Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.
Category: Heart and circulation
ACE Inhibitors and ARBs: Helping Blood Flow Better
Find out why it's important to keep taking your ACE inhibitor or ARB and how to make it easier.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening
Abdominal aortic aneurysms can be found during an ultrasound screening test. Screening tests help your doctor look for a certain disease or condition before any symptoms appear. Not all doctors agree on who should be screened for abdominal aortic aneurysm. Talk to your doctor about whether the benefits of screening...
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: Should I Get a Screening Test?
Guides through decision to have screening for abdominal aortic aneurysm. Includes pros such as finding aneurysms so that they can be treated. Also explains the possible harm that could come if the test leads to risky surgery. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.
Acute Coronary Syndrome
Covers angina and symptoms that happen when the heart does not get enough blood. Covers unstable angina and heart attack. Discusses treatment with medicines, angioplasty, or bypass surgery. Offers prevention tips.
Advance Care Planning: Should I Receive CPR and Life Support?
Guides through decision to receive CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and mechanical ventilation. Describes the procedures and discusses risks and benefits of each. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.
Advance Care Planning: The Need for Ongoing Conversations
Learn more about what questions to keep asking—as your treatment and preferences change.
Advance Care Planning: Thinking About Hospice
It's common to have a lot of questions if you're thinking about hospice. Knowing more may help.
Advance Care Planning: Treatment Choices Near the End of Life
It can be hard to know which treatments you may or may not want near the end of life. Learning more can help.
Learn how advance directives let others know your care preferences when you can't speak for yourself.
After a Stroke: Helping Your Family Adjust
If you have a family member who has had a stroke, you may be concerned about how the stroke is going to affect your family's lifestyle. You may be concerned about finances and changes in family roles and responsibilities. Here are some ways to help...
After a Stroke: Taking a Blood Thinner for A-Fib
Learn why it's important to take blood-thinning medicine after your stroke.
After a Stroke: Taking an Antiplatelet
Learn why it's important to take antiplatelet medicine after your stroke.
After a Stroke: Your Self-Care Plan
Learn how your self-care plan can help you manage after a stroke.
Alan's Story: Coping With Change After a Heart Attack
Alan is something of a miracle man. At the age of 32, he had a massive heart attack. But more than 40 years, 4 bypass surgeries, 30 angioplasties, and a combined pacemaker/defibrillator later, he's still thriving. He learned how to cope with heart...
Alcohol Increases the Risk of Cold Injury
Drinking alcohol may increase the risk of injury from cold exposure. Alcohol: Changes your body's ability to regulate body temperature. Changes your judgment. For example, a person may not put on more clothing when it is needed if his or her...
Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is caused by long-term heavy alcohol use. It is a type of dilated cardiomyopathy. The heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump blood efficiently. If your heart gets weaker, you may develop heart failure. Alcohol in excessive...
The blood supply to your hand normally comes from two arteries: the radial artery and the ulnar artery. Before drawing blood for an arterial blood gas test, your health professional will make sure that both arteries are open and working correctly. A...
An ambulatory electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) records the electrical activity of your heart while you do your usual activities. Ambulatory means that you are able to walk during the test. This type of monitoring may also be called ambulatory EKG, Holter monitoring, 24-hour EKG, or cardiac event monitoring. Many heart...
American Heart Association Healthy Diet Guidelines
The American Heart Association (AHA) publishes dietary and lifestyle recommendations for general heart health. These recommendations are for healthy adults and children older than age 2 as well as people who already have health problems such as coronary artery disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or heart failure...
What is angina? Angina (say "ANN-juh-nuh" or "ann-JY-nuh") is a symptom of heart disease. Angina happens when there is not enough blood flow to the heart muscle. This is often a result of narrowed blood vessels, usually caused by hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Angina can be dangerous. So it is...
An angiogram is an X-ray test that uses a special dye and camera (fluoroscopy) to take pictures of the blood flow in an artery (such as the aorta) or a vein (such as the vena cava). An angiogram can be used to look at the arteries or veins in the...
Angiogram of the Head and Neck
An angiogram of the head and neck is an X-ray test that uses a special dye and camera (fluoroscopy) to take pictures of the blood flow in the blood vessels of the head and neck. An angiogram of the neck (carotid angiogram) can be used to look at the...
Angiogram of the Lung
An angiogram of the lung is an X-ray test that uses a special dye and camera (fluoroscopy) to take pictures of the blood flow in the blood vessels of the lung. During an angiogram, a thin tube called a catheter is placed into a femoral blood vessel...
Angioplasty for Coronary Artery Disease
Learn how angioplasty opens narrowed or blocked arteries to help you avoid a heart attack.
Angioplasty for Coronary Artery Disease
Covers procedure, which is also called percutaneous coronary intervention, to widen narrow coronary arteries for stable angina and heart attack. Links to a slideshow of angioplasty. Describes use of stent and balloon to open artery. Explains why it's done and when it's not done. Includes how well it works, risks, and...
Angioplasty for Peripheral Arterial Disease
Learn how angioplasty can open narrowed or blocked arteries in your legs to improve blood flow.
Angioplasty for Peripheral Arterial Disease of the Legs
In this article, you'll learn the basics about angioplasty for peripheral arterial disease of the legs, including how the procedure is done.
Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure to read the information that came with your medicine. If you have any questions...
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
What are the most important things you need to know about your medicines? Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure...
Ankle-Brachial Index Test
This test is done by measuring blood pressure at the ankle and in the arm while a person is at rest. Some people also do an exercise test. In this case, the blood pressure measurements are repeated at both sites after a few minutes of walking on a...
What are the most important things you need to know about your medicines? Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure...
What are the most important things you need to know about your medicines? Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure...
Discusses causes and symptoms of aneurysms that form in an artery called the aorta. Links to pictures of abdominal aneurysm and thoracic aneurysm. Covers treatment with medicines or surgery. Also looks at lifestyle changes that may help.
What is an aortic dissection? Aortic dissection occurs when a small tear develops in the wall of the aorta. The tear forms a new channel between the inner and outer layers of the aortic wall. This causes bleeding into the channel and can enlarge the tear. Aortic dissection is a life-threatening condition. Aortic...
Aortic Valve Regurgitation
Discusses aortic valve regurgitation. Discusses symptoms and how it is diagnosed. Covers treatment with medicines and aortic valve replacement surgery. Covers lifestyle changes to help the heart work better.
Aortic Valve Regurgitation: Deciding About Surgery
The major decision in treating aortic valve regurgitation is whether to have aortic valve replacement surgery and, if so, when to do it. Your doctor will check the severity of your condition. Your doctor will also check your overall health to see if surgery is too risky for you. Then you and your doctor will weigh...
Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery
Surgery to replace an aortic valve is done for aortic valve stenosis and aortic valve regurgitation. During this surgery, the damaged valve is removed and replaced with an artificial valve. The valve replacement is typically an open-heart surgery. A minimally invasive surgery or a catheter procedure to replace the...
Aortic Valve Stenosis
What is aortic valve stenosis? Aortic valve stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve. The aortic valve allows blood to flow from the heart's lower left chamber (ventricle) into the aorta and to the body. Stenosis prevents the valve from opening properly, forcing the heart to work harder to pump blood through the...
Aortobifemoral Bypass for Peripheral Arterial Disease
Aortobifemoral bypass surgery is used to bypass diseased large blood vessels in the abdomen and groin. To bypass a narrowed or blocked blood vessel, blood is redirected through a graft made of synthetic material (such as polytetrafluoroethylene...
Arrhythmia: Living With a Pacemaker
Learn how to adjust to life with a pacemaker and have an active, healthy life.
Arrhythmia: What Is an ICD?
Learn how an ICD works and how it can help your heart.
Arrhythmias and Sexual Activity
Is it safe for you to have sex? If you have an arrhythmia and your doctor says that it's okay for you to do moderate activity, like brisk walking, then it's probably safe for you to have sex. If you have any concerns, ask your doctor. Your doctor can check the health of your heart and help you know if it's safe...
Arterial Blood Gases
An arterial blood gas (ABG) test measures the acidity ( pH) and the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood from an artery. This test is used to check how well your lungs are able to move oxygen into the blood and remove carbon dioxide from the blood. As blood passes through your lungs, oxygen moves into...
Arturo's Story: Getting Support for Making a Change
The neighbors can set their clocks by Arturo and his wife, Rosa. Every morning at 6:30 a.m. and every evening at 6:30 p.m., they walk out their front door for their 30-minute walk. "It's kind of a neighborhood joke," Arturo, 58, says. "People...
Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST)
An aspartate aminotransferase (AST) test measures the amount of this enzyme in the blood. AST is normally found in red blood cells, liver, heart, muscle tissue, pancreas, and kidneys. AST formerly was called serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT). Low levels of AST are normally found in the blood. When body...
Aspirin to Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke
Discusses taking aspirin to prevent a first and second heart attack for people who have coronary artery disease. Covers aspirin therapy to help lower risk of a stroke. Discusses if aspirin therapy is for you. Looks at things to avoid while taking aspirin.
Aspirin: Should I Take Daily Aspirin to Prevent a Heart Attack or Stroke?
Guides people who have not had a heart attack or a stroke through decision to take daily aspirin. Discusses benefits and risks. Looks at who can take daily aspirin. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.
What is atherosclerosis? Atherosclerosis, sometimes called "hardening of the arteries," occurs when fat (cholesterol) and calcium build up inside the lining of the artery wall, forming a substance called plaque. Over time, the fat and calcium buildup narrows the artery and blocks blood flow through it...
Discusses atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). Covers causes, including high blood pressure and CAD. Discusses what increases your risk. Covers treatment with medicines, cardioversion, and catheter ablation.
Atrial Fibrillation and Daily Life
Most people with atrial fibrillation don't have to change their daily activities. You can live well and safely with atrial fibrillation. There are some precautions you can take to prevent problems from atrial fibrillation. For example, tell your...
Atrial Fibrillation: Feeling More in Control
Hear how atrial fibrillation affected three people's lives and how each one found a way to manage it.
Atrial Fibrillation: Living Well
Learn how to have a healthy, active lifestyle with atrial fibrillation.
Atrial Fibrillation: Managing Your Symptoms
Learn how to manage your symptoms and live better with a-fib.
Atrial Fibrillation: Should I Have Catheter Ablation?
Guides you through the decision to have catheter ablation for the heart rhythm problem atrial fibrillation. Lists benefits and risks of catheter ablation and medical therapy. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.
Atrial Fibrillation: Should I Take an Anticoagulant to Prevent Stroke?
Guides you through the decision to take an anticoagulant to prevent stroke. Explains atrial fibrillation and risk of stroke. Lists benefits and risks of anticoagulants. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.
Atrial Fibrillation: Should I Try Electrical Cardioversion?
Guides you through decision to have cardioversion for atrial fibrillation. Discusses electrical cardioversion and rate control drugs. Lists benefits and risks. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.
Atrial Fibrillation: Which Anticoagulant Should I Take to Prevent Stroke?
Guides you through the decision to take warfarin or a different anticoagulant (apixaban, dabigatran, edoxaban, or rivaroxaban) to prevent stroke. Explains atrial fibrillation and risk of stroke. Lists benefits and risks of anticoagulants.
Automated Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring
An ambulatory blood pressure monitor is a small device that you wear throughout the day, usually for 24 or 48 hours. The device takes your blood pressure automatically while you do your normal daily activities. The device periodically inflates and...
Avoiding Triggers for Sudden Heart Failure
Learn how to avoid things that could make your heart failure worse.
Balloon Valvotomy for Mitral Valve Stenosis
A balloon valvotomy is a treatment for mitral valve stenosis. It is a procedure that widens the mitral valve so that blood flows more easily through the heart. A balloon valvotomy is a minimally invasive procedure. A doctor uses a thin flexible tube...
Balloon Valvuloplasty for Aortic Valve Stenosis
Balloon valvuloplasty (also called valvulotomy or valvotomy) is a procedure that widens a heart valve that is narrowed. The cause of this narrowing in the aortic valve is aortic valve stenosis. During this procedure, the doctor puts a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into a blood vessel in your upper leg (groin)...
Bed Rest in Pregnancy
What is bed rest? Bed rest is limiting physical activity during your pregnancy. It can last a few weeks or even months. It may be at home or in the hospital. Your doctor may put you on partial bed rest or full bed rest. Partial bed rest usually means it's usually okay to sit, stand, or walk around for short...
Beta-Blockers After a Heart Attack
Learn how beta-blocker medicine helps your heart heal after a heart attack.
Beta-Blockers: Helping Your Heart Relax
Learn why you need to take your beta-blocker and how to make it easier to take.
What are the most important things you need to know about your medicines? Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure...
