• Question: what is the worst desiase a heart can have?

    Asked by Elizabeth to Pankaj, Lucy, Kate, Emma on 11 Jun 2018.
    • Photo: Pankaj Garg

      Pankaj Garg answered on 11 Jun 2018:

      There are many bad diseases heart can have. I guess, the worst will be where a person is alive but cannot do much – in that case heart failure is the worse!

    • Photo: Emma Wellham

      Emma Wellham answered on 13 Jun 2018:

      As Pankaj said, there are many different diseases a heart can have and they can all be bad in a different way, but some are easier to treat than others.

      A heart attack can be really bad, because if the blood vessel causing it is not opened quickly, the patient could die. But if the vessel is opened quickly, the patient can go back to leading a normal life after they have recovered. If the heart attack starves a big area of heart muscle of oxygen for a long time, it can also cause heart failure.

      Heart failure is when the bottom chambers of the heart don’t pump very well anymore, so the rest of the body is not getting enough oxygen or nutrients. Patients feel very breathless, their legs get swollen with fluid because the heart isn’t pumping well enough, and they can’t do all the things they would like to be able to do in their life. Some may not be able to walk very far, or lie flat to go to sleep. There are very special pacemakers that we can put into some patients with heart failure to try and make the heart pump better, but they still have to take a lot of medication, and 30% of people that receive these special pacemakers, don’t feel any better at all.