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Discuss Advantages and Disadvantages of Treatments Relating to Coronary Heart Disease

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

 Did you know that coronary heart disease (CHD) is one of the major causes of death in the UK?

CHD is caused by fatty deposits building up inside the arteries supplying the heart. Over time, this reduces the blood flow through the arteries, resulting in the heart muscles becoming deprived of oxygen. The heart needs glucose and oxygen to respire. Through respiration, energy is released, which is used to contract the heart muscle, allowing blood to be pumped around the body. Without glucose and oxygen, heart cells might eventually die, possibly leading to a heart attack.

 

Image of the coronary artery in the heart

 

There are many possible factors that can lead to CHD, such as a poor diet that is high in saturated fat, stress and smoking, which increases blood pressure. Often, certain lifestyle changes can be made in order to lower the risk of getting CHD.

For someone who has CHD, there are different ways to treat it. Let's look at this further below.


 

Statins

 

Image of medicine

 

 

Statins are a group of medicines that work to lower the level of cholesterol in your blood. Too much cholesterol in your blood can lead to fatty deposits building up in your arteries.


Advantages:

Taking statins is a relatively easy way to lower cholesterol.


Disadvantages:

Statins may lead to unwanted side effects such as headaches, muscular pain and nausea.

Statins have to be taken on a long-term basis.


 

Stents

A stent is a small mesh tube that is used to widen arteries that are narrowed, blocked or weakened. The collapsed stent is put into the artery with a balloon inside it The balloon is then inflated and the stent increases in size, causing the blood flow through the artery to be increased.

 

image of heart disease and stent

 

 

Advantages:

The success rate is high.

Stents lower the risk of a heart attack.

They last for a long time.


Disadvantages:

There are sometimes complications such as bleeding, irregular heartbeat and infection.

Arteries sometimes reclose.

 Drugs need to be taken to stop the blood clotting.

 

 

Coronary artery bypass

Coronary artery bypass is a surgical procedure that can be used to treat CHD.  Often the procedures mentioned above would be tried first before resorting to bypass surgery.

 

Image of bypass surgery

 

In a coronary artery bypass, blood is diverted around the blocked arteries, so the rest of the heart gets a good supply of oxygen. Often a blood vessel from another part of the body is attached near to the blocked artery supplying your heart. Having a bypass might reduce the chances of having a heart attack. 


Advantages:

Symptoms like chest pain or breathlessness often improve.

 

Disadvantages: 

There is a risk of complications during surgery.


 

Heart Valve Disease 

Veins have valves to stop the blood flowing in the wrong direction, so the blood flows in the correct direction in the heart. If the valve doesn't close properly, blood will move back into the heart. This can put great strain on the heart, as it then has to work harder to pump the much-needed blood around the body. Sufferers may feel unusually tired and constantly out of breath.

 

Image of veins

 

 

Some people might be born with heart valve disease, while others might have it as a side effect of a heart attack. The faulty valves can be replaced with mechanical valves made from man-made material such as metal, or biological valves which are made from human or animal tissue.


Advantages:

The success rate is high - they prolong patients' lives.

The new valve can last up to 20 years.


Disadvantages:

It might be necessary to have blood thinners to stop clotting.

There is always a risk of serious complications with surgery.

 

Heart failure

Heart failure is a serious condition that tends to get worse over time and can lead to death. It's often the result of many different problems affecting the heart, like those mentioned above. The heart often becomes very weak and can no longer pump blood around the body. In these cases, a donor heart can be transplanted. This means a healthy heart from a person who's recently died will replace the patient's damaged heart.  However, a heart transplant is very risky and there are many complications.  The patient's immune system might not recognise the transplanted heart and reject it. Even if the transplant is successful, the transplanted heart may not work properly.

 Artificial hearts have been used temporarily to keep people alive while they wait for a heart transplant. The artificial heart is not living, so needs a power source - early power sources were so large that the patient had to stay in hospital.  New advances mean that the patient can now use a portable power supply and can go home.


Advantages:

The artificial heart is not rejected by the body.

 Keeps the patient alive while waiting for a transplant.

 

 

Disadvantages:

Surgery can lead to bleeding and infection.

Blood does not flow as easily and can lead to clots, so blood thinners need to be taken.

Parts of the heart can wear out or stop working..


 

In the following activity, you will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of treatments relating to coronary heart disease.

Faulty valve disease can place a lot of strain on the heart. It is often treated by replacing faulty valves with biological or mechanical valves. 

 

What are the advantages of replacing faulty valves?

