Category Archives: Heart

Heart and vascular information on various cardiac diseases. heart conditions, treatment and breakthroughs. Keep your heart healthy.

Hyperkalemia

Hyperkalemia or high potassium level occurs when the level of potassium in your body and blood is higher than normal.
Potassium is a nutrient that is critical to the normal function of nerve, heart and muscles cells. It plays an important role in controlling activity of smooth muscle  and skeletal muscle, as well as the muscles of the heart. It is also important for normal transmission of electrical signals throughout the nervous system within the body.
Normal blood potassium level is 3.6 to 4.8 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L). Having a blood potassium level higher than 6.0 mEq/L can be dangerous and requires immediate treatment. Extremely high levels of potassium in the blood (severe hyperkalemia) can lead to cardiac arrest and death.
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Tachycardia

A normal adult heart beats between 60 and 100 times a minute. A heart rate over 100 beats a minute is called tachycardia. Some tachycardias are relatively harmless and need no treatment, but others can be life-threatening. Your heart is a muscular pump that circulates blood all around your body. There are four hollow chambers in your heart — the two upper chambers are the atria, and the lower, more muscular chambers are the ventricles. Each heartbeat begins in the right atrium. There, the heart’s natural pacemaker, called the sinus node, sends an electrical signal that causes the atria to contract, filling the ventricles with blood. A split second later, the electrical impulse travels across the atrioventricular (AV) node into the ventricles. This makes the ventricles contract, sending blood throughout the body. In people with tachycardias, this normal rhythm is disrupted somewhere along the electrical path, causing the heart to beat too quickly.

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Tricuspid atresia

Tricuspid atresia is a heart defect present at birth (congenital) in which one of the valves (tricuspid valve) between two of the heart’s chambers isn’t formed. Instead, there’s solid tissue between the chambers.

If your baby is born with tricuspid atresia, blood cannot flow through the heart and into the lungs to pick up oxygen as it normally would. The result is the lungs can’t supply the rest of your baby’s body with the oxygen it needs. Babies with tricuspid atresia tire easily, are often short of breath and have blue-tinged skin.

Surgery and medications are treatment options for tricuspid atresia. With advances over the last several decades, the outlook for babies with tricuspid atresia is better than in the past.

Tricuspid atresia occurs during fetal growth when your baby’s heart is developing. While some factors, such as heredity or Down syndrome, may increase your baby’s risk of tricuspid atresia, in most cases the cause is unknown.

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Sudden cardiac arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest is the sudden, unexpected loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness. Sudden cardiac arrest usually results from an electrical disturbance in your heart that disrupts its pumping action and causes blood to stop flowing to the rest of your body.

Sudden cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack, which occurs when blood flow to a portion of the heart is blocked, depriving the heart muscle of necessary oxygen. Like a heart attack, however, sudden cardiac arrest almost always occurs in the context of other underlying heart problems, particularly coronary artery disease.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a medical emergency. If not treated immediately, it is fatal, resulting in sudden cardiac death. With fast, appropriate medical care, survival is possible. Administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) — or even just rapid compressions to the chest — can improve the chances of survival until emergency personnel arrive.

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