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Other Related Conditions

A doctor checking a patient's heart.

Acute coronary syndrome is a general term that includes heart attack and unstable angina.

Angina, a symptom of CAD, is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when the heart muscle is not getting enough blood. Angina may feel like pressure or a squeezing pain in the chest. The pain may also occur in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back, and it may feel like indigestion.

There are two forms of angina—stable or unstable. Stable angina happens during physical activity or under mental or emotional stress. Unstable angina is chest pain that occurs even while at rest, without apparent reason. This type of angina is a medical emergency.

Aortic aneurysm and dissection are conditions in which the aorta, the major artery that carries blood from the heart to the body, stretches (aneurysm) and ruptures (dissection). A rupture is a medical emergency.

Arrhythmias are irregular, or abnormally fast or slow, heartbeats. Some arrhythmias are serious. One example is ventricular fibrillation. This type of arrhythmia causes a severely abnormal heart rhythm that leads to death unless treated right away with an electrical shock to the heart (called defibrillation). Other arrhythmias are less severe, but can develop into more serious conditions such as atrial fibrillation.

Atrial fibrillation is a type of arrhythmia that can cause rapid, irregular beating of the heart's upper chambers. Blood may pool and clot inside the heart, increasing the risk for heart attack and stroke. For more information, see our atrial fibrillation fact sheet.

Cardiomyopathy occurs when the heart muscle becomes enlarged or rigid. This can lead to inadequate heart pumping or other problems. Cardiomyopathy has many causes, including family history of the disease, prior heart attacks, and viral or bacterial infections.

Congenital heart defects are malformations of heart structures that are present at birth. They are the most common type of major birth defect. Examples include abnormal heart valves or holes in the heart's walls that divide the chambers. Congenital heart defects range from minor to severe. For more information, see CDC's Birth Defects Web site.

Heart failure—often called congestive heart failure because of fluid buildup in the lungs, liver, gastrointestinal tract, and the arms and legs—is a serious condition that occurs when the heart can't pump enough blood to meet the body's needs. It does not mean that the heart has stopped. The majority of heart failrue cases are chronic heart failures.

The only cure for heart failure is a heart transplant. However, heart failure can be managed with medications or medical procedures. Learn more from our heart failure fact sheet.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is hardening of the arteries that supply blood to the arms and legs. PAD usually results from atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque and narrowing of the arteries. With this condition, blood flow and oxygen to the arm and leg muscles are low or even fully blocked. Signs and symptoms include leg pain, numbness, and swelling in the ankles and feet.

Rheumatic heart disease is damage to the heart valves caused by a bacterial (streptococcal) infection called rheumatic fever.


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