 

Image of veins

Replacement valves can last a long time, up to 20 years

The success rate of surgery is low

The success rate of surgery is high

A stent is a small tube used to widen narrowed, blocked or weakened arteries and is used to treat coronary heart disease.

 

What is a disadvantage of using stents to treat CHD?
 

image of heart disease and stent

 

Stents lower the risk of a heart attack

Stents increase the chances of infection

Stents last for a long time

What are some of the risks of having a stent fitted in the treatment of CHD? 

Arteries will widen

Arteries might reclose

Blood will flow easier

Bleeding can occur

Coronary heart disease is one of the major causes of death in the UK.

 

Describe this disease by matching up the sentences below.

Column A

Column B

Coronary heart disease is caused by fatty material...
...die, which can lead to a heart attack
This reduces the blood flow through the arteries r...
...in the heart muscles becoming deprived of oxyge...
Through respiration, energy is released which...
... is used to contract the heart muscle, allowing...
Without glucose and oxygen, heart cells might even...
...up inside the arteries supplying the heart

What is a heart transplant and what are some disadvantages of this procedure? 

 

Image of the aorta labelled on heart

Column A

Column B

Coronary heart disease is caused by fatty material...
...die, which can lead to a heart attack
This reduces the blood flow through the arteries r...
...in the heart muscles becoming deprived of oxyge...
Through respiration, energy is released which...
... is used to contract the heart muscle, allowing...
Without glucose and oxygen, heart cells might even...
...up inside the arteries supplying the heart

Artificial hearts have been used temporarily to keep people alive while they wait for a heart transplant. 


Describe how an artificial heart is different from a normal heart. 

The artificial heart needs an external power supply

The artificial heart has ventricles and atria

There are tubes that come outside the body

Having a high blood cholesterol level is a risk factor of  CHD. Statins are a group of medications that are used to lower cholesterol.

 

What are some of the complications caused by taking statins?

 

Image of medicine

 

Statins can cause headaches and nausea

Statins are uncomplicated to take

Statins can be obtained easily from the doctor

Statins have to be taken on a long-term basis

 

Katie was asked by her science teacher to find out some disadvantages to using artificial hearts for transplants.

 

Which are the two correct answers that Katie should give to her teacher?

 

 a

 Keeps the patient alive while waiting for a transplant.

 b

 Blood does not flow as easily and can lead to clots, so blood thinners need to be taken. 

c

 The artificial heart is not rejected by the body. 

d

 Parts of the heart can wear out or stop working.

 

a

b

c

d

Coronary artery bypass is a procedure used to treat coronary heart disease.

 

What happens in a coronary artery bypass? 

 

a coronary heat bypass

 A tube is inserted into the blocked artery to widen it

Medication is taken to unblock the arteries

 Blood is supplied around the blocked artery - the rest of the heart gets a good supply of oxygen

Coronary artery bypass is a procedure used to treat coronary heart disease.


What are some of the advantages of having this procedure done? 

 

Unscramble the underlined words below to answer this question:

 

Symptoms such as athsnessbreles, estch pain and the risk of heart ttaacks are lowered.

 A tube is inserted into the blocked artery to widen it

Medication is taken to unblock the arteries

 Blood is supplied around the blocked artery - the rest of the heart gets a good supply of oxygen

  • Question 1

Faulty valve disease can place a lot of strain on the heart. It is often treated by replacing faulty valves with biological or mechanical valves. 

 

What are the advantages of replacing faulty valves?

 

Image of veins

CORRECT ANSWER
Replacement valves can last a long time, up to 20 years
The success rate of surgery is high
EDDIE SAYS
How did you get on with this first question? Replacing faulty valves has a high success rate. This means that sufferers can be relieved of symptoms for quite some time, increasing their quality of life.
  • Question 2

A stent is a small tube used to widen narrowed, blocked or weakened arteries and is used to treat coronary heart disease.

 

What is a disadvantage of using stents to treat CHD?
 

image of heart disease and stent

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Stents increase the chances of infection
EDDIE SAYS
Stents have helped many people with CHD , often lowering the risk of having a heart attack and lasting for a long time. However, there can also be complications. For instance, there can occasionally be bleeding as a result of the procedure and often medication needs to be taken as well. The problem mentioned above, in option two, is that there is an increased risk of infection from this operation. Once again, all the risks and benefits need to to be carefully considered before entering into any form of surgical treatment.
  • Question 3

What are some of the risks of having a stent fitted in the treatment of CHD? 