Blood Clots in the Leg Veins
Blood clots can happen in veins. A blood clot in a vein close to the skin isn't likely to cause problems. But having blood clots in deep veins is called deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis happens most often in the legs. This problem can lead...
Blood Pressure Numbers: When to Get Help
If you check your blood pressure, you may wonder when an abnormal reading means you should call your doctor. This information can help you understand what your blood pressure numbers mean and when you need to call for help. What do blood pressure numbers mean? Your blood pressure consists of two numbers...
Blood Pressure Screening
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for adults 18 and older for high blood pressure. Tests and programs for high blood pressure vary widely in reliability. Results from automated blood pressure testing, such as you might do at a grocery store or pharmacy, may not be accurate. Any...
Blood Thinners Other Than Warfarin: Taking Them Safely
Blood thinners are medicines that help prevent blood clots. Although they are called blood thinners, they don't really thin the blood. They slow down the time it takes for a blood clot to form. You have to be careful when you take blood thinner medicines. They can raise the risk of serious bleeding. But you can do...
Bradycardia (Slow Heart Rate)
Having bradycardia (say "bray-dee-KAR-dee-uh") means that your heart beats very slowly. For most people, a heart rate of 60 to 100 beats a minute while at rest is considered normal. If your heart beats less than 60 times a minute, it is slower than...
Brain Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) Test
Gives info on test for BNP hormone to tell how well the heart works. Tells how BNP checks for heart failure. Tells how to get ready for test. Includes what results mean. Also discusses things that affect test results, such as some health problems and medicines.
Bypass Surgery for Coronary Artery Disease
Learn what bypass surgery does for your heart and what will happen during surgery.
The American Heart Association recommends taking a class on how to give CPR and then use the chart below as a reference. What to do Recommendations for: Adults and older children who have reached puberty Young children until the age of puberty...
In cardiac arrest, the heart suddenly stops beating. This causes blood to stop pumping to the body. If the heartbeat is not restarted within minutes, the person will die. This problem is also called sudden cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is different...
Cardiac Blood Pool Scan
A cardiac blood pool scan shows how well your heart is pumping blood to the rest of your body. During this test, a small amount of a radioactive substance called a tracer is injected into a vein. A gamma camera detects the radioactive material as it flows through the heart and lungs. The percentage of blood pumped out...
Cardiac cachexia is unintentional severe weight loss caused by heart disease. The weight loss might be life-threatening. It can happen to people who have severe heart failure. Even with a very good appetite and high calorie intake, some people lose...
Discusses test used to check your heart and coronary arteries. Covers reasons cardiac catheterization is done. Looks at how to prepare. Explains how the test is done in the cardiac catheterization laboratory (cath lab) by a cardiologist. Covers risks.
Cardiac Device Monitoring
What is a cardiac device? Cardiac devices include pacemakers and ICDs (implantable cardioverter-defibrillators). Cardiac devices have very advanced features. Your doctor can program your device to work in different ways depending on your needs. What is monitoring? Doctors check, or monitor, cardiac...
Cardiac Enzyme Studies
Cardiac enzyme studies measure the levels of enzymes and proteins that are linked with injury of the heart muscle. The test checks for the proteins troponin I (TnI) and troponin T (TnT). The test might also check for an enzyme called creatine kinase (CK). Low levels of these proteins and enzymes are normally found in...
For the body to function properly, the heart needs to pump blood at a sufficient rate to maintain an adequate and continuous supply of oxygen and other nutrients to the brain and other vital organs. Cardiac output is the term that describes the...
Cardiac Perfusion Scan
A cardiac perfusion scan measures the amount of blood in your heart muscle at rest and during exercise. It is often done to find out what may be causing symptoms like angina (such as chest pain or pressure). It may be done after a heart attack to...
Cardiac Rehab: How It Can Help
Hear how cardiac rehab helped others have less fear and be more sure about how to live with a heart problem.
Cardiac Rehab: What Is It?
Learn how cardiac rehab works and how it can help you get stronger and feel better.
Discusses cardiac rehabilitation (rehab), which helps you feel better and reduce risk of future heart problems with exercise and lifestyle changes. Looks at rehab for people who have heart conditions such as heart attack, heart surgery, or heart failure.
Cardiac Rehabilitation Team
After you start a cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) program, you will work with many health professionals. Each will have a specific role in your rehab. While you are in rehab, make sure to stay in touch with your doctor or other health professionals...
Cardiac Rehabilitation: Emotional Health Benefits
Recovering from a heart problem means not only getting back your physical strength but also getting back your emotional and mental well-being. Having a positive outlook during your recovery and rehabilitation is necessary to help you recover...
Cardiac Rehabilitation: Exercise
Exercise is an important part of a cardiac rehabilitation program. Combining exercise with other lifestyle changes, such as eating a balanced diet and stopping smoking, reduces the risk of future heart problems. Riding a stationary bike, walking on...
Cardiac Rehabilitation: Home Program
Your cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) might include an exercise program that you do at home. You might start this program after you go home from the hospital. The home program is one part, or phase, of your cardiac rehab. The goals of a home program are to: Make a smooth transition from hospital to home. Take care of...
Cardiac Rehabilitation: Hospital Program
Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) may start while you are in the hospital. The hospital program is one part, or phase, of your cardiac rehab. This phase emphasizes exercise and education. The parts of a hospital program include: A customized exercise program, based on your medical history, clinical condition, and...
Cardiac Rehabilitation: Lifestyle Changes
A cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) program can help you make lifestyle changes. In cardiac rehabilitation (rehab), a team of health professionals provides education and support to help you make new, healthy habits. Quitting smoking is the best thing...
Cardiac Rehabilitation: Maintenance Program
Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) includes a phase that helps you keep the healthy behaviors and habits that you learned in rehab. This phase, or program, is often referred to as the maintenance part of rehab, because it can help you maintain healthy lifestyle changes. Your goals are to: Learn lifestyle changes to lower...
Cardiac Rehabilitation: Medicine and Exercise
If you are in a cardiac rehab program, you are probably taking medicines for your heart and for other health reasons. Some prescribed medicines can change your heart rate, blood pressure, and overall ability to exercise. It's important for your rehab team to know what medicines you take. Give your rehab team a list of...
Cardiac Rehabilitation: Monitoring Your Body's Response to Exercise
There are several ways to measure your body's responses to exercise and other lifestyle changes. You may want to keep track of the following measurements during your exercise sessions at cardiac rehab and at home. Target heart rate Your target heart rate can guide you to how hard you need to exercise so you can get...
Cardiac Rehabilitation: Outpatient Program
Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) typically includes an outpatient program. This program is one part, or phase, of your cardiac rehab. The goal is to lower your risk of future heart problems. You will take part in a supervised exercise program. You will receive information and tools to make lifestyle changes, such as...
Cardiac Rehabilitation: Weight and Resistance Training
Resistance training with weights, elastic bands, or your own body weight may help you regain the physical strength and confidence to do the daily tasks you performed before your heart problem or surgery. Resistance training can help you get the most benefit from your cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) program. Do...
Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the heart muscle and the way it pumps. There are different types of cardiomyopathies. And these types have different causes. Cardiomyopathy may occur as a result of damage to the heart, such as from a heart attack, or a person may inherit the tendency to develop it. What...
Cardiopulmonary Syndromes (PDQ®): Supportive care - Patient Information [NCI]
Cardiopulmonary syndromes are conditions of the heart and lung that may be caused by cancer or by other health problems. Five cardiopulmonary syndromes that may be caused by cancer are covered in this summary: Dyspnea (shortness of breath). Chronic cough. Malignant pleural effusion (extra fluid around the lungs caused...
Caring for Your Implanted Port
Learn what an implanted port is and how to care for it at home.
Caring for Your PICC or Central IV Line
Learn how to care for a central or PICC IV line at home.
Carotid Artery Disease
What is carotid artery disease? A carotid artery on each side of the neck supplies blood to the brain. Carotid artery disease occurs when a substance called plaque builds up in either or both arteries. The buildup can narrow the artery and reduce the blood flow to your brain. This can raise your chance of a stroke...
Carotid Artery Procedure: How Others Decided
Hear what other people thought about as they decided whether to have a procedure to help prevent a stroke.
Carotid Artery Stenting
Learn what carotid artery stenting is and how it is done.
Carotid Artery Stenting
Carotid artery stenting (CAS) is a procedure that can be used to open a narrowed carotid artery. It involves placing a small, expandable tube called a stent in the narrowed artery. This procedure is also called carotid angioplasty and stenting....
Learn what carotid endarterectomy is and how it is done.
Discusses carotid endarterectomy surgery to remove plaque buildup in the carotid arteries to prevent stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). Includes info on how surgery can help prevent future strokes. Looks at long-term aspirin treatment.
Catecholamines in Blood
A test for catecholamines measures the amount of the hormones epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the blood. These catecholamines are made by nerve tissue, the brain, and the adrenal glands. Catecholamines help the body respond to stress or...
Catecholamines in Urine
Catecholamines (say "kat-uh-KOH-luh-meens") are hormones made mostly by your adrenal glands as a reaction to stress. When you feel stressed, these hormones increase heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, muscle strength, and mental alertness. They also lower the amount of blood that goes to the skin and...
Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation
Discusses nonsurgical procedure, called catheter ablation, for atrial fibrillation if medicine is not effective or not tolerated. Also discusses implanting a pacemaker. Looks at why procedure is done, how well it works, and possible risks.
Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation
Learn what catheter ablation is and how it is done to treat atrial fibrillation.
Catheter Ablation for SVT
Learn about catheter ablation for supraventricular tachycardia and how it's done.
Catheter Ablation for a Fast Heart Rate
Covers procedure to destroy (ablate) tiny areas of heart muscle causing fast heart rate. Includes radiofrequency ablation and cryoablation. Covers use for supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia (AVRT), Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome, and ventricular tachycardia.
Central Venous Catheter: Changing the Dressing
These are general tips. Your nurse may change and care for your catheter at home. Or a nurse will teach you how to take care of your catheter. Be sure to follow the specific instructions he or she gives you. Call your doctor if you have questions or...
Central Venous Catheter: Flushing
These are general guidelines. Your nurse will teach you how to take care of your catheter. Be sure to follow the specific instructions he or she gives you. Call your doctor if you have questions or concerns. To keep your catheter working right, you will need to flush it with a heparin solution. A heparin solution is...
Central Venous Catheters
What is a central venous catheter? A central venous catheter, also called a central line, is a long, thin, flexible tube used to give medicines, fluids, nutrients, or blood products over a long period of time, usually several weeks or more. A catheter is often inserted in the arm or chest through the skin into a...
Change in Heartbeat
Your heart normally beats in a regular rhythm and rate that is just right for the work your body is doing at any moment. The usual resting heart rate for adults is between 50 to 100 beats per minute. Children have naturally higher normal heart rates...
Discusses possible causes of chest pain, which include angina, heart attack, pneumothorax, or chest wall pain. Covers heart attack symptoms. Includes interactive tool to decide when to seek care. Offers home treatment and prevention tips.
A chest X-ray is a picture of the chest that shows your heart, lungs, airway, blood vessels, and lymph nodes. A chest X-ray also shows the bones of your spine and chest, including your breastbone, your ribs, your collarbone, and the upper part of your spine. A chest X-ray is the most common imaging test or X-ray used to...
Chilblains (perniosis, also known as pernio) is a reaction to cold, nonfreezing temperatures. It is seen most often in young people who have Raynaud's phenomenon and people who are exposed to damp, cold weather. Symptoms develop 2 to 14 hours after...
Childhood Cardiac (Heart) Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]
Childhood cardiac tumors, which may be benign or malignant, form in the heart. Most tumors that form in the heart are benign (not cancer). Benign heart tumors that may appear in children include the following: Rhabdomyoma: A tumor that forms in muscle made up of long fibers. Myxoma: A tumor that may be part of an...
Cholesterol Numbers: What They Mean for Your Health
Learn what your cholesterol numbers mean for your health.
Cholesterol Test: Understanding the Test
Learn what is checked during a cholesterol test, why you might need one, and what the results may mean.
Cholesterol Treatment Guidelines
The goal in treating cholesterol is to lower your chance of having a heart attack or a stroke. The goal is not to lower your cholesterol numbers alone. The following guidelines are from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart...
Cholesterol and Triglycerides Tests
Covers cholesterol and triglyceride blood tests to measure fatty substances in the blood. Explains why tests are done and how to prepare. Includes possible results and what they may mean. Looks at what may affect test results.
Cholesterol and Triglycerides: Eating Fish and Fish Oil
Eating fish, at least 2 servings each week, is part of a heart-healthy diet. Fish oil supplements can lower triglycerides. But doctors do not agree about whether these supplements can help protect your heart. Fish and fish oil supplements do not...
