Heart Disease

Frequently Asked Questions:


What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease keeps the heart from functioning as it should. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. The most common form of heart disease is coronary artery disease that often shows itself as a heart attack.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of heart disease is important.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Chest discomfort usually in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body such as pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Physical inactivity
  • Other signs that may include a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

What is Congestive Heart Failure? (CHF)

Congestive Heart Failure or CHF occurs when your heart is not pumping or circulating blood as it should. Heart damage can occur over time and may be the result from various conditions such as coronary artery disease, valve disease, high blood pressure or diabetes. As your heart weakens it circulates blood through your body at a slower rate. This increases the pressure on your heart and lungs. Not all conditions leading to heart disease are reversible, but treatment can improve your symptoms.

Learn more about heart failure from Dr. Richard Simons of Nanticoke Cardiology.

What is Arrhythmia?

Your heart has an internal electrical system. As the electrical signal fires, it causes the chambers in your heart to contract and relax. With arrhythmia your heart may beat too fast or too slow, not allowing your heart to pump enough blood.

Learn more about arrhythmia from Dr. Alvaro Buenano from Nanticoke Cardiology:

Dr. Alvaro Buenaño es fluido en español. Para hacer una cita con el Dr. Buenaño, llamar Nanticoke Cardiología en 302-629-9099.

What is Atrial Fibrillation? (A-Fib)

Atrial Fibrillation or A-Fib is one of the most common types of arrhythmia.

What is Cardiac Ischemia?

Myocardial or Cardiac Ischemia occurs when the blood flow to the heart is decreased due to a blockage in the coronary arteries. The blockage reduces the amount of oxygen going to the heart and thereby decreases your ability to exercise. A complete blockage may lead to a heart attack. Myocardial ischemia can also cause serious abnormal heart rhythm.


Common ways to diagnose heart disease include:

  • Physician Exam
  • Blood Tests
  • Chest X-Ray
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) – Using small electrodes, your heart’s rhythm, frequency of beats, and electrical conduction are recorded. This shows if you’ve had a heart attack or if you have an abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Echocardiograph (Echo) – Using an ultrasound machine, sound waves bounce off the heart muscle producing an image of the structure of the heart and its motion. This shows how well your heart is pumping.
  • Exercise Stress Test – Walking on a treadmill, your heart rate, breathing and blood pressure are monitored. This shows how your heart responds to stress and changes in the blood supply to your heart during exercise.
  • Coronary Angiography – A small tube or catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in your upper thigh or arm. Contrast dye is injected and an X-Ray is used to take pictures. This shows blockages or narrowing of arteries reducing blood flow to the heart.

Common Treatments

  • Angioplasty – Also known as PCI or Percutaneous Coronary Intervention or Balloon Angioplasty, this involves a small tube with a deflated balloon attached being threaded into the coronary artery. The balloon is then inflated to widen an area where blood flow has been reduced. This is often done in combination with a stent implant.
  • Atherectomy – This is similar to an angioplasty but also uses a rotating shaver to cut away plaque. Removing plaque build up improves blood flow.
  • Stenting – A wire mesh tube is permanently implanted to prop open an artery and improve blood flow.


Cardiac Rehabilitation is very effective in helping with recovery and provides resources to help you become and remain active. Our Cardiac Rehabilitation program is nationally certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR).