An abdominal aortic aneurysm, also called AAA or triple A, is a bulging, weakened area in the wall of the abdominal aorta (the largest artery in the body) resulting in an abnormal widening or ballooning greater than 50 percent of the vessel's normal diameter (width).
Achalasia is a rare disease of the muscle of the esophagus that occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter fails to open and let food pass into the stomach. As a result, patients with achalasia have difficulty swallowing food.
Acute vascular thrombosis occurs when a blood clot obstructs a vein. Blockages in these vessels can slow or even stop blood flow and cause serious consequences. Different types of vascular thrombosis occur in different parts of the body.
Angina (chest pain) indicates an underlying heart problem such as coronary heart disease, which is a result of one or more blockages in the coronary arteries. It also may signal coronary microvascular disease, which affects the heart’s smallest coronary arteries.
The aorta, the body's largest artery, delivers oxygenated blood to the rest of the body. The heart pumps blood out of the left ventricle, through the aortic valve, and into the aorta. Aneurysm is the primary problem that may affect the aorta; the blood vessel may become enlarged beyond its normal size.
Aortic aneurysms are an abnormal enlargement of the body’s largest artery, the aorta. They come in two forms: thoracic, which are located in the chest, and abdominal, which are located in the abdomen.
Aortic valve regurgitation occurs when the aortic valve does not close tightly and blood leaks back into the heart's pumping chamber when the left ventricle relaxes.
Aortic valve stenosis is a buildup of calcium deposits on the heart valve, which obstructs blood flow because the narrowing of the valve prevents it from opening properly.
An irregular heartbeat is an arrhythmia. A normal heart rate is 50 to 100 beats per minute, but arrhythmias and abnormal heart rates don't necessarily occur together. Arrhythmia symptoms can occur with a normal heart rate, or with heart rates that are slow or rapid.
Coronary arteries are the blood vessels that supply blood directly to your heart muscle. Arterial blockage often can be diagnosed using a cardiac catheterization.
Arteriosclerosis is a condition that occurs when arteries harden and fail to adequately distribute blood throughout the body, which can limit oxygen flow to organs. Atherosclerosis is a subset of the condition which results from the buildup of plaque and other substances in the artery walls.
Atrial septal defect (ASD) is a common structural heart defect that can be present at birth (congenital). It is a hole in the septum (wall) that separates the two upper chambers (atria) of the heart.
Atrioventricular canal defect (AV canal defect) refers to a large hole in the center of the heart that prevents the separation of all four heart chambers and requires surgical repair.
Bacterial endocarditis is a rare but serious infection in the heart and/or valves. While this infection usually is associated with certain types of congenital heart defects, it also can occur in structurally normal hearts.
Bicuspid aortic valve refers to aortic valves that have only two leaflets, or flaps. Over time, the valve can become stenotic, resulting in varying degrees of obstruction across the valve.
Bronchiectasis is a condition in which the airways of the lungs begin to swell. It is often caused by irritation of the airways that keeps coming back. Sometimes it begins in childhood after having a severe lung infection or inhaling a foreign object.
Carotid artery disease occurs when there is damage to the inner layers of the arteries, which supply blood to the brain. Approximately 30 percent of strokes are caused by narrowing or blockages in the carotid arteries on either side of the neck.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the accumulation of fatty deposits in the inner layer of the coronary arteries. The fatty deposits may begin to develop in childhood and they continue to thicken and enlarge during a person’s lifetime. This thickening, known as atherosclerosis, narrows the arteries and can decrease or block the flow of blood to the heart.
Emphysema is a type of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) involving damage to the air sacs in the lungs. As a result, your body does not get the oxygen it needs, making it hard to catch your breath
Esophageal cancer occurs when cancer cells form in the tissues of the esophagus. People don’t usually undergo routine screenings for esophageal cancer as they do for other cancers, such as colon cancer.
Gastroesophageal refers to the stomach and esophagus, and reflux means to flow back or return. Gastroesophageal reflux (GER) is the return of acidic stomach juices, or food and fluids, back up into the esophagus.
A heart attack, also known as myocardial infarction, occurs when the flow of oxygenated blood through a coronary artery to the heart suddenly becomes blocked.
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart is not strong enough to meet your body's needs, either because it can’t fill with blood or because it can’t pump with enough force. Some forms of heart failure are treated with surgery, such as valve replacements or coronary artery bypass surgery.
A hiatal hernia is a common anatomical abnormality in which part of the stomach protrudes or herniates through the diaphragm and up into the chest. If the stomach gets stuck in the defect in the diaphragm, the hernia may become confined and cause severe pain in the chest and abdomen, which is a surgical emergency.
Interstitial lung disease is a group of disorders in which the lungs develop significant and sometimes disabling inflammation, scar tissue or fibrosis within the tissues.
Klippel-Trenaunay syndrome (KTS) is a rare congenital vascular disorder with three characteristic features: port-wine stain, vein malformations and overgrowth of soft tissues and bones.
Lung cancer is cancer that usually starts in the lining of the bronchi (the main airways of the lungs), but can also begin in other areas of the respiratory system, including the trachea, bronchioles or alveoli.
Lung nodules are small masses of tissue in the lung that appear as spots on an X-ray or CT scan of the chest that may or may not be cancer-causing. With the increase in the use of CT scans, lung nodules are being found with increasing regularity, though people with solitary lung nodules do not usually experience symptoms.
Lymph node enlargement (lymphadenopathy) in the chest is a frequent finding on X-rays and CT scans. There are many reasons for the enlarged nodes that often depend on the patient's history. Some infections and inflammatory conditions such as sarcoidosis can cause the nodes to be enlarged.
May-Thurner syndrome occurs when the left iliac vein, which carries blood from your legs and pelvis back to your heart, is compressed by the right iliac artery.
Mediastinal disease refers to an unusual group of tumors that form in the area called the mediastinum, which separates the lungs in the middle of the thoracic cavity. About half of mediastinal tumors cause no symptoms and are found on a chest X-ray or scans for another reason. Occasionally, they will cause symptoms of chest pain or shortness of breath.
Mesenteric ischemia occurs when blocked arteries restrict blood flow to the small intestine, which can happen either over time (chronic) or suddenly (acute).
Mesothelioma is a rare form of lung cancer that usually arises in the tissue lining of the lungs, called the mesothelium. It usually starts in the lungs, but can also start in the abdomen or other organs. Most people who develop mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles.
Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) is the most common heart valve abnormality. In this condition, enough blood does not flow through the mitral valve into the coronary artery. If the leaflets (valve flaps) do not close tightly, blood can leak back into the heart’s chambers (left atrium and left ventricle), in a condition known as mitral regurgitation.
Valvular heart disease occurs when the heart's valves that control blood flow do not work properly. Valvular conditions can be present at birth or can be acquired later in life, resulting in valvular regurgitation (also known as valve insufficiency).
Valvular stenosis occurs over time as the opening in a valve narrows due to a collection of calcium deposits. When that happens, the heart cannot pump as well.
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is an autoimmune disorder of the nerves and muscles of the body that causes progressive weakness and, often, drooping of the eyelids known as ocular myasthenia.
Patent foramen ovale (PFO), a hole in the heart that can be present at birth, is a common structural heart defect. It occurs in about 25 percent of all newborns, but most people do not experience problems because of it.
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a disease in which plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to your head, organs, and limbs. When plaque builds up in the body's arteries, the condition is called atherosclerosis. Over time, plaque can harden and narrow the arteries. This limits the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your organs and other parts of your body.
Pleural effusion is extra fluid around the lung. This often causes shortness of breath as the lung gets compressed from the fluid. The reasons for effusion are many, and the specific diagnosis is often based upon tap or drainage of the fluid.
Pneumonia is a lung infection. Patients with pneumonia can have a cough with green or bloody mucus, a fever, chills, chest pain and difficulty breathing.
A pneumothorax is a total collapse of the lung caused by air entering the pleural space between the lung and chest wall. A partial collapse of the lung is called atelectasis.
Premature atrial contractions are contractions in the atria (upper chambers) of the heart that occur too early in the rhythm sequence and disrupt the heart's rhythm.
Premature superventricular contraction (PSC) refers to premature contractions originating from the ventricles, the lower heart chambers. They are called “premature” because they occur before the regular heartbeat.
A pulmonary embolism is an obstruction caused by a blood clot (thrombus) in the pulmonary artery that has traveled through the bloodstream (usually from a vein in the legs).
Pulmonary fibrosis is a condition in which there is scarring of the tissue in the lungs. This tissue gets thick and stiff. That makes it hard for you to breathe, and your blood may not get enough oxygen.
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a type of coronary artery disease (CAD). This condition occurs when the pressure in the pulmonary arteries becomes abnormally elevated. There is inflammation in the lining of the pulmonary artery, which changes the cells in the lining, making it more difficult for the heart to pump blood forward into the lungs to be oxygenated.
Over time, the opening in a heart valve can become narrow due to a collection of calcium deposits. When the valve narrows, the heart does not pump as well. Valvular stenosis can affect the heart's aortic, mitral, pulmonary or tricuspid valves.
Sarcoidosis is a disease that results from a specific type of inflammation of tissues of the body. It can appear in almost any organ, but it starts most often in the lungs or lymph nodes.
Severe acute respiratory syndrome is an infectious respiratory disease. Commonly referred to as SARS, the infection is caused by a virus and easily spread from person to person.
Sick sinus syndrome is not a specific disease, but rather a group of signs or symptoms that indicate the sinoatrial node (the heart's natural pacemaker) is not functioning properly.
Structural heart disease and heart defects refer to a defect or abnormality in the heart's valves or vessels. These defects can involve the interior walls of the heart, the valves inside the heart, and the arteries and veins that carry blood to the heart or out to the body.
Thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS) is a group of disorders that result from the compression of the blood vessels or nerves located in the space between the collarbone and first rib.
Thymoma is an uncommon type of tumor that grows in the thymus, a small organ just behind the breastbone (sternum). The thymus produces lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that fights infections.
Tricuspid valve regurgitation, also known as tricuspid valve insufficiency, occurs when the valve does not close properly, causing some blood to flow backward into the heart's right upper chamber (atrium) and increasing the amount of blood there. This impairs the heart's ability to pump the necessary amount of blood to the rest of the body.
Truncus arteriosus is a rare congenital (present at birth) heart disease where a baby is born with a large hole between the two ventricles (ventricular septal defect) . The hole allows oxygenated blood to mix with blood that is low in oxygen. Some of this mixed blood goes to the lungs, and some goes to the rest of the body. Usually, more blood goes to the lungs. Over time, the blood vessels are permanently damaged and it becomes harder for the heart to pump blood to the lungs, resulting in pulmonary hypertension.
Varicose veins are bloated, twisted veins that can be seen just under the skin. Any vein may become varicose but it most commonly occurs in the legs.
Venous disease refers to a group of diseases that damage veins causing valves to not close completely, enabling blood to leak backward or flow in both directions.Venous diseases include varicose veins, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.
Ventricular septal defect (VSD) is a common structural heart disease that can be present at birth: a hole or defect in the septum (wall) that divides the two lower chambers of the heart (ventricles).