Cholesterol in Children and Teens
A child may have a higher chance of having high cholesterol if he or she: Is overweight. Does not exercise much. Does not eat healthy foods. Has a family history of high cholesterol. Your child's doctor may suggest a cholesterol test based on your...
Cholesterol: Choosing a Heart-Healthy Life
Learn about making healthy changes that can help lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.
Cholesterol: How It Raises Your Risk
Learn how high cholesterol raises your risk for heart attack and stroke.
Classification of Heart Failure
The following is a classification for heart failure devised by the New York Heart Association (NYHA). It is important to be familiar with this classification, because it may be referred to during the course of your care. Class I People whose...
Cold Hands: Home Treatment
Try the following home treatment if your hands get cold easily and become pale, cool, and painful: Wear gloves to protect your hands from the cold. Wave your arms in a circular motion to force blood out into your hands. Blow warm air onto cold...
Compression Stockings for Varicose Veins
Compression stockings help relieve the symptoms of varicose veins. They improve circulation and are a mainstay of treatment for varicose veins that are causing symptoms. (Mild varicose veins that are not causing symptoms don't need treatment.)...
Compression Stockings: How to Use Them
Specially fitted compression stockings are tight at the feet with a gradually looser fit on the leg. Because there are different types, it's best to use the kind that your doctor recommends and that work best for you. Compression stockings: Help...
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan of the Body
A computed tomography (CT) scan uses X-rays to make detailed pictures of structures inside of the body. During the test, you will lie on a table that is attached to the CT scanner, which is a large doughnut-shaped machine. The CT scanner sends X-rays through the body area being studied. Each rotation of the scanner...
Computed Tomography Angiogram (CT Angiogram)
A computed tomography angiogram (CT angiogram) is a test that uses X-rays to provide detailed pictures of the heart and the blood vessels that go to the heart, lung, brain, kidneys, head, neck, legs, and arms. A CT angiogram can show narrowed or...
Congenital Heart Defect Types
There are many types of congenital heart defects. If the defect lowers the amount of oxygen in the body, it is called cyanotic. If the defect doesn't affect oxygen in the body, it is called acyanotic. What are cyanotic heart defects? Cyanotic heart...
Congenital Heart Defects in Adults
Adults with congenital heart defects can live long, full, and active lives. There are many things you can do to stay healthy and live well. These include having a heart-healthy lifestyle, preventing infections, and getting regular checkups. You...
Congenital Heart Defects in Children
Discusses problems with how a baby's heart forms. Also looks at problems found when a person is an adult. Includes info on patent ductus arteriosus, aortic valve stenosis, and coarctation of the aorta. Covers treatment with medicine and surgery.
Congenital Heart Defects: Caring for Your Child
Caring for a child with a congenital heart defect can be challenging. The following tips may help you care for your child so that he or she is as healthy and comfortable as possible. These tips may also help you cope with the difficulties that parents often experience. Caring for your child in the hospital...
Coronary Angiogram: How Others Decided
Hear what other people thought about as they decided whether to have a coronary angiogram.
Coronary Angiogram: Returning Home
Learn how you'll feel after an angiogram and how to take care of yourself at home.
Coronary Angiogram: What Is it?
Learn how and why an angiogram is done.
Coronary Arteries and Heart Function
The coronary arteries deliver blood to the heart muscle, providing a continuous supply of oxygen and nutrients needed for it to stay healthy and function normally. The coronary arteries regulate the supply of blood to your heart muscle depending on...
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: How It Is Done
During coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, your surgeon will use a healthy blood vessel from another part of your body to create an alternate route, or bypass, around narrowed or blocked sections of your coronary arteries. This bypass surgery allows more blood to reach your heart muscle. Your medical team...
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: How to Prepare
There are many things that you can and must do in the days and weeks before your coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for your CABG surgery. CABG surgery is an invasive...
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: Recovering in the Hospital
You will recover in the hospital after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery until your doctors feel it is safe for you to go home. During this time, staff on the cardiac recovery floor will help begin your rehabilitation and educate you on how to care for yourself when you return home. You must demonstrate that...
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: Self-Care for Recovery
What are your responsibilities during your recovery from bypass surgery? You have several responsibilities while you are recovering from coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery, including: Caring for your wounds. Taking your medicines. Monitoring your weight. Improving your heart and lung...
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: The Recovery Process
Each person's recovery from coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is a little different. Your road to recovery has many steps, including time in the hospital, time at home, and participation in a rehabilitation program. You will hear a common theme during your recovery: Everyone heals at a different pace...
Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery: What to Expect After You Go Home
Although you may return home a few days after the completion of your coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedure, it may take several months before you can return to all of the activities you enjoyed prior to surgery. Recovery from major surgery...
Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery
Covers types of coronary bypass surgeries, also called CABG. Includes minimally invasive surgeries. Links to slideshow of CABG. Looks at when surgery is done. Describes how surgery is done, recovery time, and risks.
Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery: Day One of Recovery
After your coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is finished, you will be transferred to a cardiac intensive care unit (CICU) or surgical ICU so that specially trained hospital staff can monitor your condition. The recovery process is...
Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery: Minimally Invasive Methods
Standard coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery works very well to improve blood flow to the heart. But the procedure is very invasive to your body for two major reasons. It involves making a large cut in your chest to expose your heart and...
Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery: When You Arrive at the Hospital
You will likely need to check into the hospital the night before or morning of your coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) procedure. You will take a shower with an antiseptic soap the night before surgery. You won't be allowed anything to eat or drink...
Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery: Your Medical Team
A team of surgeons, nurses, and other medical staff will participate in your coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Each team member has a specific set of responsibilities before, during, and after the surgery. CABG surgery is a complex...
Coronary Artery Disease
Includes causes and symptoms of heart disease. Looks at cholesterol, hypertension, and risk of heart attack. Covers diet, physical activity, and treatment with medicines, angioplasty, and bypass surgery. Includes how to help prevent heart disease.
Coronary Artery Disease and Alcohol
Low to moderate alcohol use (no more than 2 drinks a day for men, 1 drink a day for women) might lower the risk of coronary artery disease. If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. But if you do not drink alcohol, do not start drinking to try to lower your risk of heart disease. You have many other options that can...
Coronary Artery Disease and Depression
Learn how keeping your mood healthy can also help keep your heart healthy.
Coronary Artery Disease: Being Active
Learn how regular exercise can help your heart get stronger and healthier.
Coronary Artery Disease: Commit to Making an Exercise Plan
Picture an exercise plan you would enjoy, and commit to taking small steps to get there.
Coronary Artery Disease: Every Step Matters
Learn how heart disease affects you and how to help prevent a heart attack.
Coronary Artery Disease: Exercising for a Healthy Heart
Covers importance of exercising regularly when you have coronary artery disease. Guides you through steps of starting a complete exercise program that includes aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching. Explains how to set goals you can reach.
Coronary Artery Disease: Family History
People with one or more close relatives who have or had early coronary artery disease (CAD) are at an increased risk for CAD. For men, early CAD is being diagnosed before age 55. For women, early CAD is being diagnosed before 65. A...
Coronary Artery Disease: Getting Back on Track
See how to get back to taking care of your heart.
Coronary Artery Disease: Helping a Loved One
How can I help a loved one who has coronary artery disease? If you have a family member or other loved one who has coronary artery disease (CAD) or has just returned home from the hospital due to a complication of CAD, you may want to know what you can do to help. Your loved one may be able to do fewer normal...
Coronary Artery Disease: Making Peace With Medicines
Learn how others accept taking heart medicines as part of daily life.
Coronary Artery Disease: Moving Forward
See how a diagnosis of heart disease inspired others to care for their heart.
Coronary Artery Disease: Prevention Myths
There are lots of things you can do to lower your risk for coronary artery disease. But some diets and dietary supplements do not lower risk. It's not clear if vitamins, minerals, and multivitamins can lower risk. Talk with your doctor about the best ways to lower your risk of heart disease. By eating heart-healthy...
Coronary Artery Disease: Roles of Different Doctors
After a diagnosis of coronary artery disease (CAD), you should visit your primary care physician every few months. Your doctor can help track your condition and make sure that your treatment is going as planned. If you have complications or need...
Coronary Artery Disease: Should I Have Angioplasty for Stable Angina?
Have angioplasty for stable angina, along with taking medicines and making healthy lifestyle changes. Take medicines and make lifestyle changes to treat stable angina. This is called medical therapy. This decision aid is for people who have coronary artery disease and stable angina. This means that your angina...
Coronary Artery Disease: Should I Have Bypass Surgery?
Guides you through decision to have bypass surgery. Explains when bypass surgery might be needed. Covers other treatment options. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.
Coronary Artery Disease: Should I Have an Angiogram?
Guides you through the decision to have an angiogram. Explains why the test is done and what it can show. Discusses why you might or might not want to have the test. Lists risks and benefits. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.
Coronary Artery Disease: Women Are at Risk Too
Learn why it's important to know your risk for heart disease if you're a woman.
Coronary Artery Disease: Your Risk for Heart Attack
Learn how to lower your risk for heart attack.
Coronary Calcium Scan
Coronary calcium scans use a special X-ray test called computed tomography (CT) to check for the buildup of calcium in plaque on the walls of the arteries of the heart ( coronary arteries). This test is used to check for heart disease in an early stage and to determine how severe it is. Coronary calcium scans are also...
Coronary Calcium Scan: Should I Have This Test?
Guides you through the decision to have a coronary calcium scan. Explains why a coronary calcium scan is done and what it can show. Lists treatments that might come after a coronary calcium scan. Lists risks and benefits. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.
A creatine kinase (CK) test checks the level of the enzyme creatine kinase, which is found in heart tissue and skeletal muscles. This enzyme also can be found in smaller amounts in the brain. A blood test to check the level of CK can show if there...
DASH Diet Sample Menu
DASH is an eating plan that can help lower your blood pressure. DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. Hypertension is high blood pressure. For more information on the DASH diet, see High Blood Pressure: Using the DASH...
Deciding About Coronary Angiogram
Learn when having an angiogram is helpful and when it may not be needed.
Deciding About Taking Blood Pressure Medicine
Compare the pros and cons of taking medicine for your high blood pressure.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
What is deep vein thrombosis? Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot (thrombus) in a deep vein, usually in the legs. Clots can form in superficial veins and in deep veins. Blood clots with inflammation in superficial veins (called superficial thrombophlebitis or phlebitis) rarely cause serious problems. But clots...
Depression and Coronary Artery Disease
There is a link between depression and coronary artery disease. People with heart disease are more likely to get depression. And if a person has both depression and heart disease, they may not stay as healthy as possible. They are less likely to...
Diabetes and Your Heart
Learn why having diabetes raises your heart disease risk and what you can do about it.
Diabetes: Amputation for Foot Problems
Blood vessel and nerve damage linked with diabetes can lead to serious infections that are extremely hard to treat. Often the first place you have a problem is your feet. When you lose the ability to feel your toes and feet, you are more likely to...
What is dilated cardiomyopathy? Dilated cardiomyopathy is a serious condition that weakens your heart muscle and causes it to stretch, or dilate. When your heart muscle is weak, it can't pump out blood as well as it should, so more blood stays in your heart after each heartbeat. As more blood fills and stays in...
Diuretics and Potassium Supplements
Some diuretics can cause low levels of potassium. A delicate balance of potassium is needed to properly transmit electrical impulses in the heart. A low potassium level can disrupt the normal electrical impulses in the heart and lead to irregular...
Diuretics: Making Them Easier to Take
Find out how to make it easier to take your diuretic.
A Doppler ultrasound test uses reflected sound waves to see how blood flows through a blood vessel. It helps doctors assess the blood flow through major arteries and veins, such as those of the arms, legs, and neck. It can show blocked or reduced flow of blood through narrow areas in the major arteries of the neck. This...
Drug-eluting stents prevent a coronary artery from narrowing again after angioplasty. They are coated with medicine that prevents scar tissue from growing into the artery. Stents are small, expandable tubes that are inserted during angioplasty into a narrowed or blocked section of the coronary artery to open the...
An echocardiogram (also called an echo) is a type of ultrasound test that uses high-pitched sound waves that are sent through a device called a transducer. The device picks up echoes of the sound waves as they bounce off the different parts of your heart. These echoes are turned into moving pictures of your heart that...
Echocardiogram for Children
Learn what an echocardiogram for children is and how it's done.
Eclampsia (Seizures) and Preeclampsia
Eclampsia is pregnancy-related seizure activity that is caused by severe preeclampsia. Less than 1% of women who have preeclampsia experience seizures. Eclampsia is life-threatening for both a mother and her fetus. During a seizure, the...
