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Medical Science


Cardiology

The heart is an electrical pump, which is a life giving organ for all organisms with a heart; abnormality means disease, and cessation means death. Functioning of the heart depends on the remarkable property of a cluster of cells called the SA node (Figure 04), which keeps on
Cardiology pulsating eerily (like a living dead) even isolated and placed on a petri dish (with enough nutrient). Beside problem with the erratic performance of this central character, disorder can also occur with malfunctioning of the coronary artery (for supplying nutrient to the cells in the heart) or blockage of the blood vessel (for circulating nutrient and removing waste in the body). Some heart beat irregularity ECG patterns are also shown in Figure 04. The function of chordae tendinea (heart

Figure 04 Cardiology [view large image]


string) is to prevent backflow by holding the tricuspid and mitral valves tightly in the ventricular systole phase. Figure 05 shows the relationship between the ECG reading, the phono-cardiogram, the blood volume, and pressure during heart beat cycle. Figure 06 shows the heart in action.

The heart does not operate in serial steps like RA RV LA LV. It is a parallel processor accomplishing 4 tasks in 2 steps :
Cardiac Cycle Heart Beat
  1. The SA node sends electrical signal to the 2 upper chambers. The right one (RA) moves de-oxygenated blood into the lower right chamber (RV); while the left one (LA) delivers oxygenated blood to the lower left chamber (LV).
  2. Then the electrical current arrives at the AV node, which initiates the actions, whereby the right lower chamber (RV) squeezes de-oxygenated blood to the lung; while the left lower chamber (LV) injects oxygenated blood to the body (see Figures 04, 05, 06).

Figure 05 Cardiac Cycle
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Figure 06 Heart Beat
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Disease Symptom(s) Cause(s) Treatment(s)
Angina Chest pain Insufficient blood supply Lifestyle Changes, medications ( see link)
Arrhythmia Irregular heart beat Failure of cardio-electric Try to avoid caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, cold and cough medications, ... ( see link)
Cardiomyopathy breathlessness, leg swelling Weakening of heart muscle Pacemaker implant or heart transplant
( see link)
Cerebro-vascular Disease (Stroke) Face (drooping), Arms (unable to raise), Speech (slurred), Time (call 911 right away) Loss of brain function due to insufficient blood supply to the brain Medications, surgery ( see link)
Congenital Heart Disease Blue baby, shortness of breath, fast breathing, poor weight gain Mal-formation of the heart's structures Medications, surgery ( see link)
Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) Chest pain, shortness of breath Plaque deposits blocking coronary blood vessels coronary artery bypass graft surgery, Lifestyle changes, medications ( see link)
Heart Attack Chest pain or discomfort in the center or left side of the chest Blood flow is cut off leading to complications "Clot-busting" medicines and coronary angioplasty - a procedure to open up blocked coronary arteries ( see link)
High Blood Pressure Severe headaches, severe anxiety, shortness of breath, nosebleeds Age, diet,
too much alcohol,
lack of exercise, obesity, stress
Lifestyle changes, medications ( see link)
Hypercholesterolemia Chest pain or other symptoms of coronary artery disease Excessive intake of saturated fats, genetic abnormalities Lifestyle changes, medications ( see link)
Myocarditis Fever, joins pain, leg swelling Inflammation of heart muscle No proven effective medications ( see link)
Rheumatic Heart Disease Chest pain, excessive fatigue, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and swollen ankles, wrists or stomach Heart valve damaged by rheumatic fever Daily antibiotics, surgery ( see link)

Table 01 Diseases of the Heart


Table 01 above only offers a very short list for treatment, the links provide more information especially from the "Heart & Stroke Foundation". Figure 07 displays some modern techniques for treating heart diseases :
Modern Techniques Heart Disease
  1. Pacemaker - It is used to regulate the heart beat rate for Arrhythmic patient.
  2. Coronary Artery Bypass - The artery from another place in the patient is grafted to the heart to get around the blockage.
  3. Coronary Angioplasty - A balloon is inflated to flatten the plaque to reopen the artery.

Figure 07 Modern Techniques
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Figure 08 Heart Disease
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Finally, Figure 08 lists the symptoms, risk factors and causes for the most common heart diseases, which are mostly related to Ischemia (narrowing of blood vessels), and Atherosclerosis (thickening and stiffening of the arteries).

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