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An Overview of Heart Diseases and Disorders Part II of II

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An Overview of Heart Diseases and Disorders Part II of II


Arrhythmias that originate in the ventricles are: 


  • Ventricular Tachycardia (VT) 
    Ventricular tachycardia is a life threatening arrhythmia that occurs more often with other serious heart disease; however, sometimes it happens in people with normal hearts.   It is a serious condition that needs follow-up and aggressive treatment, because VT can lead to ventricular fibrillation (a disorganized and dangerously fast heartbeat).   Treatment options are radiofrequency ablation (scarring and burning the area of heart tissue that triggers the abnormal rhythm with EP Catheters), medication, and/or surgery.   People with VT often have an implanted defibrillator (a device that can shock the heart from the dangerous heartbeat).


  • Ventricular Fibrillation (VF) 
    Half of all cardiac deaths are caused by sudden cardiac arrest caused by ventricular fibrillation.   In VF, the heartbeat is chaotic and fast, causing the ventricles, to spasm.   Sometimes, a heart attack (blockage of the heart arteries) can induce VF.   VF occurs suddenly without warning, and stops the heart from working.  The body’s ensuing lack of oxygen especially to the brain, is deadly.   Sudden cardiac arrest is due to an electrical problem.   It is different than a heart attack, which is a circulatory problem caused by clogged arteries that cut off blood supply to the heart.   Though CPR may help a little, the only truly effective VF treatment is defibrillation.   This is when paddles or electrodes are used to “shock” the heart back to a normal rhythm.   Without this treatment, the person with VF will suddenly pass out and die.

 VT Image

Other arrhythmias include: 


  • Premature Contractions
    Early, skipped or extra beats are the most common cause of irregular heart rhythms.   These can start in both the upper or lower chambers of the heart.


  • Long QT Syndrome (LQTS)
    Long QT Syndrome is an electrical system disorder.  It can be brought on by taking certain medications, inherited, or a combination of the two.  People with LQTS are at risk for VF.


  • Heart Block 
    When electrical signals from the atria do not travel to the lower chambers (ventricles), heart block occurs.  The heart then beats too slowly, decreasing the  oxygen supply to the brain and body.


  • Syncope (Fainting) 
    Fainting, or feeling as if you might pass out, can be due to a serious heart rhythm disorder and needs to be carefully evaluated.   Sometimes the cause is not heart related, like low blood sugar.   Regardless of the cause, syncope is dangerous due to the risk of injuries from falling.


Circulatory Disorders 


  • Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)
    When arteries become too clogged that the blood flow to the heart is stopped or reduced, the ensuing lack of oxygen can kill or damage the heart muscle, causing a heart attack.  If one knows the symptoms of a heart attack to make it easier to get immediate emergency treatment, it can prevent or limit heart muscle damage.


  • Stroke
    Strokes are caused by reduced blood flow or blockage to the brain.   Abnormal heart rhythms like atrial flutter and atrial fibrillation can lead to the formation of blood clots in the heart.   When the clots become dislodged, they can travel to the brain, block a vessel and cause a stroke.


Structural Disorders


  • Heart Failure
    When the heart muscle is too weak to pump blood effectively through the body, heart failure, or cardiomyopathy occurs.   Early treatment and diagnosis can slow down or stop the progression of heart failure.


  • Heart Valve Problems 
    Heart valve problems can develop on their own or be inherited, affecting the heart’s ability to push blood between chambers.   Surgery and medication are treatment options.
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