Electrical Cardioversion (Defibrillation) for a Fast Heart Rate
Electrical cardioversion is a procedure in which a brief electric shock is given to the heart to reset the heart rhythm back to its normal, regular pattern (normal sinus rhythm). The shock is given through patches applied to the outside of the chest...
Electrical Cardioversion for Atrial Fibrillation
Discusses procedure that uses electric current to reset heart's rhythm to its regular pattern. Covers its use to stop atrial fibrillation. Discusses what to expect after treatment, how well it works, and risks.
Electrical System of the Heart
Your heart's electrical system controls the timing of your heartbeat by regulating your: Heart rate, which is the number of times your heart beats per minute. Heart rhythm, which is the synchronized pumping action of your four heart chambers. Your...
An electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) is a test that checks for problems with the electrical activity of your heart. An EKG shows the heart's electrical activity as line tracings on paper. The spikes and dips in the tracings are called waves. The heart...
Electrocardiogram (EKG) for Children
Learn what an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) for children is and how it's done.
An electrophysiology study, or EP study, is a test to see if there is a problem with your heartbeat (heart rhythm) and to find out how to fix it. In this test, the doctor inserts one or more flexible tubes, called catheters, into a vein, typically in the groin or neck. Then he or she threads these catheters into the...
Discusses infection of the heart's valves or inner lining (endocardium). Covers cause by bacteria (bacterial endocarditis) or fungi (fungal endocarditis). Looks at symptoms like fever. Covers treatment with medicines or possibly surgery.
Endovascular Repair for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Endovascular repair is a procedure to fix an aortic aneurysm in the abdomen. It's called endovascular because a doctor repairs the aneurysm from the inside of the damaged blood vessel (the aorta). This is not a surgery. This is a minimally invasive...
Enjoying Life When You Have Heart Failure
People who have heart failure can be active and enjoy life. Daily activities. If you have heart failure, you may find that your symptoms make it difficult to do things like cook, clean, bathe, or shop. You can deal with these limitations in various ways. For example, you can rearrange your kitchen to make...
Covers exercise stress test, also called treadmill test or exercise EKG. Explains why it's done, such as finding cause of angina symptoms and checking exercise tolerance after heart attack. Includes how it's done and how it feels. Includes risks.
Exercise Electrocardiogram (Stress Test)
See how a stress test works and how it's done.
Exercising to Prevent a Stroke
Exercise helps lower high blood pressure, which is an important risk factor for stroke. Exercise can help you control other things that put you at risk, such as obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes. It is important to exercise regularly. Do...
Fainting is a sudden, brief loss of consciousness. When people faint, or pass out, they usually fall down. After they are lying down, most people will recover quickly. The term doctors use for fainting is syncope (say "SING-kuh-pee"). Fainting one...
Familial Lipid Disorders
A familial lipid disorder is a condition that runs in families. It causes very high levels of cholesterol. This condition can cause a person to get coronary artery disease (CAD) while still young. Because familial lipid disorders are rare, your doctor may only suspect one if you have: Very high cholesterol...
Fast Heart Rate
A normal heart rate for a healthy adult is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Heart rates of more than 100 beats per minute (tachycardia) can be caused by: Exercise or stress. This fast heart rate usually returns to normal range (60 to 100 beats...
Femoral-Tibial Bypass Surgery for Peripheral Arterial Disease
Femoral-tibial bypass surgery (also known as infra-popliteal reconstruction) is used to bypass diseased blood vessels in the lower leg or foot. To bypass the narrowed or blocked blood vessel, blood is redirected through a healthy blood vessel that...
Femoropopliteal Bypass (Fem-Pop Bypass) for Peripheral Arterial Disease
Femoropopliteal (fem-pop) bypass surgery is used to bypass diseased blood vessels above or below the knee. To bypass the narrowed or blocked blood vessel, blood is redirected through either a healthy blood vessel that has been transplanted or a...
Genetic Test for Clopidogrel
Clopidogrel (Plavix) is a medicine to prevent blood clots, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. It may be prescribed after a heart attack, after angioplasty, and for people who have heart disease or peripheral arterial disease. Some people...
Getting Treatment Through a PICC or Central Line
Learn about different kinds of treatments given through a PICC or central venous line.
Giant Cell Arteritis
Covers symptoms of giant cell arteritis, which include vision problems and pain in the jaw. Covers how this condition is treated.
HELLP Syndrome and Preeclampsia
HELLP syndrome is a life-threatening liver disorder thought to be a type of severe preeclampsia. It is characterized by H emolysis (destruction of red blood cells), E levated L iver enzymes (which indicate liver damage), and L ow P latelet count. HELLP is usually related to preeclampsia. About 10% to 20% of women...
Learn how to do hands-only CPR.
Healthy Eating: Cutting Unhealthy Fats From Your Diet
Covers why you should cut unhealthy fats (saturated fats and trans fats) from your diet. Looks at healthy fats (polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat). Offers tips for making healthier choices. Links to in-depth info on healthy eating.
Healthy Eating: Eating Less Sodium
Tells how to limit sodium (salt) for better health. Gives tips on low-sodium diet and reading food labels. Includes tips for cooking with less sodium.
Heart Arrhythmias and Exercise
If you have an irregular heartbeat ( arrhythmia), ask your doctor what type and level of exercise is safe for you. Regular activity can help keep your heart and body healthy. The type and amount of exercise that is allowable will vary depending on the cause of your abnormal heart rhythm and whether you have other...
Heart Attack and Stroke Risk Screening
Your doctor may talk with you about your risk for heart and blood flow problems, including heart attack and stroke. You and your doctor can use your risk to decide whether you need to lower it and what treatment is best for you. What might you be at risk for? Your doctor is checking your risk of having a...
Heart Attack and Stroke in Women: Reducing Your Risk
Covers risk of heart disease and stroke in women. Lists things that increase risk. Lists prevention steps, such as diet, exercise, not smoking, managing cholesterol and blood pressure, and making decisions on birth control and hormone therapy.
Heart Attack and Unstable Angina
Covers causes of heart attack (myocardial infarction) and unstable angina. Discusses symptoms like chest pain or pressure. Explains MI and angina differences. Offers prevention tips. Covers diagnostic tests and treatment with medicines and surgery.
Heart Attack: How to Prevent Another One
After you've had a heart attack, you may be worried that you could have another one. That's easy to understand. But the good news is that there are things you can do to reduce your risk of having another heart attack. Taking medicine, doing cardiac rehabilitation, and making healthy lifestyle changes can help...
Heart block refers to an abnormality in the way electricity passes through the normal electrical pathways of the heart. The abnormality "blocks" the electrical impulse from continuing through the normal pathways and usually results in a slower heart rate. What causes heart block? Heart block can be caused...
Heart Catheterization for Congenital Heart Defects in Children
A heart catheterization is a procedure used for both diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart defects. As a test, this procedure allows doctors to see how blood flows through the heart chambers and arteries. As a treatment, the doctor can use special tools to fix a heart defect during this procedure. How is it...
Describes heart failure (congestive heart failure). Discusses common causes like hypertension and coronary artery disease. Has info on symptoms. Covers diagnostic tests and treatments. Discusses heart failure classification system and stages of CHF.
Heart Failure Complications
Even if you are treating your heart failure successfully, you may develop a complication that can be serious and life-threatening. It is important to identify complications of heart failure as soon as possible, because some can be extremely serious...
Heart Failure Daily Action Plan
Living with heart failure may not be easy. But there are things you can do to feel better, stay healthy longer, and avoid the hospital. Good self-care means doing certain things every day, like taking your medicine. It's also about checking for symptoms such as weight gain and swelling. Tracking your symptoms every day...
Heart Failure Stages
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have devised a classification system for heart failure. It categorizes heart failure based on how the disease progresses in most people. Under this system, heart failure is...
Heart Failure Symptoms
If you have heart failure, symptoms start to happen when your heart cannot pump enough blood to the rest of your body. Shortness of breath While shortness of breath is the most common symptom of heart failure, it may be difficult or impossible to distinguish it from shortness of breath caused by other health...
Heart Failure Types
Heart failure means that your heart muscle does not pump as much blood as your body needs. Failure doesn't mean that your heart has stopped. It means that your heart is not pumping as well as it should. There is more than one type of heart failure, so you might hear your doctor call it different names. The types are...
Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction (Diastolic Heart Failure)
Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) occurs when the lower left chamber (left ventricle) is not able to fill properly with blood during the diastolic (filling) phase. The amount of blood pumped out to the body is less than normal. It is also called diastolic heart failure. What does preserved...
Heart Failure With Reduced Ejection Fraction (Systolic Heart Failure)
Heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) happens when the left side of your heart doesn't pump blood out to the body as well as normal. It's sometimes called systolic heart failure. This is because your left ventricle doesn't squeeze forcefully enough during systole, which is the phase of your heartbeat...
Heart Failure and Sexual Activity
Sex is part of a healthy life and is part of your quality of life. Most people with heart failure can still have an active sex life. If you have mild heart failure, your doctor will likely say that sex is safe for your heart. If you have more severe heart failure, your doctor will likely check your health to make sure...
Heart Failure: Activity and Exercise
Tells how to exercise to improve health with congestive heart failure. Includes need for doctor's okay and exercise plan. Includes tips on physical activity like stretching, walking, swimming, lifting weights, yoga, and tai chi.
Heart Failure: Avoiding Colds and Flu
If you have heart failure, it is important that you do as much as possible to avoid catching colds, the flu, and other respiratory infections. Although these may be relatively minor illnesses in healthy people, they are more dangerous if you have heart failure, and you are at higher risk for dangerous complications...
Heart Failure: Avoiding Medicines That Make Symptoms Worse
If you have heart failure, you need to be extra careful with medicines. Some can make your heart failure worse. Other medicines may not mix well with your heart failure drugs. This Actionset will help you learn which medicines you may need to avoid and what questions to ask your doctor or pharmacist. Each time you...
Heart Failure: Avoiding Triggers for Sudden Heart Failure
Tells how to prevent sudden heart failure. Covers symptoms and lists triggers that lead to congestive heart failure: too much salt, too much exercise, and taking medicines wrong. Encourages staying with diet, medicine, and exercise plan.
Heart Failure: Being Active
Learn how exercise is good for your heart and how to be active and safe.
Heart Failure: Checking Your Weight
Discusses importance of tracking weight for those with heart failure. Offers links to info on watching fluid intake, activity and exercise, and eating less salt. Covers how to check your weight when you have heart failure.
Heart Failure: Checking Your Weight Daily
Understand how daily weight checks help you avoid heart failure emergencies.
Heart Failure: Compensation by the Heart and Body
Heart failure means that your heart muscle doesn't pump as much blood as your body needs. Because your heart cannot pump well, your heart and your body try to make up for it. This is called compensation. Your body has a remarkable ability to compensate for heart failure. The body may do such a good job that many...
Heart Failure: Daily Symptom Checks
Learn how to easily check your symptoms daily so you can stay healthy.
Heart Failure: Disease Management Programs
Many hospitals and insurers have developed disease management (DM) programs to educate people who have heart failure about their disease. Disease management includes a broad range of health services, such as home health care, visiting nurses, and rehabilitation. The goal of DM programs is to offer a combination of...
Heart Failure: Eating a Healthy Diet
Diet is critical in the treatment of heart failure. Limiting sodium is typically recommended to limit fluid build-up. But some other nutrients or substances also play a role as well. Heart failure can become more severe if diet and medicine...
Heart Failure: How Support Can Help
Learn how to reach out to friends and loved ones for support.
Heart Failure: Learn to Recognize Symptoms
Learn how checking your symptoms every day helps you manage your heart failure.
Heart Failure: Less Common Symptoms
While there are certain symptoms that people with heart failure experience more commonly, there are many other symptoms that heart failure can cause. These symptoms are typically less common because they often result from more severe heart failure, when the body can no longer compensate properly for the failing heart...
Heart Failure: Limiting Fluids
Learn tips for limiting fluids to prevent fluid buildup.
Heart Failure: Limiting Sodium
Learn why sodium is bad for heart failure and get tips for low-sodium meals.
Heart Failure: Medicines to Avoid
Learn which medicines could make your heart failure worse.
Heart Failure: Practice Tracking Sodium
Learn how to start tracking the sodium in all the foods and drinks you have each day.
Heart Failure: Self-Care
Learn why your daily care plan is so important for managing your heart failure.
Heart Failure: Should I Get a Pacemaker (Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy)?
Guides through decision to get a pacemaker for heart failure. Answers common questions about pacemakers, such as how they work and are placed. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you make your decision.
Heart Failure: Should I Get an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD)?
Guides you through decision to get an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). Gives information about ICDs and asks questions to help you learn if an ICD is right for you. Covers benefits and risks. Includes an interactive tool to help you decide.
