The Cardiovascular System | Coronary Artery Disease

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Function: To carry blood around the body to transport oxygen to cells and get rid of waste (CO2).


 Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

-          When one or more arteries talking blood to the heart muscle become blocked or narrowed by plaques.

-          Causes less oxygen to get to the heart muscle, and so it will die.

-          Atherosclerosis (a build-up of cholesterol over plaque) narrows arteries further.

-          If the blood cells start to stick together they will form a blockage and cause a heart attack.


-          Genetics/family history.

-          More likely to affect males.

-          Lifestyle choices : smoking, alcohol

-          Fat intake: high amounts of saturated and animal fats.

-          Obesity: diet/inactivity.

-          Stress



-          Cheapest and least invasive first

-          GP will listen to heartbeat for the rhythm.

-          Check blood pressure: GP checks the pressure on the artery wall as the heart contracts. The average for young adult is 120/80.

-          Blood test to check levels of cholesterol.

-          Refer to hospital for:

-          X Ray: to rule out any other conditions

-          Electrocardiogram (ECG): measures the electrical impulse from the pacemaker (sinoatrial node) that causes the heart to contract.

-          Echocardiography: Ultrasound of the heart that shows the valves and the flow of blood.

-          Coronary Angiography: Injection of fluid is given to flow through the vessels and it will show these vessels on an x-ray. E.g. any narrowing.

-          CT scan (computer tomography): Will show ‘slices’ of the heart on the scan.

-          MRI scan (Magnetic resonance imaging): Clear picture of the heart and blood vessels.



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