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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? Heart disease is the single biggest killer in the UK. This year it is estimated that 440,000 people will die due to a heart attack (only one of many heart problems) in the UK alone. This is a diagram of the human heart in relation to it's arteries and veins and also the other main organs: Blood is pumped to the heart by veins, the main one being the venae cavae (shown in the diagram above). It is also pumped from the lungs to the heart by the pulmonary vein. Arteries take blood away from the heart, either to the rest of the body or to the lungs. If, for example, we did not know that the heart was so closely connected to the lungs, we may not try to treat respiratory problems by looking at the heart first. If the vein or artery connecting the heart to the lungs had a problem with it that caused shortness of breath, we would not know to treat that symptom by treating the heart. ...read more.


If we didn't understand the way the arteries around the heart worked, we would not understand the importance of them and we would also not be able to perform bypass surgery. For this operation you would need to know where to connect the healthy vein or artery in order for the heart to function properly and you would not know this without proper knowledge of the function and structure of the heart. As we know from research into the structure and functioning of the heart, valves are located between the four chambers of the heart. There are two sets of valve on the left side of the heart, the mitral valve and the aortic valve, and there are two sets of valve on the right side of the heart; the tricuspid valve and the pulmonic valve. Although disease or dysfunction of any of the valves can be very serious, fatalities caused by the problems of the valves on the left side are much more common. There are a number of problems that can occur and there is treatment for all (although not always successful) ...read more.


* Cardiotonics, which to increase the force of the heart's contractions and slow rapid heart rhythms. This means that the heart beats less frequently but more effectively, and more blood is pumped into the arteries. * Antiarrhythmics, which help to sustain a regular heartbeat. * Anticoagulants, which prevent the formation of blood clots. As well as these, open heart surgery to replace the valve will be needed in more severe cases. This could mean replacing it with an artificial valve, tissue taken from an animal or a healthy pulmonic valve being put in the aortic valves position and the pulmonic valve being replaced by one of a pig's. Due to our knowledge of the heart, this is all possible. None of this would be able to take place if we did not know that needs to happen and will help in cases of Valvular Regurgitation. Knowledge can also help patients, as if they aren't knowledgeable going through treatment and surgery, it can be very stressful and would certainly put them at an easier state of mind. Also, it is always needed to help treat, and not only that but to prevent any kind of problem, but especially with something as vital, complicated and important as the heart. ...read more.

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