Heart Failure: Small Steps to Self-Care
Learn how to take small steps toward long-term self-care for heart failure.
Heart Failure: Support After Your Hospital Stay
Learn about help you'll get to manage your heart failure at home.
Heart Failure: Symptom Record
Use this form to describe the severity of your heart failure symptoms and whether they get worse. Also, record any new symptoms that develop. Take this form with you when you visit your doctor. Describe severity of symptoms and when they started...
Heart Failure: Taking Medicines Properly
Explains how to take medicine for congestive heart failure. Suggests schedules, lists, and pill containers to remember when to take medicines. Covers need-to-know names of medicines and side effects. Also how to handle missed doses, need to avoid certain medicines.
Heart Failure: Taking Over-the-Counter Medicines Safely
Learn how to make a plan that helps you use medicines safely.
Heart Failure: Taking an ACE inhibitor or ARB
Learn from another person with heart failure about the importance of taking your ACE inhibitor/ARB.
Heart Failure: Tips for Caregivers
Talk with doctors, therapists, and counselors about how to help a friend or relative living with heart failure. Most people don't hesitate when they are called upon to help a loved one who is ill. But being a full-time caregiver may be an unfamiliar role for you. It is important to consider the long-term...
Heart Failure: Tips for Easier Breathing
If you are under a doctor's care for heart failure, the following tips may help you deal with fluid buildup that causes difficulty with breathing. Note: If your symptoms are severe enough to require these measures and you have not been diagnosed with heart failure, call your doctor first. Also, call your doctor...
Heart Failure: Track Your Symptoms
Learn to keep track of your symptoms to help manage your heart failure.
Heart Failure: Track Your Weight, Food, and Sodium
Use this form to record the sodium content of the foods you eat or drink each day. This record will help you see whether you are getting too much sodium in your diet. Use the Nutrition Facts on food labels to help find how much sodium you eat. You...
Heart Failure: Watching Your Fluids
Discusses need to watch fluid intake with congestive heart failure. Gives tips on spacing fluids throughout day and how to easily keep track of fluid intake. Also mentions diuretic medicines to remove excess fluid from body.
Heart Failure: When to Act on Your Symptoms
Learn how to be sure when changes in your symptoms mean you should get help.
Heart Failure: When to Call for Help
Learn why you need a written plan to know when heart failure symptoms are an emergency.
Heart Failure: Your Reason to Be Active
Find what motivates you to add a little activity to your life and benefit your heart.
Heart Health: Finding Support for Healthy Changes
Hear how one woman found the support she needed to make heart-healthy choices.
Heart Health: Walking for a Healthy Heart
Covers walking as one of the easiest ways to increase your physical activity and improve your health. Explains what you need to know before starting a walking program. Includes how to stay motivated.
Heart Health: Where Will You Be in 5 Years?
Hear what motivated other people to make changes to keep their heart healthy.
Discusses heart murmur, an extra sound the blood makes as it flows through the heart. Covers harmless (innocent) murmurs and abnormal murmurs. Includes info on heart valve damage. Discusses tests by a cardiologist including electrocardiogram (ECG).
Heart Rate Problems: Should I Get a Pacemaker?
Topic guides reader through decision to get a pacemaker for heart rate problems. Provides general overview of what pacemakers are and what heart problems can be helped with pacemakers. Lists benefits and possible complications of getting a pacemaker.
Heart Rhythm Problems and Driving
If you have an arrhythmia or an ICD that makes it dangerous for you to drive, your doctor might suggest that you stop driving, at least for a short time. If you have an arrhythmia that doesn't cause significant symptoms, you don't have to stop or...
Heart Rhythm Problems: Diary of Symptoms
If your doctor thinks you might have a heart rhythm problem, he or she may ask you to keep a diary of symptoms. This information can help your doctor find out what type of rhythm problem you have. And if you have a rhythm problem, a symptom diary...
Heart Rhythm Problems: Should I Get an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD)?
Topic guides reader through decision to get an ICD for heart rhythm problems. Provides general overview of what ICDs are and what heart rhythm problems can be helped with ICDs. Lists benefits and possible complications of getting an ICD.
Heart Rhythm Problems: Symptoms
Heart rhythm problems, called arrhythmias, can cause a few types of symptoms. These symptoms happen because the heart isn't beating regularly or may not be pumping blood as well as normal. Some of these symptoms include palpitations,...
Heart Tests: When Do You Need Them?
Heart tests can help your doctor find out if you are at risk for a heart problem, if you have a heart problem, and what treatment you need. There are many heart tests. Most are noninvasive, which means that your doctor does not insert a device into your body for the test. Many of the tests provide still or moving...
A heart transplant is a procedure in which a surgeon removes a diseased heart and replaces it with a donor heart. During a heart transplant, a mechanical pump circulates blood through the body while the surgeon removes the diseased heart and...
Heart Valve Disease
What is heart valve disease? Heart valve disease is the term used for a number of conditions that affect the four valves of the heart. A heart valve disease happens when any of the heart's valves either cannot open well enough to let blood flow through (stenosis) or cannot close well enough to prevent backflow...
Heart Valve Problems: Should I Choose a Mechanical Valve or Tissue Valve to Replace My Heart Valve?
Guides you through decision about choosing new valve to replace your heart valve if you have aortic valve problems or mitral valve problems. Compares benefits and risks of mechanical valves versus tissue valves. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.
Heart Valve Replacement Surgery
Learn how surgery is done to replace a faulty heart valve.
Heart and Circulation
Provides link to info on high cholesterol and cholesterol/triglyceride tests. Also has links to info on coronary artery disease and peripheral arterial disease of the legs, plus tools to decide about treatment options.
Learn how to start eating foods that are good for your heart.
A heart-healthy eating plan is full of foods that can lower your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. This plan can help you stay at a healthy weight and manage cholesterol and blood pressure. It is part of a heart-healthy lifestyle that...
Heart-Healthy Eating: Fish
As part of a healthy diet, eat at least two servings of fish each week. Oily fish, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, are best. These fish include salmon, mackerel, lake trout, herring, and sardines. Fish is an important part of a heart-healthy...
You can help keep your heart and blood vessels healthy by taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle. These healthy habits include not smoking, eating right, exercising regularly, staying at a healthy weight, and getting the screening tests you need....
Helping a Loved One After Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery
People in recovery from coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery may need assistance from family members and friends in a variety of ways. You may help your loved one for several weeks during recovery with a number of tasks, including shopping,...
A hemorrhagic stroke develops when a blood vessel (artery) in the brain leaks or bursts (ruptures). This causes bleeding: Inside the brain tissue (intracerebral hemorrhage). Near the surface of the brain (subarachnoid hemorrhage or subdural...
High Blood Pressure
Covers causes and symptoms of high blood pressure. Explains systolic and diastolic pressure numbers. Looks at treatment and prevention steps. Includes risks of untreated high blood pressure such as heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure.
High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
Learn what it means for you and your baby when you're pregnant and have high blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy
This topic is about high blood pressure that some women get while they are pregnant. For information about preeclampsia, a more serious kind of high blood pressure, see the topic Preeclampsia. It's normal for blood pressure to go up and down...
High Blood Pressure: Checking Your Blood Pressure at Home
Explains why you should monitor your blood pressure at home and how it helps you be more in control of your own health care. Includes steps on how to take your blood pressure at home. Covers systolic and diastolic pressure measurements.
High Blood Pressure: Make the Most of Home Monitoring
Learn how using a home blood pressure monitor can give you better control of your health.
High Blood Pressure: Nutrition Tips
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet can help you lower your blood pressure. It includes eating fruits, vegetables, and low-fat or nonfat dairy foods. For more information on the DASH diet, see: High Blood Pressure: Using the DASH...
High Blood Pressure: Over-the-Counter Medicines to Avoid
Some over-the-counter (OTC) medicines can raise your blood pressure or keep your blood pressure medicine from working the way it should. So if you have high blood pressure or other heart or blood vessel problems, you need to be careful with OTC...
High Blood Pressure: Should I Take Medicine?
Guides you through the decision to take or not take medicine to treat high blood pressure. Explains what high blood pressure is and risks of not lowering it. Covers treatment choices and lifestyle changes.
High Blood Pressure: Taking Medicines Properly
Covers importance of taking the right dose of the right high blood pressure medicines at the right time. Explains how medicines control high blood pressure. Includes working with your doctor to make a plan for taking your medicines.
High Blood Pressure: The DASH Diet
Learn how the DASH eating plan can help lower your blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure: Using the DASH Diet
Provides tips on adding DASH diet to stop high blood pressure. Includes sample DASH menu. Explains why adding more fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products helps lower high blood pressure. Includes working with experts to help plan menus.
Covers the kinds of cholesterol. Explains that cholesterol is one of many risk factors for heart attack and stroke. Covers treatment to lower risk of heart attack and stroke that includes healthy habits and statins.
High Cholesterol: How a Dietitian Can Help
Millions of people struggle to lose weight and improve their diets. Finding a diet that works for you and then staying with it can be a huge challenge. Registered dietitians are experts in diet and nutrition, particularly for promoting general...
High Cholesterol: Making Lifestyle Changes
High cholesterol is treated with heart-healthy lifestyle changes and medicine. These can lower your cholesterol and your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. You and your doctor may decide to first try treating your high cholesterol without medicine. Changing some of your habits may be all you need to do to...
What are triglycerides? Triglycerides are a type of fat found in your blood. Your body uses them for energy. You need some triglycerides for good health. But high triglycerides might raise your risk of heart disease and may be a sign of metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is the combination of high blood...
High-Output Heart Failure
High-output heart failure happens when the body's need for blood is unusually high, so heart failure symptoms happen even though the heart is working well. This type of heart failure happens to a very small number of people with heart failure....
High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein
The high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) test is a blood test that finds lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). This protein measures general levels of inflammation in your body. The hs-CRP can be used to find the risk for heart disease...
Home Blood Pressure Log
Date Time (a.m.) Blood pressure Time (p.m.) Blood pressure Comments Sample: 8/6 8:15 138/87 6:20 142/92 Stressful day at work Current as of: December 15, 2019 Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineMartin...
Home Blood Pressure Test
Using a home blood pressure monitor lets you keep track of your blood pressure at home. Blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it moves through your body. Your blood pressure is recorded as two numbers. The first number shows how hard the blood pushes...
How Plaque Increases the Risk of a Heart Attack
Learn how plaque in blood vessels can become a problem and cause a heart attack.
How a Heart Attack Happens
Get a clear, simple explanation of what happens during a heart attack.
How the Heart Works
The heart is at the center of your circulatory system, which is a network of blood vessels that delivers blood to every part of your body. Blood carries oxygen and other important nutrients that all body organs need to stay healthy and to work properly. Your heart is a muscle, and its job is to pump blood throughout...
How to Find Sodium
Almost all foods contain sodium, or salt, naturally or as an ingredient. But you don't always know it's there, or how much is there. Here are some tips to help you find sodium. Know what "low sodium'' means Labels on foods often claim that the food is "low-sodium" or something similar. Learn what these...
How to Give a Heparin Shot
Learn why heparin is given, and see how to give a heparin shot.
How to Prevent a Second Heart Attack
Learn how medicines and a healthy lifestyle help protect you from another heart attack.
How to Put on Compression Stockings
Learn some tips that will help you put on your compression stockings.
A hypertensive emergency is very high blood pressure that damages the body. It can cause damage to the brain, heart, eyes, or kidneys. A hypertensive emergency needs immediate care. Symptoms include numbness, blurry vision, chest pain, severe headache, and confusion. This problem is also called malignant...
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (say "hy-per-TROH-fik kar-dee-oh-my-AWP-uh-thee") happens when the heart muscle grows too thick, so the heart gets bigger and its chambers get smaller. Many people have no symptoms and live a normal life with few...
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Types
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a genetic disease in which the heart muscle grows abnormally, making the heart muscle thicken. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is described as either obstructive or nonobstructive. Nonobstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The heart muscle is abnormally thick but not to...
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: Risk of Sudden Death
Some people who have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are at high risk for sudden death. It can occur at any age, but it is most shocking when it happens to young adults or athletes. While the media often highlight these tragic deaths, sudden death is...
Hypothermia and Cold Temperature Exposure
What is hypothermia? Hypothermia occurs when the body gets cold and loses heat faster than the body can make it. A rectal temperature is considered the most accurate body temperature. A normal rectal body temperature ranges from 97.5 F (36.4 C) to 99.6 F (37.6 C), and for most people it is 98.6 F (37 C). For...
ICD: Living Well With It
Discusses how to live with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), a device that helps control heart rhythm. Gives safety guidelines and tips for travel, exercise, and managing anxiety.
Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD)
An implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) is a battery-powered device that can fix an abnormal heart rate or rhythm and prevent sudden death. The ICD is placed under the skin of the chest. It's attached to one or two wires (called leads). Most...
