Heart disease

Definition

Heart disease is any disorder that affects the heart's ability to function normally. Various forms of heart disease include:

Alternative Names

Cardiovascular disorders

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The most common cause of heart disease is a narrowing of or blockage in the coronary arteries supplying blood to the heart muscle (coronary artery disease). Some heart diseases are present at birth (congenital heart disease).

Other causes include:

  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Abnormal heart valve function
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Cardiomyopathy - weakening of the heart's pumping ability, often caused by heart disease, viral infection, or toxins

Figures

Heart, section through the middleHeart, front viewCoronary artery blockage

References

Goldman L. Approach to the patient with possible cardiovascular disease. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 48.

Revision

Last reviewed 11/14/2010 by David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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