What is a patent foramen ovale (PFO) and what causes it? A patent foramen ovale (or PFO for short) is a flap between the top 2 chambers of the heart which has not closed the way it should do at birth. During a baby’s development in the womb, this flap is fully open as a hole called […]
What is right bundle branch block? Every normal heart is gifted with a natural in-built electrical system. The electrical impulse generated from this system results in beating of the heart. The electrical system divides into 2 branches (called right and left bundle) at the level of the ventricle (bottom chambers of the heart). The right […]
What is aortic disease? The aorta is the largest tube (artery) that carries blood cells containing oxygen around the body to your vital organs. The blood cells are pumped from the main pumping chamber called the left ventricle in to the aorta. The aorta can also be affected by disease and can either generally enlarge […]
Marfan’s syndrome is a disorder that affects many parts of the body including the heart, blood vessels, skeleton, and eyes. One in 5000 people in the United Kingdom have Marfan’s syndrome and both men and women can be affected. People with Marfan’s syndrome produce abnormal connective tissue. Connective tissue helps hold the body together, binding […]
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common heart rhythm disorder. It affects around 1-2% of the overall population. It is more common in men and is increasingly common as people age . While it is associated with other medical conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity and other types of heart disease , people who are otherwise fit and healthy may still develop AF.
The incidence of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is now thought to be higher than previously believed (affecting 1 in every 1000 individuals), due to the availability of better diagnostic techniques and general awareness of the disorder amongst the medical profession. ARVC was first recognised in the late 1970’s. It is anticipated that even more information regarding ARVC will be available in the coming years, to help us understand the natural history of the condition.
In the western world it affects mainly young and middle-aged adult men. It has been associated with mutations in the same sodium channel that is affected in long QT syndrome, but this appears to account for only 1 in every 5 people with the condition. The sodium channel behaves abnormally in that movement of sodium ions into the cells is restricted. This results in particular changes on the ECG but no abnormalities in the structure of the heart. Other genes have been described as being involved in Brugada syndrome that produce calcium ion channels and a protein in the cell surface (membrane) that interacts with the sodium channel. They have, however, only been detected in a small number of carriers.
The heart is a muscle and requires a regular supply of oxygen and nutrients to function. This is supplied by blood carried by two blood vessels known as the left and right coronary arteries. The arteries arise from the left and right side of the body’s main artery, the aorta. In up to 1% of […]
The heart is a muscle and requires a regular supply of oxygen and nutrients to function. A network of blood vessels known as the coronary arteries supplies the heart. The coronary arteries can become narrowed by the build up of fatty deposits in the artery wall, called atherosclerotic plaques. Blood clots can form on these […]
Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) is a rare condition that has been associated with two genes that make proteins found inside the cell – the human ryanodine receptor (a calcium ion channel) and calsequestrin (a protein that interacts with the calcium channel). These regulate the release of calcium ions into the rest of the cell. […]