Advanced heart failure
When you have heart failure, the heart is not able to pump as well as it should.
Blood and fluid may back up into the lungs, and some parts of the body don’t get enough oxygen-rich blood to work normally. These problems lead to the symptoms you feel.
The cause of the heart failure will guide the treatment plan. If the heart failure is caused by a valve disorder, then surgery may be done to fix the valve. If the heart failure is caused by a disease, such as anemia, then the underlying disease will be treated.
Although there is no cure for heart failure due to damaged heart muscle, many forms of treatment have been used to treat symptoms very effectively.
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There are several abnormal heart rhythm conditions that need medical attention.
An irregular heartbeat is an arrhythmia (also called dysrhythmia). Arrhythmias and abnormal heart rates don't necessarily occur together.
Some arrhythmias may cause few, if any, problems. In this case, you may not need treatment; however, when the abnormal heart rhythm causes symptoms, your Baylor Scott & White Health team will give you options for treatment.
Baylor Scott & White has electrophysiologists on the medical staff who specialize in heart rate and rhythm problems.
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Angina (chest pain)
Angina is a warning that the heart muscle is not getting enough oxygen-rich blood. Angina is a painful or tight feeling in or near your chest.
There are two kinds of angina: stable and unstable.
Stable angina occurs at predictable times and can often be managed. Unstable angina does not occur at predictable times and it may not respond to the usual forms of treatment for angina.
Because unstable angina can lead to a heart attack, it is viewed as an emergency. If you are having symptoms of unstable angina, you should call 911 immediately.
There are several treatment plans for angina. Ask your Baylor Scott & White Health team questions you may have about your options.
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An aneurysm is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of a blood vessel.
An aneurysm may occur in any blood vessel, but most often develops in an artery rather than a vein.
The most common location of an aneurysm is the aorta, which carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the body.
Because an aneurysm may continue to increase in size, along with weakening of the artery wall, treatment is required to prevent rupture. With rupture, life-threatening hemorrhage is possible, so it is important to have a known aneurysm carefully monitored by your Baylor Scott & White team.
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Cardiomyopathy describes any disorder that affects the heart muscle, causing the heart to lose its ability to pump blood effectively. In some instances, the heart rhythm is also affected and leads to arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats).
There are many causes of cardiomyopathy, including viral infections and certain medications. Often, the exact cause is never found.
Cardiomyopathy may require monitoring and treatment from a cardiologist, as well as a heart surgeon. Your Baylor Scott & White Health team will outline a treatment plan to help you manage cardiomyopathy and prevent it from getting worse.
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Congenital heart disease
When the heart or blood vessels near the heart do not develop normally before birth, a condition called congenital heart defect occurs.
Congenital heart defects occur in close to one percent of infants, and most young people with congenital heart defects are living into adulthood now.
If you or your child has a congenital heart problem, you'll be monitored by a cardiologist on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Health.
In order to maintain wellness, it is important that those born with a heart defect continue heart care into adulthood.
More about congenital heart disease
Congestive heart failure
Congestive heart failure, occurs when the heart cannot pump enough oxygenated blood to meet the needs of the body's other organs. The heart keeps pumping, but not as efficiently as a healthy heart. Usually, the heart's reduced ability to pump reflects an underlying condition.
The cause of your heart failure guides your treatment.
If your heart failure is caused by a valve disorder, surgery may be performed. If your heart failure is caused by a disease, such as anemia, the underlying disease will be treated.
Although there is no cure for heart failure due to damaged heart muscle, many forms of treatment can help manage symptoms.
More about congestive heart failure
Coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease begins when damage leads to the development of plaque building up within the artery wall.
This plaque buildup begins to narrow the arteries carrying blood to the heart. As more plaque builds up, your artery has trouble supplying blood to your heart muscle when it needs it most. Plaque may tear, completely blocking the artery, or a blood clot may plug the narrowed opening.
The American Heart Association estimates that over 16 million Americans suffer from coronary artery disease – the number one killer of both men and women in the U.S.
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A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, occurs when the heart muscle experiences a severe or prolonged lack of oxygen caused by blocked blood flow.
The blockage is often a result of atherosclerosis – a buildup of plaque made up of fat deposits, cholesterol and other substances.
When a plaque ruptures, a blood clot quickly forms, causing a heart attack.
If you or someone you know shows any of warning signs of a heart attack, act immediately and call 911.
Immediate treatment for a heart attack is important to preserve heart muscle function.
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Heart valve disease
There are four valves that regulate the flow of blood within the heart: two on the left side (the aortic and mitral valves) and two on the right side (the pulmonary and tricuspid valves). Heart valve disorders can be caused by leaking (insufficiently or regurgitation) of the valves or narrowing (stenosis) of the valves.
When heart valves fail to open and close properly, the effects on the heart can be serious, possibly impairing the heart's ability to pump blood efficiently through the body. Heart valve problems are one cause of heart failure.
Most heart valve problems that require surgery or intervention involve the aortic and mitral valves, although problems with the other two valves can be treated.
More about heart valve disease
High blood pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, directly increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. Usually, high blood pressure has no signs or symptoms. However, you can know if your blood pressure is high by having it checked regularly by your healthcare provider.
If blood pressure is not controlled, it can lead to serious health problems. These include heart disease, heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and blindness.
If your blood pressure is too high, work with your physician on the medical staff at Baylor Scott & White Health on a plan to lower it.
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Cholesterol is a fatty substance that builds up in your bloodstream.
When blood cholesterol is high, it forms plaque, which can build up in the walls of arteries. Over time, this can lead to coronary artery disease, heart attack or stroke.
If your cholesterol levels are higher than normal, talk with your physician on the medical staff about steps you can take to lower your levels.
Steps may include lifestyle changes like diet, physical activity, quitting smoking and medication.
More about high cholesterol
Peripheral vascular disease (PVD)
Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is a slow and progressive circulation disorder caused by narrowing, blockage or spasms in a blood vessel.
PVD may involve disease in any of the blood vessels outside of the heart. However, the legs and feet are most commonly affected.
The main goals for treatment of peripheral vascular disease are to control the symptoms and stop the progression of the disease to lower the risk for heart attack, stroke and other complications.
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Pericarditis means the protective sac around the heart has become inflamed. This is usually a complication stemming from viral, fungal or bacterial infections.
The goal of treatment for pericarditis is to determine and eliminate the cause of the disease.
Treatment often involves medications, such as pain medicines, anti-inflammatory drugs and/or antibiotics. Pericarditis may last from two to six weeks, and it may come back.
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