Heart Arrhythmia – definition, symptoms and treatment

What is Arrhythmia and Definition Arrhythmia is irregularity or abnormality of the heart’s contractions. Arrhythmias can result from numerous causes including electrical disturbances of the heart’s pacing mechanisms, physical damage to the HEART such as might occur with HEART ATTACK, interruptions of the heart’s BLOOD supply that cause myocardial HYPOXIA (oxygen depletion), severe electrolyte imbalances, and medication side effects. COCAINE use can initiate […]

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Endocarditis – symptoms, causes and treatment

What is Endocarditis Endocarditis is INFLAMMATION of the ENDOCARDIUM, the lining of the HEART. Viral or bacterial INFECTION can cause endocarditis; either is potentially life threatening, though bacterial infection is considerably more common. Bacterial endocarditis is a particular risk for people who have certain forms of CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE (CVD) and may follow bacterial infection in other parts of the body. Pathogenic (infection-causing) BACTERIA may also enter […]

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Paroxysmal atrial tachycardia (PAT) – symptoms and treatment

What is Paroxysmal Atrial Tachycardia An ARRHYTHMIA disorder, also called paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT), in which the atria have episodes of rapid, regular contractions. “Paroxysmal” means the symptoms start and stop abruptly, without apparent cause. During a PAT episode, the HEART RATE may reach 140 beats per minute. The atrial contractions of PAT originate in the atrium above the ATRIOVENTRICULAR […]

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Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome

What is Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome – An inherited ARRHYTHMIA disorder in which an extra conduction pathway, called an accessory pathway, exists between the heart’s atria and ventricles. The accessory pathway allows the heart’s electrical pacing impulse to bypass the normal conductive route, reaching the ventricles before the atria have completed their contraction cycle. While many people […]

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Heart attack – symptoms and treatment

What is Heart Attack Heart attack is the interruption of cardiovascular function. The most common cause of HEART attack is MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION, a blockage of the CORONARY ARTERIES, usually with a blood clot, that disrupts the flow of blood to the heart (MYOCARDIUM). Other causes of heart attack include ARRHYTHMIA, systemic HYPOXIA (such as may occur with drowning or carbon monoxide poisoning), and […]

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Pericarditis – symptoms and treatment

What is Pericarditis and definition Pericarditis is INFLAMMATION of the PERICARDIUM, the membranous sac that surrounds and protects the HEART. Pericarditis can be acute (comes on suddenly) or chronic (intermittent symptoms over a period of time), the result of an INFECTION or an autoimmune disorder such as RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS. Infections are usually viral, with the coxsackie VIRUS and echovirus the most common culprits, though […]

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Aneurysm definition and symptoms

What is Aneurysm and Definition Aneurysm is a weakened and often distended (stretched) area in the wall of an ARTERY. Though an aneurysm may develop in any artery, the most common location is the descending or abdominal AORTA. An aneurysm is potentially life-threatening. The continual pressure of the BLOOD flowing through the artery pressures the weakened area, which can cause […]

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Heart failure – symptoms and treatment

Heart Failure Definition The inability of the HEART to adequately pump BLOOD – may affect the right heart (pulmonary circulation), left heart (body circulation), or total heart. Heart failure, occasionally called by its antiquated name dropsy, is a consequence of longstanding CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE (CVD) that has damaged the structure of the heart. About 5 million Americans live with heart failure. Conditions […]

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Peripheral Vascular Disease – symptoms and treatment

What is Peripheral Vascular Disease ATHEROSCLEROSIS that affects the peripheral arteries, notably those in the legs. ATHEROSCLEROTIC PLAQUE infiltrates the inner wall of the arteries, the intima. This causes the intima to thicken and stiffen, restricting the FLEXIBILITY of the ARTERY as well as narrowing the passage for BLOOD (arterial lumen). Peripheral Vascular Disease can affect the largest […]

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Angina Pectoris – Definition, Symptoms and Treatment

What is Angina Pectoris and Definition Angina Pectoris – chest discomfort originating from the HEART, usually resulting from restricted BLOOD flow due to CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE (CAD) that occludes (blocks) one or more of the CORONARY ARTERIES. Coronary ARTERY spasm, especially that resulting from COCAINE use, may also cause angina. Some people experience a crushing pressure that radiates into the left shoulder, […]

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