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Heart Facts & Information

Heart Facts

  • The heart is made of muscle.
  • The blood from the heart carries oxygen to all parts of the body.
  • The blood vessels, called arteries, carry the oxygen-rich blood.
  • The job of the heart is to pump blood throughout the body.
  • The heart needs its own oxygen supply to survive.
  • When the heart works hard, it needs a larger supply of oxygen.

The Heart: Chamber and Valves

  • The heart has four chambers.
  • The atria (upper chambers) receive blood into the heart.
  • The ventricles (lower chambers) pump blood out of the heart.
  • There are four valves in the heart.
  • The valves act as one-way doors to keep the blood flowing in the same path.
  • The septum is a wall that divides the heart into right and left sides.

The Heart: Right and Left Sides

  • The right side of the heart receives oxygen-poor blood from the body.
  • The oxygen-poor blood is then pumped to the lungs.
  • While the blood is in the lungs, it picks up a new supply of oxygen.
  • The left side of the heart receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs.
  • The oxygen-rich blood is pumped to the body by the left ventricle.
  • The aorta carries the oxygen-rich blood out of the heart from the left ventricle.
  • The left ventricle does most of the heart's pumping work.

The Heart: Coronary Arteries

  • The heart receives its supply of oxygen-rich blood through the coronary arteries.
The coronary arteries lie on the surface of the heart.

About Coronary Artery Disease


Coronary artery disease (CAD) is caused by atherosclerosis (also called "hardening of the arteries") by plaque building up on the lining of an artery. Plaque is a waxy substance made of cholesterol, fibrin, and calcium. Coronary artery disease can be an ongoing, progressive disease. As more and more plaque builds up in an artery, partial or total blockage of blood flow in the artery will occur. Atherosclerosis can occur anywhere in the coronary circulation.

What are the symptoms of CAD?

Symptoms of CAD result from a shortage of blood flow to the heart muscle. The most common symptoms of CAD are chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure or shortness of breath.

How do you develop CAD?

Several risk factors (see below) have been identified that influence CAD or at what rate it develops. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance for developing heart disease.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

  • High Blood Cholesterol
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Lack of Regular Exercise
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Family History
  • Increasing Age
  • Gender
  • Race

About Heart Attacks


A heart attack is also known as a myocardial infarction (MI) or a coronary. The heart must have oxygen to survive. Plaque (waxy substance that builds up and clogs the arteries) prevents the blood from carrying oxygen to areas of the heart muscle. When the oxygen supply to an area of the heart muscle has been stopped for a period of time, permanent damage results.This permanent heart damage is called a heart attack.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest, lasting more than a few minutes.
  • Pain spreading to the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw or back.
  • Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, nausea, sweating or shortness of breath.
What changes should I make?

  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Exercise on a regular basis.
  • Control high blood pressure.
  • Eat healthy, low-fat meals. Lose weight if needed.
  • Take your medications as prescribed.
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To Schedule Services

Call: Patient Access Scheduling Center at 410.414.4821 | Prince Frederick
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