Learn how to do infant CPR in 3 minutes—just in case.
Interactive Tool: What Is Your Target Heart Rate?
Helps you calculate your target heart rate based on your age, resting heart rate, and activity level. Covers using your target heart rate to know how hard to exercise to gain the most aerobic benefit from your workout.
These Interactive Tools are easy-to-use personal calculators. Use any of them to start learning more about your health. Do Your BMI and Waist Size Increase Your Health Risks? How Bad Are Your Urinary Symptoms From Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?...
Intermittent claudication is a symptom of peripheral arterial disease. Intermittent claudication is a tight, aching, or squeezing pain in the calf, foot, thigh, or buttock that occurs during exercise, such as walking up a steep hill or a flight of...
Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump
An intra-aortic balloon pump (IABP) is a mechanical device that helps the heart pump blood. This device is inserted into the aorta, the body's largest artery. It is a long, thin tube called a catheter with a balloon on the end of it. If you are...
Is It a Heart Attack?
Hear a story about how heart attacks may feel different than you expect.
Ischemia is the medical term for what happens when your heart muscle doesn't get enough oxygen. Ischemia usually happens because of a shortage of blood and oxygen to the heart muscle. It is usually caused by a narrowing or blockage of one or more of...
Isolated Systolic High Blood Pressure
In isolated systolic high blood pressure (isolated systolic hypertension, or ISH), systolic blood pressure is elevated, but diastolic blood pressure is normal. This type of high blood pressure is more common in older adults, especially older women....
Izzy's Story: Living With the DASH Diet
"I'm a believer!" That's the proclamation from Izzy, a 60-year-old clerk from Petaluma, Calif. She's talking about a way of eating that helped her lose weight and brought her blood pressure way down. "If there were a commercial for the DASH diet,...
Joan's Story: Coping With Depression and Anxiety From Heart Failure
Joan figured she would need months to recover physically from the heart attack 2 years ago that led to her heart failure. She didn't realize she would need just as much time to recover emotionally. "I was only 52 when I had the heart attack," she says. "Heart disease runs in my family, but I thought I'd been taking...
Joe's Story: Changing My Lifestyle
When Joe turned 60 last year, he decided he was overdue for a good, old-fashioned physical. He had always been blessed with good health, but he knew that at his age he should be having regular checkups, especially since he was overweight. His doctor...
What is Kawasaki disease? Kawasaki disease is a rare childhood illness that affects the blood vessels. The symptoms can be severe for several days and can look scary to parents. But then most children return to normal activities. Kawasaki disease can harm the coronary arteries, which carry blood to the heart...
Laser Treatment for Varicose Veins
Discusses treating varicose and spider veins with a laser. Covers simple and endovenous laser treatment. Looks at sclerotherapy. Discusses why laser treatment is done and what to expect after treatment. Covers how well it works and possible side effects.
Learning About Risk for Heart Attack and Stroke
Learn what raises your risk for having a heart attack or stroke and how you can lower your risk.
Learning About Your CT Scan
Learn what to expect when you get a CT scan.
Learning About Your MRI Test
Learn what to expect when you get an MRI.
Left Ventricular Hypertrophy (LVH)
What is left ventricular hypertrophy? Left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) means that the muscle of the heart's main pump (left ventricle) has become thick and enlarged. This can happen over time if the left ventricle has to work too hard. This part of the heart needs to be strong to pump oxygen-rich blood to your...
The decision to have a limb amputated is difficult for the person and his or her doctor. Many times, extensive measures have been tried to save the limb. The major causes of amputation are diabetes and/or peripheral arterial disease that results in...
What is a leg aneurysm? A leg aneurysm (say "ANN-yuh-riz-um") is a bulge in a blood vessel (artery) in your leg. The bulge occurs in a weak spot in the artery. It can happen in one or both legs. Blood clots can form in this type of aneurysm and can block blood flow in your leg. What raises your risk...
Leg Problems, Noninjury
Helps you check symptoms of leg problems not caused by injury. Covers symptoms like pain, swelling, cramps, numbness, tingling, weakness, and lumps and bumps under the skin. Includes pictures of bones of lower leg, thigh, and muscles and tendons.
Leriche's syndrome is the term used for a group of symptoms that are caused by a certain type of peripheral arterial disease of the legs. In Leriche's syndrome, blood flow in the aorta is blocked in the stomach area. This blocks blood flow to the...
Linda's Story: Quitting Smoking Lowers My Risk
Linda's best friend had just had a heart attack. Linda, 56, and Terri, 52, work together in the records section of their city's police department. They had also been working on getting healthier together. They both had high cholesterol and were...
Briefly discusses lipid panel, a blood test that measures cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels. Covers why a lipid panel might be ordered. Also covers how to prepare for test.
Living With More Than One Health Problem
Many people have more than one long-term (chronic) health problem. You may be one of them. For example, you may have high blood pressure and diabetes, or you may have high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart failure. When you have more than one problem, doctors call the health problems comorbidities. One health problem...
Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)
Low blood pressure means that your blood pressure is lower than normal. Another name for low blood pressure is hypotension (say "hy-poh-TEN-shun"). In most healthy adults, low blood pressure does not cause problems or symptoms. In fact, it may be...
Low-Dose Aspirin to Prevent a Heart Attack
See why your doctor prescribed low-dose aspirin for your heart.
Low-Salt Diets: Eating Out
Looks at how you can control how much salt (sodium) you eat when you eat out. Explains what salt does to your body. Lists foods to avoid and foods that are heart-healthy. Offers tips for choosing low-sodium foods at restaurants.
Discusses Lyme disease, an infection spread by ticks. Includes info on deer ticks. Covers symptoms and Lyme disease tests. Covers treatment with antibiotics. Includes info on complications from not treating Lyme disease. Offers prevention tips.
Lyme Disease Test
Discusses antibody test used to detect Lyme disease. Covers two types of test (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blot test). Covers why and how they are done. Includes info on what results mean.
Magnetic Resonance Angiogram (MRA)
A magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) is a type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to provide pictures of blood vessels inside the body. In many cases MRA can provide information that...
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Discusses test (also called MRI scan) that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make pictures of organs and structures inside the body. Covers why it is done, how to prepare, and how it is done.
Manage Stress for Your Heart
Why is it important to manage stress? Stress is the way we all react to change. It includes our mental, emotional, and physical responses to the pressures of everyday life. Because change is a natural and normal part of life, everyone has some stress. But stress can be bad for your heart. If you have heart...
Maze Procedure for Atrial Fibrillation
Discusses surgical treatment to control irregular heartbeat and restore normal rhythm of heart. Looks at what to expect after surgery such as taking medicine such as Coumadin. Covers risks.
Medicine for High Blood Pressure
Learn how medicine can help lower your blood pressure.
Medicines That Can Cause Changes in Heart Rate or Rhythm
Many medicines and drugs can affect the rate and rhythm of the heart. A few examples are: Asthma medicines. Decongestants and cold medicines. Illegal drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines. Some heart and blood pressure medicines. Some medicines for...
Medicines That Increase the Chance for a Heat-Related Illness
Many medicines change how well your body can stay cool. They include: Some antidepressants. Antihistamines. Some blood pressure medicines. Some sedative medicines. Thyroid medicine. Alcohol and illegal drugs such as methamphetamines, amphetamines,...
Medicines to Prevent Abnormal Heart Rhythm in Heart Failure
One of the most frightening aspects about having heart failure is that it can lead to premature death. The increased death rate among people with heart failure is in part caused by the tendency of those with heart failure to develop abnormal heart...
What is the Mediterranean diet? The Mediterranean diet is a way of eating rather than a formal diet plan. It features foods eaten in Greece, Spain, southern Italy and France, and other countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating foods like fish, fruits, vegetables...
Discusses metabolic syndrome, a group of health problems that increase risk for diabetes and heart disease (coronary artery disease). Covers risk factors like obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Covers diet and exercise to improve health.
Mitral Valve Prolapse
Your mitral valve controls blood flow on the left side of your heart. The valve opens and closes with each heartbeat. It works like a one-way gate, letting blood flow from your upper heart chamber to your lower chamber. When you have mitral valve...
Mitral Valve Regurgitation
What is mitral valve regurgitation? Mitral valve regurgitation means that one of the valves in your heart—the mitral valve—is letting blood leak backward into the upper area of the heart. Heart valves work like one-way gates, helping blood flow in one direction between heart chambers or in and out of the heart. The...
Mitral Valve Regurgitation: Repair or Replace the Valve?
To treat mitral valve regurgitation surgically, the options are to repair or replace the mitral valve. Repair of the heart valve may be recommended if it is likely that the valve can be repaired and that the repair will last a long time. Valve...
Mitral Valve Repair Surgery (Commissurotomy) for Mitral Valve Stenosis
Commissurotomy is an open-heart surgery that repairs a mitral valve that is narrowed from mitral valve stenosis. During this surgery, a person is put on a heart-lung bypass machine. The surgeon removes calcium deposits and other scar tissue from the valve leaflets. The surgeon may cut parts of the valve structure. This...
Mitral Valve Replacement Surgery
Mitral valve replacement surgery may be needed for mitral valve regurgitation or mitral valve stenosis. Valve replacement is typically done as an open-heart surgery. Minimally invasive types of surgery may be another option. This document describes...
Mitral Valve Stenosis
What is mitral valve stenosis? Mitral valve stenosis is a heart problem in which the mitral valve doesn't open as wide as it should. The valve becomes stiff or scarred, or the valve flaps become partially joined together. See a picture of mitral valve stenosis. Mitral valve stenosis can lead to heart failure; a...
Mitral Valve Stenosis: Repair or Replacement?
If you have mitral valve stenosis and you need surgery to treat it, you have a choice of repairing the valve or replacing it. Many things play a role in this decision. These things include whether you have symptoms or other health problems (or...
Modify Recipes for a Heart-Healthy Diet
You don't have to abandon all your favorite recipes to eat healthier. Several small changes to your current recipes can often greatly lower the saturated fat and sodium in your diet. These small changes can make a big difference in the amount of fat...
Monitoring During Anesthesia
People receiving anesthesia must be carefully watched, because the medicines used for anesthesia affect the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system (airway and lungs). Anesthesia suppresses many of the body's normal...
Monitoring and Medicines for Heart Failure
Heart failure is most often a lifelong illness that will require frequent changes in your medicine schedule and regular follow-up with your doctor. Over the years, many things will affect the course of your disease, including other illnesses that you develop, your age, your diet, your ability to tolerate and comply...
Myoglobin is a protein found in heart tissue and other muscles. It is released into the blood after damage to the heart or other muscles. Damage can occur from a serious event such as a heart attack or a burn. Myoglobin can be checked with a blood test or a urine test. Levels in the blood will increase within about 3...
Myxoma Tumors of the Heart
Myxomas are tumors of connective tissue. They can occur almost anywhere in the body, including the heart. Treatment for a myxoma in the heart depends on many things. These include where the tumor is and if it is blocking blood flow. If the tumor is...
Open Repair Surgery for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Open surgery is done to repair an abdominal aortic aneurysm. It is called an open surgery because the abdomen is opened so the doctor can see and work on the aorta. Open surgery is the traditional method of repair. To repair the aneurysm, a doctor...
Open-Heart Surgery: Returning Home
Learn how to take care of yourself and what activities to avoid after open-heart surgery.
Answers questions about organ transplants. Covers becoming an organ donor and getting on a waiting list. Covers tests used to see if you'd be a good candidate. Looks at medicines that you might take after a transplant. Offers tips for staying healthy.
Oxygen Therapy: Using Oxygen at Home
If you need oxygen at home, it is important to learn how to use and take care of your equipment. This information will help you get the most from your oxygen treatment. If you have low blood oxygen levels, breathing extra oxygen can help you feel better and lead to a longer, more active life. You can travel even...
See what you can expect and how to prepare for getting a pacemaker.
Pacemaker Placement: Returning Home
See some tips for taking care of yourself after your procedure.
Pacemaker for Bradycardia
Discusses pacemakers used to treat bradycardia. Discusses various types of pacemakers. Covers how they work and how well they work, risks, and possible side effects.
Pacemaker for Heart Failure (Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy)
Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) uses a special type of pacemaker called a biventricular pacemaker (say "by-ven-TRICK-yuh-ler") to treat heart failure. This pacemaker sends electrical pulses to make the ventricles pump at the same time. A biventricular pacemaker is implanted in the chest, and it connects to...
Pacemaker: Living Well With It
Discusses pacemakers to control heart rhythm. Gives information on safety guidelines and tips for exercise and travel.
