Adult Heart Disease

Overview

Adult heart disease refers to problems that develop over time, which is different from heart defects that you are born with (congenital heart defects).

Structure of the Heart

Structure of the Heart

The heart’s job is to collect blood from all areas of the body, pump the blood to the lungs where it receives oxygen, collect the oxygen-rich blood from the lungs, and pump it to all areas of the body.

The heart is composed of four chambers or rooms. The top two chambers are called atriums, and are the “collecting” chambers of the heart. The bottom two chambers are called ventricles, and are the “pumping” chambers of the heart.

The right side of the heart collects oxygen-poor blood from the body and pumps it to the lungs. The left side of the heart collects oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and pumps it to the body. 

The left and right sides of the heart are divided by walls called septums. There is an atrial septum that separates the right and left atriums, and a ventricular septum that separates the right and left ventricles.

Illustration of the human heartIllustration by Steven P. Goldberg, MD

Types of Adult Heart Disease

Types of Adult Heart Disease

Some of the different types of heart disease that are treated by cardiothoracic surgeons include:

  • Coronary Artery Disease 
  • Aortic Valve Disease 
  • Mitral Valve Disease 
  • Tricupsid Valve Disease
  • Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms 
  • Cardiac Rhythm Disturbances 

Some cardiothoracic surgeons also can perform heart transplants for patients with heart failure.