What are the different types of heart disease?

Following are different types of heart disease:
  • Coronary artery disease develops when coronary arteries become damaged or diseased.
  • Aortic valve disease occurs when the aortic valve doesn’t work properly.
  • Mitral valve disease occurs when the mitral valve doesn’t work properly.
  • Tricuspic valve disease occurs when the tricuspid valve doesn’t work properly.
This content originally appeared online in "The Patient Guide to Heart, Lung, and Esophageal Surgery" from the Society of Thoracic Surgery.
Heart disease is the term used to describe a number of ailments affecting the heart, blood vessels, and arteries.

These conditions include:
  • Coronary artery disease -- also referred to as coronary heart disease, this is a disease caused by fat, cholesterol and plaque build-up inside the artery walls, making them narrow. Coronary artery disease occurs when the heart does not get the oxygen and nutrients that it needs to function properly because of decreased blood flow. Coronary artery disease can lead to symptoms such as chest pain or pressure (angina), irregular heartbeat, and heart attack. The same build-up of fat and cholesterol that occurs in the arteries going to the heart can occur in the arteries going to the brain, causing stroke, or to the legs, causing calf or buttock pain, called claudication.
  • Valvular heart disease -- a disease that occurs when any of the four heart valves is damaged and becomes leaky (incompetent), causing backflow of blood when the valve should be closed, or narrowed (stenosis), which makes it difficult for blood to flow forward.
  • Congestive heart failure -- a condition caused by a variety of other conditions -- including high blood pressure, coronary artery disease and valvular heart disease -- that develops when the heart cannot adequately pump blood through the body.
James L. Januzzi, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Abnormalities may affect all aspects of the heart. 

The heart is a muscle, and as such, abnormalities of heart muscle may occur, including abnormal thickening, weakening of the squeezing strength, as well as stiffening of the muscle. 

The heart is an electrical organ, so arrhythmias (abnormalities of heart rhythm, and hence abnormality of the electrical system) may affect the top of the heart--relatively commonly--causing atrial fibrillation, for example, while arrhythmias of the bottom chambers of the heart can be more risky, causing ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation.

The heart has valves, and commonly minor abnormalities of heart valves are found. These may lead to heart murmurs on physical exam (nothing more than a sound the physician hears when they listen to your heart); more importantly, however, if valvular heart disease is advanced, it may lead to severe leaking or narrowing of the valve, causing symptoms of congestion, chest pain, dizziness, or heart dysfunction.

The heart has blood vessels to feed all the structures, and it is commonly known that cholesterol buildup may cause narrowing of these blood vessels. Coronary artery disease is common, and may lead to a heart attack, particularly if the disease abruptly ruptures open and blocks the artery acutely. Coronary disease may be well-prevented with control of risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, or blood sugar levels, and with exercise.

Other causes of heart disease include abnormalities of the great vessels (such as aortic aneurysms), the lining outside of the heart (the pericardium), and can also include congenital lesions present at birth such as holes in the wall of the heart.

Merle Myerson, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

Cardiovascular specialist Dr. Merle Myerson discusses the different types of heart disease. Watch Dr. Myerson's video for important tips and information about heart health.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Heart disease comes in many forms and has many different causes, from hereditary factors to poor lifestyle choices. High blood pressure and high cholesterol can increase plaque formation inside the arteries, which can trigger a heart attack. High blood pressure also forces the heart to pump harder and harder, which can lead to an enlarged heart that can result in congestive heart failure. Over time, the aortic valve can calcify and stiffen, preventing blood flow and causing blood to leak back into the heart. What you may not realize is that these cardiovascular problems can occur as early as in your 20s.

This content originally appeared on

Heart or cardiovascular disease is a blanket term that actually covers different diseases of the heart and vascular systems of the body. The types of heart disease are:

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the most common form of heart disease. CAD is caused when the coronary arteries that supply the heart with oxygen and nutrients become narrowed or clogged. This can cause chest pain (angina), heart attack (myocardial infarction), and even sudden death.
  • Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart muscle is weakened and is no longer able to pump blood effectively. The most common symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, or swelling of the legs. Congestive heart failure is often the result of damage to the heart muscle caused by a heart attack.
  • Cardiac arrhythmia, or abnormal heartbeat, can be health-threatening if it keeps the heart from pumping efficiently. If this is the case, then an arrhythmia can contribute to congestive heart failure or even cause sudden cardiac death.
  • Stroke is caused when blood vessels bringing blood to the brain become narrowed or clogged.
  • Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is very similar to stroke but occurs in the arteries of the legs.
  • Valvular disease refers to damaged or malfunctioning valves of the heart, and an aneurysm is the abnormal widening or bulging of an artery due to a weakened arterial wall from severely clogged and hardened arteries.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.