Heart Conditions and Diseases

Arrhythmias

Arrhythmias
An arrhythmia is an abnormal rhythm of the heart that can cause the heart to pump less effectively.
Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia in which the electrical signals in the atria, or the two small chambers of the heart, are fired in a very fast and uncontrolled manner.
Atrial Flutter
Atrial flutter is a common type of arrhythmia, where your atria beat more quickly than they should. Although usually not life-threatening, the condition makes it difficult for your heart to pump blood efficiently.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs)
Do cell phones interfere with pacemakers? Do ICDs need to be adjusted? Here are answers to these and other questions.
Heart Block
When you have heart block, there is interference with the electrical signals that usually move from the top chambers of your heart (the atria) to the bottom chambers of your heart (the ventricles), telling it when to beat. This is known as a conduction disorder.
Living with a Pacemaker or Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD)
With advances in technology, pacemakers and ICDs generally last several years and, in most cases, allow a person to lead a normal life.
Long QT Syndrome
Your heartbeat is a complex bodily function — many systems must work in unison. Disruptions in the electrical activity of your heart can lead to problems. Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is one of them.
Overview of Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs)
A pacemaker is a small device implanted under the skin that sends electrical signals to start or regulate a slow heartbeat.
Sick Sinus Syndrome
Sick sinus syndrome is a type of abnormal heartbeat, or arrhythmia. If you have this condition, you may have episodes when your heart beats very slowly, stops beating for a short while, or beats very rapidly.
Ventricular Fibrillation
Ventricular fibrillation (V-fib) is a type of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, that affects your heart’s ventricles.
Ventricular Tachycardia
Ventricular tachycardia is a rapid heart rate that begins in your heart’s lower chambers, or ventricles. Experts describe it as three or more heartbeats in a row, at a rate of more than 120 beats a minute.
Why the Doctor Gives You an EKG or ECG
Did you know that electrical currents flow throughout your body? Because the strongest of these travels through your heart, doctors are able to monitor your heart by placing electrical sensors on the surface of your skin. They do this by giving you an electrocardiogram -- abbreviated either ECG or EKG (from the original German spelling of the word).
Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome
Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW) is a type of abnormal heartbeat. If you have WPW, you may have episodes of tachycardia, when your heart beats very rapidly.
Automated External Defibrillator
An AED is a small, portable, battery-powered machine with a computer in it. The machine detects heart activity. It can give an electric shock to someone if needed.

Coronary Artery Disease

Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is a type of arteriosclerosis caused by a build-up of plaque in the inner lining of an artery.
Angina Pectoris
Angina pectoris occurs when the heart muscle doesn't receive enough blood and oxygen for a given level of work.
Medical Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
Some symptoms may indicate the possibility of a serious condition and should be evaluated immediately by a health care provider.
Coronary Heart Disease
A person with coronary heart disease has an accumulation of fatty deposits in the coronary arteries. These deposits narrow the arteries and can decrease or block the flow of blood to the heart.

Heart Attack

Heart Attack Treatment Options
Not everyone who has had a heart attack needs open-heart surgery, such as a bypass operation.
Thriving After a Heart Attack
Over the long term, your quality of life is tied to how severe your heart attack was and how it was treated. Beyond that, any change will depend largely on you.
Helping to Prevent a Second Heart Attack
Most Americans survive a first heart attack. By taking action, however, they can significantly reduce their chances for a second heart attack.
AEDs: High-Tech Help for Heart Attacks
Technology has given us the automated external defibrillator (AED), which is turning up far from hospitals. Some schools and public buildings already have AEDs.
Medical Symptoms You Should Never Ignore
Some symptoms may indicate the possibility of a serious condition and should be evaluated immediately by a health care provider.
Automated External Defibrillator
An AED is a small, portable, battery-powered machine with a computer in it. The machine detects heart activity. It can give an electric shock to someone if needed.

Heart Valve Disease

Heart Valve Diseases
Heart valves can malfunction on one of two ways: They can fail to close completely, allowing blood to flow backward, or they can become damaged, limiting blood flow.
Mitral Valve Prolapse
Mitral valve prolapse is a condition in which blood leaks backward through the mitral valve in the heart. This backflow of blood may result in a heart murmur.
Heart Murmurs
Heart murmurs may be caused by a number of factors or diseases, including defective heart valves, fever, and pregnancy.

Heart Failure

Heart Failure
Heart failure, also called congestive heart failure, is a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body's other organs.
Cardiomyopathy
Cardiomyopathy is any disease of the heart muscle in which the heart loses its ability to pump blood effectively.
What Is Ejection Fraction?
Ejection fraction is a measurement of how much blood your heart pushes out when it beats.
Clinical Guidelines for Heart Failure
As a patient, understanding the basics of the guidelines can help you take a more active role in your treatment.

High Blood Pressure

What Those Blood Pressure Numbers Mean
The two blood pressure numbers indicate how much pressure builds up in the arteries as the heart beats and between beats.
High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
High blood pressure, or hypertension, increases the risk for coronary heart disease (heart attack) and stroke (brain attack).
Understanding Prehypertension
Prehypertension is a new term that alerts people to the risk of developing chronic high blood pressure if they don’t take timely steps to improve their lifestyle habits.
Heed the Warning of Prehypertension
In many cases, the progression to high blood pressure occurs within four years of being diagnosed with prehypertension.
High Blood Pressure Can Damage Kidneys
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is the second leading cause of kidney disease in the United States, after diabetes.
About High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a sneaky ailment. The condition has no symptoms that you can see or feel. Having your blood pressure checked is the only way to know if it is high.

Other Heart Conditions

Pericarditis
Pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium, the thin sac (membrane) that surrounds the heart.
Rheumatic Heart Disease
Rheumatic heart disease is a condition in which the heart valves have been permanently damaged by rheumatic fever.
Cardiac Sarcoma
Cardiac sarcoma is a rare type of cancerous tumor that occurs in the heart.
Congenital Heart Defects
When the heart or blood vessels near the heart do not develop normally before birth, a condition called congenital heart defect occurs.
A Serious Look at Fainting
Fainting is a loss of consciousness, falling down or needing to lie down, followed by spontaneous recovery. Fainting by itself is not a problem, but it could be a sign of a serious health condition.
The Lowdown on Low Blood Pressure
Doctors often consider chronically low blood pressure too low only if it drops suddenly or causes noticeable symptoms.
Why the Doctor Treats Snoring Seriously
The movies and television depict snoring as funny, even hilarious. But snoring is no joke: It's a medical problem that can have serious health and social implications.