common forms of syncope are cardiogenic, neurocardiogenic and orthostatic, all of which involve underlying heart, cardiovascular or blood pressure issues.
Systolic Heart Failure
Systolic heart failure is one of two main types of heart failure. It is a problem with how the left ventricle pumps blood to the rest of the body effectively or how it improperly fills with blood.
- Acute systolic heart failure occurs more suddenly and often is considered a medical emergency.
- Chronic systolic heart failure occurs over a period of time, typically caused by other heart conditions such as high blood pressure, a damaged heart, or coronary artery disease.
Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm (TAA)
A thoracic aortic aneurysms (TAA) is an aneurysm that occurs in the chest area and can involve different areas of the upper aorta. Symptoms of TAA vary. Patients can experience chest, abdominal or neck pain, or no pain at all. A TAA may rupture causing a life-threatening situation and the need for immediate medical attention.
Torsades de Pointes
Torsades de pointes (“twisting of the points”) is a life-threatening heart rhythm disturbance.
Irregularities in the heart rhythm are called arrhythmias. A sudden increase in heart rate above the usual levels is called tachycardia. Torsades de pointes (TdP) is a rare form of tachycardia arrhythmia where the heart’s two lower chambers beat faster than, and out of sync with, the two upper chambers. Typically, TdP resolves without intervention or treatment. However, left untreated, it can potentially develop into a serious heart condition called ventricular fibrillation, which can lead to cardiac arrest (the heart suddenly stops). Cardiac arrest is often fatal.
Tricuspid Valve Disease
Tricuspid valve disease is a heart condition that affects the flow of blood from the heart’s right atrium to the right ventricle.
- When the tricuspid valve doesn’t close tightly and allows blood to flow backward into the right atrium, it is known as tricuspid valve regurgitation. The most common cause of regurgitation is a prolapsing valve, a condition in which the valve flaps bulge back into the right atrium when the heart contracts.
- When the tricuspid valve flaps become thick, stiff or fused, it is known as tricuspid valve stenosis. This results in a narrowed valve opening and reduced blood flow between the atrium and ventricle.
Truncus Arteriosus is a birth defect that affects a baby’s heart. Usually, the blood vessel pumping blood out of the heart divides completely into two separate vessels. These vessels are called the pulmonary valve and the aortic valve. Together, both valves regulate a healthy mix of oxygen and blood to the lungs. When the vessel does not divide completely, the heart pumps too much blood into the lungs, causing complications.
Varicose veins are a visible symptom of venous reflux cause by damaged or diseased valves in the veins. The damage or disease results in a backward flow of blood in the legs (venous reflux). Then, the blood pools, prompting pain, swelling and varicose veins. The pain, swelling and unsightly appearance of varicose veins can be quickly relieved by a new minimally invasive procedure. The VNUS Closure® procedure is an alternative treatment to traditional vein stripping surgery for patients with venous reflux.
Venous circulation is comprised of superficial veins and deep veins. If a blood clot blocks a vein, you may experience:
- Tenderness or swelling of the affected extremity
- Pain and/or a cramping feeling
- Discoloration of the skin, in severe cases
Vasovagal syndrome is a heart condition that can cause a sudden, rapid drop in heart rate and blood pressure, which leads to fainting. The condition may also be described as a vasovagal or neurocardiogenic syncope, or vasovagal attack.
A venous ulcer is a leg wound that happens when the leg veins don’t circulate blood back toward the heart. Blood can back up in the veins, building up pressure on the skin, which can cause an open sore to form. Venous ulcers usually form on the sides of the lower leg, above the ankle and below the calf. They are slow to heal and often return. Without proper treatment, they can become larger and cause additional leg problems.
An aneurysm occurs when an artery wall is weakened and an artery expands excessively. A ventricular aneurysm is a blood-filled bulge that occurs as a result of an area of weakened tissue in the heart wall. In most cases, ventricular aneurysms form as a result of damage from a previous heart attack, though they may also be caused by defects present from birth. Ventricular aneurysms are most common in the left ventricle. The main concern for a patient with a left ventricular aneurysm is the possible reduction of the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the body, causing heart failure and death.
Ventricular fibrillation is a heart rhythm disturbance in which the heart quivers erratically instead of beating as it should. Ventricular fibrillation affects the two bottom chambers of the heart, preventing blood from circulating throughout the body and reaching the vital organs. This can result in cardiac arrest, which is a life-threatening emergency.
Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
A Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) is a hole in the heart of infants and some adults. The hole is in the ventricular septum, the wall that divides the two lower chambers of the heart. VSD is a congenital birth defect, meaning that infants have it at birth. In normal development, the hole closes before birth. However, with VSD, the hole remains open, allowing oxygen-rich blood to flow back to the lungs instead of to the body. This can cause higher pressure in the heart and cause the heart to work harder.
Ventricular tachycardia is a heart rhythm disorder in which the heart beats too quickly because of abnormal electrical signals in the lower chambers of the heart. The severity of ventricular tachycardia varies. The most severe cases can lead to sudden cardiac arrest, which is a medical emergency.
Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is a condition characterized by an extra electrical pathway in the heart. This can lead to periods of rapid heart rate and is the most common cause of a fast heart rate in babies and children. Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome’s fast heartbeat episodes usually aren’t life-threatening, but – in rare cases – serious heart problems can occur.