People Who Need Antibiotics to Prevent Endocarditis
If you have a normal heart, you have a low risk for endocarditis. But if you have a problem with your heart that affects normal blood flow through the heart, it is more likely that bacteria or fungi will attach to heart tissue. This puts you at a...
Pericardial drainage (pericardiocentesis) is done to find the cause of fluid buildup around the heart and to relieve pressure on the heart. The tissue sac that surrounds the heart is called the pericardium. It protects the heart and parts of the major blood vessels connected to the heart. Normally, there is a small...
Pericarditis is swelling and irritation of the pericardium, which is the sac that surrounds your heart. Pericarditis usually doesn't cause serious problems. Most people get better in 7 to 10 days. When there are problems, they may include: A buildup...
Peripheral Arterial Disease and Exercise
Being active is part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. It can also help you keep peripheral arterial disease (PAD) from getting worse. Regular exercise can help you manage high blood pressure and cholesterol, which can help control PAD and reduce your...
Peripheral Arterial Disease of the Legs
Discusses peripheral arterial disease, a narrowing or blockage of arteries that results in poor blood flow to your arms and legs. Discusses causes and symptoms. Covers treatment with lifestyle changes, medicines, or surgery. Also offers prevention tips.
Peripheral Arterial Disease: Pulse and Blood Pressure Measurement
Pulse and blood pressure measurements taken in different areas of the body help diagnose peripheral arterial disease. In the legs, doctors will commonly feel for pulses in the femoral (groin), popliteal (back of the knee), posterior tibial (ankle),...
Peripheral Arterial Disease: Should I Have Surgery?
Guides you through the decision to have surgery for peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Covers what PAD is and how it is treated. Covers risks. Lists reasons for and against having surgery. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.
Physical Activity Helps Prevent a Heart Attack and Stroke
Physical activity is one of the best things you can do to help prevent a heart attack and stroke. Being active is one part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy foods, not smoking, and staying at a healthy weight are other ways you can be...
Discusses exercise, manual therapy, and education for chronic conditions like COPD or arthritis. Covers goals that include increasing flexibility, strength, and endurance. Covers what to expect.
Covers symptoms of polymyalgia rheumatica, which include muscle pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulders. Covers how this condition is treated.
Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
Positron emission tomography (PET) is a test that uses a special type of camera and a tracer (radioactive substance) to look at organs in the body. The tracer usually is a special form of a substance (such as glucose) that collects in cells that are...
Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) is a complication of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or deep vein blood clot. After a while, this blood clot (usually in your leg), can damage the vein. Damage to the vein can lead to more pressure in the veins. The...
Many people do not feel well after surgery. Pain, nausea, and a lack of energy may occur even after a minor surgery. Usually, getting some rest and following the instructions your surgeon gave you will help postoperative problems diminish over time. Different types of surgery require different home care instructions...
Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS)
POTS is a fast heart rate (tachycardia) that starts after you stand up. This can suddenly happen as long as 10 minutes after you stand. With POTS, the body does not control blood pressure or heart rate as it should after you stand up. So for a brief...
Covers causes and symptoms of preeclampsia. Includes regular checkups with your doctor. Looks at prevention and treatment with close monitoring and possibly blood pressure medicine.
Pregnancy: Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen veins that are caused by faulty valves in the veins or weak vein walls. They are common during pregnancy, particularly in women with a family history of the problem. Varicose veins typically develop on the legs...
Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs)
Describes early heartbeats that happen when the ventricles beat too soon. Describes symptoms and when to call a doctor. Explains that in most cases the early heartbeats are not serious and go away on their own.
A pressure injury on the skin is caused by constant pressure to that area. This often occurs when a person lies in bed or sits in a chair for a long time. Pressure reduces blood supply to the skin. Over time, this can cause the skin to break down...
Pressure Injuries From Scuba Diving
What are pressure injuries from scuba diving? Scuba diving can expose you to high waves and dangerous sea life. But the more likely dangers are those you can't see. You can be injured if your body isn't able to adjust to the increasing and decreasing pressure of the water as you breathe compressed air. Pressure...
Pressure Injuries: Prevention and Treatment
Relieve pressure on the skin Relieving and spreading out pressure is the most important part of both preventing and treating pressure injuries. Putting pressure on one spot for long periods of time decreases blood flow to that area. This damages or...
Pressure Injuries: Stages
Pressure injuries are described in four stages. Stage 1 sores are not open wounds. The skin may be painful, but it has no breaks or tears. The skin appears reddened and does not blanch (lose color briefly when you press your finger on it then remove your finger). In a dark-skinned person, the area...
Preventing Blood Clots in Leg Veins
Learn how to prevent blood clots in leg veins when you must sit or lie down for long periods of time.
Preventing Coronary Artery Disease
Learn how a heart-healthy lifestyle can lower your risk for heart disease.
Preventing Coronary Artery Disease in Women: First Steps
See how three women found ways to fit heart-healthy habits into their busy lives.
Preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) After Surgery
Learn how to help prevent dangerous blood clots after your surgery.
Preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis From Travel
What is deep vein thrombosis (DVT)? Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in a deep vein, usually in a leg. A DVT is dangerous because the clot can break loose, travel through the bloodstream, and block blood flow to the lungs ( pulmonary embolism). Without treatment, this can be deadly. Why does...
Discusses primary cause (blood clot in the lungs) and symptoms of pulmonary embolism. Looks at treatment with thrombolytic medicines, blood thinners (anticoagulants), or surgery. Links to info on complications like pulmonary hypertension.
Your pulse is the rate at which your heart beats. Your pulse is usually called your heart rate, which is the number of times your heart beats each minute (bpm). But the rhythm and strength of the heartbeat can also be noted, as well as whether the...
Quick Tips: Taking Charge of Your Angina
Most people who have stable angina can control their symptoms by taking medicines as prescribed and nitroglycerin when needed. Staying active is also important. Before you get started, ask your doctor what kind of activities would be good for you....
Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) can help you measure how hard your body is working when you exercise. For most people, working at a moderate to vigorous level will help you get the most benefit from your exercise. If you have health problems, your RPE goal may be different. Talk with your doctor before you start...
Raynaud's (say "ray-NOHZ") phenomenon occurs when the blood vessels in the hands and feet overreact to cold temperatures. The blood vessels are extra sensitive and become more narrow than normal, making the hands and feet feel very cold and numb for...
Gives info on heart problem that leads to heart failure. Includes symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment with medicines, lifestyle changes, and surgery. Also info on causes like amyloidosis, hemochromatosis, and sarcoidosis. Includes info on tests.
Resuming Sexual Activity After a Heart Attack
When can I have sex again? Sex is part of a healthy life and part of your quality of life. It is safe for most people after they have had a heart attack. After a heart attack, you can resume sexual activity when you are healthy and feel ready for it. You could be ready if you can do mild or moderate activity...
Rheumatic Fever and the Heart
Rheumatic fever is a bacterial infection that can cause problems with the heart's aortic and mitral valves. Rheumatic fever is caused by certain strains of streptococcal bacteria. A strep throat infection that isn't properly treated can trigger...
Right-Sided Heart Failure
Right-sided heart failure means that the right side of the heart is not pumping blood to the lungs as well as normal. It is also called cor pulmonale or pulmonary heart disease. Most people develop heart failure because of a problem with the left...
Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease
Some risk factors—things that increase your risk—for coronary artery disease (CAD), such as your gender, age, and family history, cannot be changed. Other risk factors for CAD are related to lifestyle and often can be changed. Your chance of...
SPECT Image of the Heart
Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) is a nuclear medicine imaging test. It is a type of positron emission tomography, also called a PET scan. Doctors use SPECT to: Diagnose a person who has symptoms of heart disease. Assess your risk...
Safe Use of Non-Warfarin Blood Thinners
Learn how to be safe when taking a blood thinner other than warfarin.
Sally's Story: Avoiding Metabolic Syndrome
Sally never had to worry about her weight. She had always been active, enjoying her daily walks in the park. But things changed when Sally's mom had a heart attack. Sally took care of her mom night and day. But Sally got so busy taking care of her...
Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins
Discusses sclerotherapy to treat varicose veins. Includes info on spider veins. Looks at how well sclerotherapy works and what to expect after treatment. Discusses risks.
Secondary High Blood Pressure
Secondary high blood pressure is high blood pressure that is caused by another disease or condition. It can also be caused by certain medicines. If your doctor can treat the cause of the high blood pressure, it might lower your blood pressure....
Self-Care After a Stroke
After a stroke, keep in mind that you are the most important person in your own recovery. You need to have a major say in the decisions about your care. This may be hard for you, and you may sometimes feel like sitting back and letting others take...
Sex and Your Heart
Sex is part of a healthy life. And it can be safe for people who have heart problems. But some of these people may worry about having sex. Or they may have problems having sex or enjoying sex. If you are having sexual problems, talk with your...
Shock means that your body and its functions are shutting down. The body goes into shock when it can't get enough blood to the vital organs like your heart or brain. This may be caused by a sudden illness, an injury, or bleeding. Sometimes even a mild injury will lead to shock. Shock is a life-threatening...
Sick Sinus Syndrome
Sick sinus syndrome is the name given to a group of arrhythmias that occur because the normal pacemaker of the heart (the sinus node) does not work properly. Sick sinus syndrome is also called sinus node dysfunction. For more information on other types of sinus node problems, see Types of Bradycardia. What...
Signs of Abnormal Bleeding
If you take a medicine that might cause bleeding as a side effect, watch for signs of internal or abnormal bleeding. This medicine might be a blood thinner. Call or other emergency services right away if you have: A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches. (It may be a...
Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT)
Single photon-emission computed tomography (SPECT) is a test that uses a special type of camera and a tracer (a radioactive substance in liquid form) to look at organs or bones in the body. During the test, the tracer is put into a vein...
Smoking and Coronary Artery Disease
Quitting smoking is probably the most important step you can take to decrease your chance of coronary artery disease (CAD) and a heart attack. Smoking raises your risk of getting CAD and dying early from CAD. Carbon monoxide, nicotine, and other...
Smoking: Heart Attack and Stroke Risks
If you smoke, your chance of dying from a heart attack is 2 to 3 times greater than that of a person who does not smoke. About 1 out of 4 heart attacks is believed to be directly related to smoking. Smoking is a much more important risk factor for a...
Use a form to record the sodium content of the foods you eat or drink each day. This record will help you see whether you are getting the prescribed daily amount of sodium in your diet. Make a chart with 3 columns and as many rows you need for meals...
Make sure you know about each of the medicines you take. This includes why you take it, how to take it, what you can expect while you're taking it, and any warnings about the medicine. The information provided here is general. So be sure to read the...
Statins Are Important After a Heart Attack
Learn why taking a statin pill is such an important part of your treatment.
Statins: Overcoming Barriers to Taking Them
Learn how to find what is getting in the way of taking your statin pill every day.
Statins: Should I Take Them to Prevent a Heart Attack or Stroke?
Guides people not already diagnosed with heart disease through decision to take statin medicine to lower risk of heart attack or stroke. Covers cholesterol and other risk factors. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.
Statins: Should You Take Them to Lower Your Risk?
Compare the pros and cons of taking a statin to lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.
Discusses ischemic stroke, hemorrhagic stroke, and TIA (transient ischemic attack). Describes stroke symptoms and importance of acting fast if symptoms develop. Covers stroke treatment and prevention.
Stroke Prevention: Should I Have a Carotid Artery Procedure?
Guides through the decision to have a carotid endarterectomy or carotid artery stenting to prevent stroke if you have not already had a stroke or TIA. Lists pros and cons. Explains risks. Looks at other treatments. Has interactive tool to help you decide.
Stroke Prevention: Should You Have a Carotid Artery Procedure?
Compare the pros and cons of having a carotid artery procedure to help prevent stroke.
Stroke Recovery: Finding What Inspires You
Getting better after a stroke takes patience and effort. See how others found inspiration to keep going.
Stroke Recovery: Using Support to Stay Positive
Get help thinking about ways to stay positive and hopeful after a stroke.
Is this topic for you? This topic covers rehabilitation after a stroke. For information on stroke itself, see the topic Stroke. What is stroke rehabilitation? The best way to get better after a stroke is to start stroke rehabilitation ("rehab"). In stroke rehab, a team of health professionals works with you to regain...
Learn the symptoms of stroke and why it's important to call emergency services right away.
Stroke: Behavior Changes
Depending on what part of the brain was affected by a stroke, the way a person acts may be different from how he or she acted before the stroke. A person who was very concerned about details before a stroke may become sloppy and care little about...
Stroke: Bladder and Bowel Problems
Some people who have a stroke suffer loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence) after the stroke. But this is usually temporary. And it can have many causes, including infection, constipation, and the effects of medicines. If you have problems...
