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How is a knowledge of the structure and functioning of the heart relevant to the treatment of heart problems?

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How is a knowledge of the structure and functioning of the heart relevant to the treatment of heart problems? COMMUNICATING (SKILLS I AND J) MUSTAFA MOHAMEDALI INTRODUCTION The heart is the most important organ in the mammalian and human body. It is responsible for pumping blood and supplying every cell in our anatomy with oxygen and other vital substances needed for respiration to occur. From the second you are born until the day that your die, the heart will constantly keep beating - a tremendous two billion times. Therefore, when problems arise with this vital organ, the affect this could have on a person's health can be very serious. In many cases, if these problems are not treated sufficiently then death may occur. Over this essay I will look at a few of the diseases and defects which affect the heart and how doctors and surgeons treat them. ARTRIAL SEPTAL DEFECT What is it? Atrial septal defects are among the most common types of congenital heart disease. This defect is commonly known as a 'hole in the heart'. Quite simply it is a hole in the septum between the right and left atria. This will cause blood to flow from the left ventricle into the right ventricle. This is due to pressure being higher in the right ventricle so this results in the left side of the heart having to pump more blood. ...read more.


It continues after exercise has stopped and may even start even though there is no exertion at all. MI can be fatal in a few minutes, hours or even days if the problem is not treated early enough. Treatment of Coronary Heart Disease There are a variety of ways in which coronary heart disease can be treated but this depends of the severity of the disease and the patient's health. Coronary heart disease can be treated both surgically and through the use of drugs. Medication * Glyceryl Trinitrate - this drug causes "rapid dilation of the blood vessels and so improves the supply of oxygen to the cardiac muscle" (Human Health and Disease, Ann Fullick, 1998). Dilation of this kind enlarges the lumen in arteries hence giving the blood more room to flow past fatty build-ups (atheroma) under less pressure. This drug provides a fast relief from the symptoms of Angina, but it does not stop MI. * Calcium antagonists - these "dilate arteries and arterioles by preventing calcium ions moving into the smooth muscle cells" (Human Health and Disease, Ann Fullick, 1998). Therefore there is less resistance of blood flow in the coronary arteries. Calcium antagonists are for constant use and are prescribed when a patient suffers from acute angina, making a simple walk across a room impossible. ...read more.


On June 20th 2000 it was given to the first British recipient. Due to his patient's age, a heart transplant would not have been a viable option. The operation was successful and lasted longer than some transplanted hearts. * Pacemakers - there are many reasons why a person may require a pacemaker, sometimes because their heart is beating to slow, sometimes because their heart is beating to fast or because there is a block effecting the excitation of the heart. Through radical improvements in the medical field, pacemakers are becoming very common and effective. The procedure if fairly straight forward and takes approximately sixty minutes to implant. To begin with an incision is made and a pocket if formed overlaying the muscle on the outside of the chest wall. It is large enough to insert the pulse generator. Then the pacemaker is thread through the right subclavian vein using a fluoroscope to visualise the leads. This makes sure that the leads are in the most suitable position. The pacemakers themselves can control the atrium by itself or both the atrium and ventricle. These are called dual chamber pacemakers and are more expensive. Many permanent pacemakers are now 'rate responsive' meaning that they can change the rate of the heart depending on the physiological condition so that when a person is exerting themselves e.g. in exercise, the pacemaker can increase their rate hence increasing blood flow to the cells. ...read more.

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