Arthur VanZee, MD
Specialty: Internal Medicine
Location and Office HoursSt Charles Community Health Clinic
Saint Charles, VA 24282
- Lee Regional Medical Center
What is cardiovascular disease (CVD)?
SCAI answeredThe human body has different systems for handling different functions. The cardiovascular system is responsible for distributing blood throughout your body. It includes the heart and blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease, or CVD, refers to a broad range of diseases that affect this system. Among them are coronary artery disease, heart attack, stroke, peripheral artery disease (PAD), renal (kidney) artery disease, heart failure and high blood pressure. While these conditions may affect different parts of the body, they often share the same underlying cause: atherosclerosis, or “hardening” of the arteries.
What are the dangers of pregnancy if I have BAV disease?
Pregnancy puts added stress on the heart and major blood vessels so it is important that you consult with your cardiologist, who regularly treats patients with bicuspid aortic valve disease (an abnormality of the aortic valve) and/or aortic aneurysm (enlargement of the aorta), before becoming pregnant. Your health care team will determine if it is safe for you to become pregnant based on the size of your aorta, your heart muscle function and the severity of your aortic valve disease. Some women with moderate or severe aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aortic valve opening) who become pregnant have needed surgery for their valve after delivery, earlier than expected due to accelerated progression of the disease.
What are the complications from aortic dissection?
Allan Stewart, MD, Cardiothoracic Surgery, answered on behalf of Columbia University Department of Surgery
Type A aortic dissection is associated with many acute and chronic complications if untreated. The dissection may cause:
- Exsanguinating hemorrhage: aortic rupture causing extreme blood loss
- Aortic valve incompetence: failure of the aortic valve leading to rapid heart failure
- Coronary artery dissection: loss of blood from the coronary arteries to the heart muscle causing a heart attack (myocardial infarction)
- Cardiac tamponade: accumulation of blood in the pericardium (the sac that contains the heart) leading to an inability of the heart to pump blood.
- Stroke: interruption of blood flow to the brain may cause a debilitating or fatal stroke
Aortic dissection can also cause a process known as malperfusion syndrome. Because blood flows in the walls of the aorta rather than through the vessel itself, not enough blood may reach its intended destination. This condition may cause organ failure, most frequently involving the kidneys and intestines. The result may be temporary or permanent kidney failure and intestinal injury, which may necessitate extensive bowel resection.
See all Kidney Disease questions