View Full Version : Heart Conditions that...

05-17-2005, 04:59 AM
I have a short story called Alice where I need some help when it comes to a heart condition the main character. It has to be something that can be life threatening when the patient is under stress that would eventually lead to perhaps a stroke or the heart stopping all together. I'm leaning towards a stroke but the main character is young and then would need to have a weak heart that had some sort of condition from the time she was born.

Anyone have any ideas? :Hail:

Tish Davidson
05-17-2005, 09:43 AM
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is suddenly interrupted or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts, spilling blood into the spaces surrounding brain cells. Brain cells die when they no longer receive oxygen and nutrients from the blood or there is sudden bleeding into or around the brain. The symptoms of a stroke include sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding speech; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble with walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination; or sudden severe headache with no known cause. There are two forms of stroke: ischemic - blockage of a blood vessel supplying the brain, and hemorrhagic - bleeding into or around the brain.

A possible heart condition is ventricular fibrulation (VF) is a very fast, irregular heart rhythm in the lower heart chambers (ventricles). During VF the heart quivers and pumps little or no blood to the body. Consciousness is lost in seconds. If not treated immediately, VF will cause sudden cardiac arrest. VF is responsible for 75% to 85% of sudden deaths in persons with heart problems. VF is the primary cause of sudden cardiac death (SCD).

Many people don't know they are at risk for this condition until it happens.

VF is usually caused by a reduced amount of oxygen reaching the heart (ischemia) but can also be caused by electrolyte imbalances, acid-base disturbances, toxic responses due to proarrhythmic drugs, hyperthermia/hypothermia, drowning or any other situation where oxygen is cut off. Untreated, VF causes loss of oxygen to vital organs, absence of a pulse, loss of consciousness and death. In the US: the incidence of arrhythmias is greater than 4,300,000 cases. VF has been described as the initial rhythm in almost 70% of out-of-hospital arrests.

05-18-2005, 12:28 AM
Thanks Tish! Any extra tidbits on ischemic stroke and/or electrolyte imbalances?

Tish Davidson
05-24-2005, 10:37 PM
Sorry, really busy. I wrote a whole nursing review book on fluids and electrolytes about 6 years ago, so I'll give this some thought. The electrolytes that seem to cause the most problems in the area you are interested in are calcium and potassium. This week is crazy, but I'll see what I can dig up when I catch my breath.

05-30-2005, 05:51 AM
Thanks! I shall be waiting for you to return and then I'll have to rewrite the story. I'll get tazered if I don't just finish it and then begin to rewrite later. :flag:

06-02-2005, 08:05 AM
As far as I know, heart failure can happen at young ages. You said your main character gets into a fit of stress, that can very well lead to one, healthy or not. My grandma is a nurse, well, used to be, and she's dealt with many situations. She also I think has went into cardiac arrest. She went into something with her heart, and it affected her whole body for some reason. {I think because shes fat therefore the heart affects the body more than normal..} but if you'd like I could get information from her.

Kathie Freeman
06-02-2005, 09:45 PM
One silent condition that can cause a stroke is an aneurism, a sort of "pouch" in the wall of the blood vessel that can exist from birth without symptoms. A stressful situation can put pressure on the weakened area and cause it to burst. This would be known as a hemmoragic stroke.

Tish Davidson
06-20-2005, 12:37 AM
Try long Q-T syndrome. Here is a quick def from the American Heart Association

Long Q-T syndrome is an infrequent, hereditary disorder of the heart's electrical rhythm that can occur in otherwise-healthy people. It usually affects children or young adults.

Do a google search on it in quotes and you'll get plenty of info.