Stroke: Changes in Emotions
Emotional reactions after a stroke may be different from normal emotional reactions. The reaction may have little or no clear connection with what is happening around the person. Often reactions can be easily interrupted by diverting the person's...
Stroke: Common Disabilities
Stroke is the most common cause of disability resulting from damage to the nervous system. A stroke may affect: Movement. You may not be able to use your arms or walk. This is usually because of weakness or paralysis on one side of the body (hemiparesis). Speech and language. You may not...
Stroke: Dealing With Depression
It is common for a person who has had a stroke to feel sad and become depressed about the disabilities caused by the stroke. Sometimes the injury to the brain from the stroke can cause depression. Depression is a serious condition that needs...
Stroke: Getting Dressed
A stroke often affects movement and use of one side of the body, so getting dressed is often difficult for people after a stroke. Getting dressed may be easier if you use stocking/sock aids, rings or strings attached to zipper pulls, and...
Stroke: How to Prevent Another One
After you've had a stroke, you may be worried that you could have another one. That's easy to understand. But the good news is that there are things you can do to reduce your risk of having another stroke. Taking medicine, doing stroke rehabilitation, and making healthy lifestyle changes can help. Take your...
Stroke: Know the Signs and Act FAST
Learn an easy way to recognize stroke symptoms and know when to call 911.
Stroke: Memory Tips
A stroke often causes memory problems. In stroke rehab, you might try ways to help improve memory. If your family member has problems with memory, you might get helpful tips from the stroke rehab team. These tips may include: Set a daily routine, if...
Stroke: Perception Changes
When a stroke occurs on the right side of the brain, a person's ability to judge distance, size, position, rate of movement, form, and the way parts relate to the whole is affected (spatial-perceptual problems). People with these problems may have...
Stroke: Preventing Injury in Affected Limbs
After a stroke, you may not feel temperature, touch, pain, or sharpness on your affected side. You may have: Feelings of heaviness, numbness, tingling, or prickling or greater sensitivity on the affected side. No sense of how your muscles and joints...
Stroke: Problems With Ignoring the Affected Side
Some people who have had a stroke ignore or are not aware of one side of their body. This can happen when the stroke damages one side of the brain. Caregivers may notice signs that the person is ignoring, or neglecting, the affected side, such as:...
Stroke: Should I Move My Loved One Into Long-Term Care?
Guides you through decision to put a loved one who has had a stroke into long-term care. Lists reasons for and against. Covers types of long-term centers. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.
Stroke: Speech and Language Problems
Some people have speech and language problems after a stroke. These problems may involve any or all aspects of language use, such as speaking, reading, writing, and understanding the spoken word. Speech and language problems, such as aphasia,...
Stroke: Understanding Your Emotions
Learn about the range of emotions you may experience after you've had a stroke.
Stroke: What Is Stroke Rehab?
Learn how stroke rehab works and how it can help you get stronger and feel better.
Stroke: What's Your Risk?
Learn what increases your risk for stroke and how you can lower your risk.
Stroke: Your Rehabilitation Team
Rehabilitation after a stroke usually involves a number of health professionals. These may include the following people. Doctors and nurses Rehabilitation doctor. The rehabilitation doctor is in charge of your medical care after a stroke. This may be a physiatrist (a doctor who specializes in...
What is supraventricular tachycardia? Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) means that from time to time your heart beats very fast for a reason other than exercise, high fever, or stress. For most people who have SVT, the heart still works normally to pump blood through the body. Types of SVT include: Atrioventricular...
Supraventricular Tachycardia: Should I Have Catheter Ablation?
Guides you through the decision to have catheter ablation for the heart rhythm problem supraventricular tachycardia. Lists benefits and risks of catheter ablation and medical therapy. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.
Taking Blood Pressure Medicine: How Others Decided
Hear what other people thought about as they decided whether to take blood pressure pills.
Taking Blood Pressure at Home
Learn how to use a home blood pressure monitor.
Taking Statins: How Others Decided
Hear why some people choose medicine and why others try to change their habits first.
Taking Warfarin Safely
Learn what you can do to be safe when you're taking warfarin.
Temporal Artery Biopsy
If you have symptoms of giant cell arteritis (GCA) and your doctor believes you may have it, he or she may order a temporal artery biopsy to make sure. Giant cell arteritis can occur at various points along an artery. To test for giant cell...
Thrombolytics for Heart Attack and Stroke
Thrombolytics are medicines that rapidly dissolve a blood clot. They are used when a blood clot causes an emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke. These clot-busting medicines help blood to flow normally again. Thrombolytics are used as soon as...
Tilt Table Test
A tilt table test is used to evaluate people who have had fainting or near-fainting spells. A tilt table test checks how your body responds when you change body positions. The body's nervous system detects changes in body position or stress and...
Tony's Story: Taking Medicine for High Cholesterol
Tony has done well with getting his cholesterol under control. And he's had a notable failure. But as Tony tells it, "I've learned as much from the failure as I have from the success. Maybe more." About 2 years ago, Tony's doctor told him that he...
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement
Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is a way to replace the aortic valve without open-heart surgery. This procedure is done to treat aortic valve stenosis. TAVR is often done through an incision (cut) in the groin. But sometimes a small cut is made in the chest. The doctor uses a tube called a catheter and...
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
Learn what transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is and how it is done.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
Discusses transient ischemic attack (TIA), sometimes called a mini-stroke. Covers causes, including blood clot as a result of atherosclerosis. Looks at treatment with medicines, surgery, and lifestyle changes. Discusses prevention steps.
Triggers of Sudden Heart Failure
Sudden heart failure happens when your heart suddenly cannot pump as much blood as your body needs. Certain things, called triggers, can cause sudden heart failure. These triggers make it harder for your heart to pump well. But if you know what the...
Turning Off Your ICD
How does your ICD help you? Your ICD can save your life. Your ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator) is always checking your heart rate and rhythm. If the ICD detects a life-threatening rapid heart rhythm, it tries to slow the rhythm back to normal using electrical pulses. If the dangerous rhythm doesn't...
Types of Bradycardia
There are several types of slow heart rates ( bradycardias or bradyarrhythmias). Each type carries a specific risk of complications and treatment options. Some of the types are described here. Sinus bradycardia When a person has sinus bradycardia, the heart rate is less than 60 beats per minute. This slow...
Tyrell's Story: Taking Pills for High Blood Pressure
When Tyrell's doctor told him he had high blood pressure, he was shocked. "I thought, 'Hey, I'm a physical fitness trainer. I'm in great shape. How could I have high blood pressure?'" He knew that both of his parents have high blood pressure. And...
Using Nitroglycerin for Angina
Discusses using nitroglycerin to treat angina, a type of chest pain. Covers how to take the drug. Provides info on side effects and interactions with other drugs. Covers how to store nitroglycerin. Includes info on when to call for emergency help.
Vagal Maneuvers for Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)
Vagal maneuvers are used to try to slow an episode of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). These simple maneuvers stimulate the vagus nerve, sometimes resulting in slowed conduction of electrical impulses through the atrioventricular (AV) node of the...
Discusses causes and symptoms of twisted, enlarged veins near the surface of the skin called varicose veins. Covers treatment with self-care, sclerotherapy, endovenous laser, and radiofrequency. Includes vein surgery called ligation and stripping.
Varicose Veins Home Treatment
Self-care, or home treatment, is recommended for most people with varicose veins. Home treatment can relieve symptoms and slow down the progress of varicose veins. For many people, home treatment is the only treatment they need. Exercise can help...
Varicose Veins: Phlebectomy or Stab Avulsion
Phlebectomy (also known as microphlebectomy, ambulatory phlebectomy, or stab avulsion) is a technique to remove varicose veins. In this procedure, several tiny cuts (incisions) are made in the skin through which the varicosed vein is removed....
Varicose Veins: Radiofrequency Ablation
Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins. (Ablation means a doctor uses heat to damage tissue, which makes scar tissue form. This scar tissue closes the vein.) This technique uses radiofrequency energy (instead of...
Varicose Veins: Should I Have a Surgical Procedure?
Discusses reasons to have or not have surgery or a procedure for varicose veins. Includes info on sclerotherapy, laser treatment, microphlebectomy, and radiofrequency closure. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.
Vein Ligation and Stripping
Vein ligation and stripping is a minor surgery. It is used to remove a damaged vein and prevent complications of vein damage. If several valves in a vein and the vein itself are heavily damaged, the vein (or the diseased part of the vein) is removed (stripped). An incision is made below the vein, a flexible instrument...
Venous insufficiency is a problem with the flow of blood from the veins of the legs back to the heart. It's also called chronic venous insufficiency or chronic venous stasis. Veins have valves that keep the blood moving in one direction—toward the...
Venous Skin Ulcer
What is a venous skin ulcer? A skin ulcer is a type of wound that develops on the skin. A venous skin ulcer is a shallow wound that occurs when the leg veins don't return blood back toward the heart the way they should. This is called venous insufficiency. See a picture of abnormal blood flow caused by venous...
Venous Skin Ulcers: Home Treatment
Venous skin ulcers develop when the lower leg veins are weakened and cannot efficiently move the blood back toward the heart. Pooled blood and fluid in the lower legs then leads to tissue breakdown. You can prevent or heal a venous skin ulcer by helping your blood circulate back toward your heart. Leg...
Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) for Heart Failure
A ventricular assist device (VAD), also known as a heart pump, is a mechanical device that helps pump blood from the heart to the rest of your body. A VAD can be implanted in the chest or worn outside the body. If it is implanted, surgery is done to...
If you want to learn about supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), go to the topic Supraventricular Tachycardia. What is ventricular tachycardia? Ventricular tachycardia is a type of fast heart rhythm that starts in the lower part of the heart (ventricles). The heart might beat more than 100 beats per minute...
A ventriculogram is a test that shows images of your heart. The images show how well your heart is pumping. The pictures let your doctor check the health of the lower chambers of your heart, called ventricles. This test can be done as a noninvasive test or as part of an invasive procedure. Noninvasive...
Warfarin and Vitamin K
Warfarin is a pill that you take regularly to help prevent blood clots or to keep a clot from getting bigger. Coumadin is the common brand name for warfarin. To ensure that warfarin is effectively thinning your blood, it's important to eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K normally helps your...
Warfarin: Taking Your Medicine Safely
Warfarin is a medicine that helps prevent blood clots. Coumadin is the common brand name for warfarin. Because it prevents clots, it also helps prevent heart attacks, strokes, and other problems caused by blood clots. It's important to know how to take warfarin safely.
Warfarin: Why Taking It Is Worth It
Learn why you need to keep taking warfarin and how to get help so you can keep taking it.
Weight and Coronary Artery Disease
There is a strong association between being overweight and the risk for coronary artery disease (CAD). Being overweight increases your chances of having risk factors for CAD. These include high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Losing...
What Is Atrial Fibrillation?
Find out what atrial fibrillation is and how it's treated.
What Is Clot-Busting (Thrombolytic) Treatment?
Learn how clot-busting medicines are used for emergencies like stroke and heart attack.
What Is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?
Learn what can cause a DVT, why it's so dangerous, and what the symptoms are.
What Is a Stroke?
Learn what a stroke is and what problems it can cause.
What Is a TIA?
Learn about transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) and what the risks are when you have one.
What Is a Vitamin K Diet?
Find out how to eat a consistent amount of vitamin K so your warfarin (Coumadin) medicine will work the way it should.
What Platelets Do
Learn what important blood cells called platelets do.
What to Do if Your Cardiac Device Is Recalled
Explains what a recall of a medical device is. Mentions that failure or recall of cardiac devices is rare. Covers the FDA classes of recall. Explains what to do if your cardiac device is recalled.
When to Have a Cholesterol Test
Talk to your doctor about when a cholesterol test is right for you. Doctors use different guidelines to decide when a person should have a cholesterol test. Your doctor might suggest a test based on your age or your risk factors for heart disease....
Why Are Blood Tests Needed With Some Medicines?
Find out which types of medicines require a regular blood test and why.
Why Beta-Blockers Are Important After a Heart Attack
See how beta-blocker medicines work in your body and can help prevent another heart attack.
Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome is a heart rhythm problem that causes a very fast heart rate. WPW is one type of supraventricular tachycardia called atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia (AVRT). With WPW, an extra electrical pathway links...
Your Child's Cardiac Catheterization for PDA: Before the Procedure
Learn what cardiac catheterization for PDA is and how to prepare your child for it.
Your Child's Cardiac Catheterization for PDA: Returning Home
Learn what you can do at home to care for your child after a cardiac catheterization for PDA.
Your Child's EP Study and Ablation: Before the Procedure
Learn what an EP study and ablation are and how to prepare your child for each one.
Your Child's EP Study and Ablation: Returning Home
Learn what you can do at home to care for your child after an EP study and ablation.