Gaasch, William H. Section of Cardiovascular Diseases, Lahey Clinic, Burlington, Massachusetts.
Venditti, Ferdinand, Jr. Section of Cardiovascular Diseases, Lahey Clinic, Burlington, Massachusetts.
Last reviewed:February 2020
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- Coronary disease
- Myocardial infarction
- Risk factors
- Hypertensive heart disease
- Valvular heart disease
- Congenital heart disease
- Heart failure
- Sudden cardiac death
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
Pathologies of the heart and its blood vessels. The heart is the muscular pumping organ of the cardiovascular system of vertebrates (Fig. 1). However, a diseased or defective heart can have serious consequences. Almost all cardiovascular or heart disorders eventually progress to significant debilitating stages characterized by heart failure (reduced pumping function), dysrhythmias (abnormal electrical rhythms), and sudden death. Coronary atherosclerosis (a disease causing obstruction of the arteries that supply nutrient blood to heart muscle) and hypertension (high blood pressure) are the leading causes of cardiovascular mortality. Other important heart disorders include valvular heart disease, cardiomyopathies (diseases of heart muscle), and congenital heart disease. See also: Cardiovascular system; Heart (vertebrate)
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