Coronary Artery Disease
The coronary arteries nourish your heart muscle. Disease of your coronary arteries may involve one or all of your vessels. The cause of your disease is commonly related to hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis), in which deposits of fatty materials (cholesterol), and calcium build up inside your vessels. This results in a narrowing, or complete closure, of the inside of your coronary artery thus preventing an adequate amount of blood, oxygen and nutrients to reach a portion of your heart muscle. When your heart muscle fails to receive oxygenated blood, chest pain or pressure, called angina, can occur. When this condition continues, your blood supply to a specific area of heart muscle may be insufficient to maintain healthy function and that area of muscle dies. This is known as a myocardial infarction or heart attack.
Although your symptoms are very important, some people have severe coronary artery disease without symptoms. Fortunately, your doctor has a number of tests that determine the condition of your heart muscle and coronary arteries.
Coronary Artery Surgery
When normal heart function is affected by coronary artery disease, cardiac surgery may be indicated. The most common cardiac surgery performed today is coronary artery bypass grafting.
Valvular Heart Disease
Heart valves may be affected by defects and diseases, which reduce their efficiency. Abnormalities of your heart valves may exist at birth. Some of them require early medical attention, while others may go undetected until later in life. The natural process of aging can weaken an already affected valve or can deposit hard calcium in normal valve tissue. Some viruses and infections can also cause damage to your heart valves. Any of these problems can result in failure of your valves to open freely or close completely. Both of these conditions increase the workload of your heart and cause it to become abnormally large or eventually, to fail.
Valvular Heart Surgery
Heart valve replacement surgery has become a common procedure for helping patients with valvular heart disease. The mitral and aortic valves are the most common valves affected. In certain cases, stenosis or leakage may be relieved by operations that repair your own valve. In other cases, however, your valve may be so badly damaged that it must be replaced with an artificial (prosthetic) heart valve.