Sunday, December 11, 2011

Congenital Heart Defect

A congenital heart defect is one that's present at birth. The problem could be a leaky heart valve, malformations in the walls that separate the heart chambers, or other heart problems. Some defects are not found until a person becomes an adult. Some need no treatment. Others require medicine or surgery. People with congenital heart defects may have a higher risk of developing complications such as arrhythmias, heart failure, and heart valve infection, but there are ways to reduce this risk.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Testing: Stress Test

The stress test measures how your heart responds to exertion. If you have an exercise stress test, you'll either walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike while the level of difficulty increases. At the same time, your EKG, heart rate, and blood pressure will be monitored as your heart works harder. Doctors use a stress test to evaluate whether there is an adequate supply of blood to the heart muscle.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Treatment: Angioplasty

Angioplasty is used to open a blocked heart artery and improve blood flow to the heart. The doctor inserts a thin catheter with a balloon on the end into the artery. When the balloon reaches the blockage, it is expanded, opening up the artery and improving blood flow. The doctor may also insert a small mesh tube, called a stent, to help keep the artery open after angioplasty.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Treatment: Bypass Surgery

Bypass surgery is another way to improve the heart's blood flow. It gives blood a new pathway when the coronary arteries have become too narrow or blocked. During the surgery, a blood vessel is first moved from one area of the body -- such as the chest, legs, or arms -- and attached to the blocked artery, allowing it to bypass the blocked part.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Smoking and Your Heart

If you smoke, your risk of heart disease is 2 to 4 times greater than a nonsmoker's. And if you smoke around loved ones, you're increasing their risk with secondhand smoke. Each year in the U.S., more than 135,000 people die from smoking-related heart disease. But it's never too late to quit. Within 24 hours of quitting, your heart attack risk begins to fall.