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Heart and Vascular Conditions

Cardiologists and cardiac surgeons at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago are experts at treating all kinds of heart and vascular problems. These are some of the conditions they address. Please call (888) 352-RUSH (7874) if you have questions about specific conditions not listed here.

  • Angina is chest pain or discomfort that occurs when the heart isn’t receiving enough blood. It is a symptom of an underlying heart problem, usually coronary artery disease.
  • An aortic aneurysm is a bulging section in the aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart into the chest and abdomen.
  • Aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve that decreases blood flow into the aorta, the main artery carrying blood out of the heart.
  • At the Rush Electrophysiology, Arrhythmia and Pacemaker Program, you'll find electrophysiologists who specialize in caring for heartbeat irregularities and provide second opinions. They offer all of the most advanced treatment options, including cardiac ablation and leadless pacing (e.g., Micra).
  • Atrial fibrillation, the most common type of arrhythmia, is a serious condition that causes an irregular, and often fast, heartbeat. This makes the heart pump blood less effectively, weakening the heart and potentially leading to blood clots, stroke or congestive heart failure.
  • Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart weakens and can’t pump enough blood throughout the body. It doesn’t mean your heart has stopped working or is about to stop working, but it is a serious condition that needs immediate medical attention.  
  • Coronary artery disease, also known as ischemic heart disease, occurs when the heart can’t get enough blood and oxygen. This is caused by atherosclerosis a buildup of cholesterol and other material, called plaque, along the inner walls of the arteries.
  • Edema refers to swelling caused by an extra build-up of fluid in your body’s tissues. Most often, it affects the feet, ankles, legs arms, hands and face, but it can affect any part of the body.
  • A heart attack (myocardial infarction) occurs when part of your heart muscle is damaged or dies due to a lack of blood flow to the area, which deprives it of oxygen.
  • A heart murmur is an abnormal or extra sound from a heartbeat. While the majority of cases are harmless, some signal underlying problems that require medical attention.
  • Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of arteries as the heart pumps blood. High blood pressure (hypertension) occurs when that force is too high and begins harming the heart and blood vessels.
  • High cholesterol, having too much cholesterol in your bloodstream, can lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and other heart problems.
  • Triglycerides, a type of fat in your blood, are an important measure of your health, especially your heart. If your triglyceride levels are too high, you may have a higher risk of coronary artery disease, diabetes or heart disease.  
  • Mitral valve prolapse occurs when the mitral valve, which controls blood flow in the left side of the heart, doesn’t close tightly.
  • Mitral valve stenosis — also called mitral stenosis — is a heart condition where the valve controlling the flow of blood from the upper chamber to the lower chamber on the left side of your heart is blocked. When your blood can't flow easily, it backs up into the upper chamber of your heart, then into your lungs.
  • Peripheral vascular disease, also known as peripheral artery disease, occurs when a buildup of plaque and other substances blocks or narrows arteries, limiting or halting blood flow.
  • Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure in the arteries that lead from the heart to the lungs.
  • Pulmonary stenosis is a rare heart defect that results in a narrowing of the pulmonary valve, the one-way opening that lets blood flow from the heart to the lungs. The areas just before or after the pulmonary valve might also be affected.
  • Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

    Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a type of arrhythmia where the heart beats too fast because of a glitch with the heart’s electrical system originating in the two top chambers (atria). During episodes of SVT — which come on suddenly and are usually brief — the heart rate speeds up to as high as 300 beats a minute (a normal rate is 60 to 100 beats a minute). SVT may require treatment if it happens frequently, lasts longer than a few minutes or causes symptoms.