Helping the heart

Heart attacks:

  • Blood supply is suddenly blocked from getting to the heart
  • Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of heart attacks
  • Blood supply is trapped by fatty substances in the coronary arteries
  • When a plaques ruptures it causes a blood clot
  • Can also block the blood getting to the heart

High and low blood pressure:

  • The exact reasons are unknown
  • High
  • Many factors such as smoking, drinking too much alcohol, being overweight, stress…
  • Low
  • Symptoms are light-headedness, chest pain, blurred vision…


  • Patches of atheroma are like small fatty lumps
  • Develop within the inside lining of blood vessels (arteries)
  • A patch of atheroma can make an artery narrower
  • Can reduce the blood flow through the artery




  • Small mesh tube
  • Used to treat narrow or weak arteries or to improve blood flow and help prevent the arteries from bursting
  • Usually made of metal mesh
  • Some are coated with medicine that is slowly and continuously released into the artery


  • A class of medicines that are used to lower blood cholesterol levels
  • Block the action of an enzyme in the liver that is necessary for making cholesterol
  • Can get many different types


  • Emits electrical impulses through the wires to the heart
  • Rate at which the electrical impulses are sent out is called the pacing rate
  • Almost all modern pacemakers work on demand
  • Means they can be programmed to adjust the discharge rate in response to the body’s needs
  • If the pacemaker senses that the heart has missed a beat or is beating too slowly, it sends signals at a steady rate
  • If it senses that your heart is beating normally by itself, it doesn’t send out any signals

Heart transplants:

  • An operation to replace a damaged or failing heart
  • Use a healthy heart from a donor who has recently died
  • Have to have an in-depth assessment to check whether you’re healthy enough to have one before being placed on a waiting list

Artificial hearts:

  • A device that replaces the heart
  • Typically used to bridge the time to heart transplantation
  • Or to permanently replace the heart in case heart transplantation is impossible