CORRECT ANSWER
Arteries might reclose
Bleeding can occur
EDDIE SAYS
All four of the options above could occur following the fitting of a stent. However, two of them are hoped for results! The whole purpose of the procedure is to widen the arteries and to make the blood flow more easily. Therefore, neither of these options can be seen as risks! The risks mentioned are that the arteries might reclose and also that bleeding sometimes occurs. Complications can arise in any treatment. Doctors will weigh up the risks and the benefits to the patient before suggesting any treatment.
  • Question 4

Coronary heart disease is one of the major causes of death in the UK.

 

Describe this disease by matching up the sentences below.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Coronary heart disease is caused ...
...up inside the arteries supplyi...
This reduces the blood flow throu...
...in the heart muscles becoming ...
Through respiration, energy is re...
... is used to contract the heart...
Without glucose and oxygen, heart...
...die, which can lead to a heart...
EDDIE SAYS
There are many contributory factors in the development of coronary heart disease, but the end result is a build up of fatty material in the arteries. Anything obstructing blood flow in the arteries of the heart can be problematic. The heart has to work extra hard to overcome the obstructions, often resulting in damage to the organ.
  • Question 5

What is a heart transplant and what are some disadvantages of this procedure? 

 

Image of the aorta labelled on heart

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Well done if you managed to fill all of the blanks in correctly. A heart transplant is a huge procedure which brings many dangers and possible complications. Apart from the danger of the actual surgery, there is an increased risk of infection following the procedure. After all of the trauma of the operation, it might all be for nothing since often a donor heart is rejected by the patient's immune system. It is clearly not a procedure to be taken lightly and usually the people who have heart transplants are those who have severe issues with their heart and have tried other medical treatments with no success.
  • Question 6

Artificial hearts have been used temporarily to keep people alive while they wait for a heart transplant. 


Describe how an artificial heart is different from a normal heart. 

CORRECT ANSWER
The artificial heart needs an external power supply
There are tubes that come outside the body
EDDIE SAYS
Artificial hearts can be the bridge to fill the gap before a patient receives a donor's heart. They can prolong the patient’s life while waiting for a heart transplant. They are different from an actual heart because they are not living things and so wouldn't have atria or ventricles. They can only work if connected to a working external power supply and so there will be tubes and wires that come outside the body.
  • Question 7

Having a high blood cholesterol level is a risk factor of  CHD. Statins are a group of medications that are used to lower cholesterol.

 

What are some of the complications caused by taking statins?

 

Image of medicine

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Statins can cause headaches and nausea
Statins have to be taken on a long-term basis
EDDIE SAYS
All four of the above options are factors in the use of statins. Two of them, however, are advantages rather than problems! They are easily obtained from the doctor and straightforward to take. The biggest issue with taking statins is that it is a long-term treatment and is therefore more likely to produce side effects. One of these is an increase in feelings of nausea and also recurrent headaches. The complications have to be considered and weighed against the benefit of lowering cholesterol levels in the blood. Cholesterol is a fat that's needed by the body for important structures like cell membranes, but too much cholesterol can lead to fatty deposits in the arteries of the heart and a reduction in blood flow around the body.
  • Question 8

 

Katie was asked by her science teacher to find out some disadvantages to using artificial hearts for transplants.

 

Which are the two correct answers that Katie should give to her teacher?

 

 a

 Keeps the patient alive while waiting for a transplant.

 b

 Blood does not flow as easily and can lead to clots, so blood thinners need to be taken. 

c

 The artificial heart is not rejected by the body. 

d

 Parts of the heart can wear out or stop working.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
b
d
EDDIE SAYS
Artificial hearts do a really important job and they often have been used temporarily to keep people alive while they wait for a heart transplant. However, there are complications to using artificial hearts because they are not the body's natural way of dealing with circulation.
  • Question 9

Coronary artery bypass is a procedure used to treat coronary heart disease.

 

What happens in a coronary artery bypass? 

 

a coronary heat bypass

CORRECT ANSWER
 Blood is supplied around the blocked artery - the rest of the heart gets a good supply of oxygen
EDDIE SAYS
Coronary artery bypass is a major surgical procedure. It's often carried out if other treatments haven't worked or aren't suitable. In this procedure, blood is taken around the blocked artery to ensure that the heart receives the oxygen it needs. Did you spot what procedures the other options were referring to? Option one is talking about the inserting of a stent into a blocked artery and option two refers to statins.
  • Question 10

Coronary artery bypass is a procedure used to treat coronary heart disease.


What are some of the advantages of having this procedure done? 

 

Unscramble the underlined words below to answer this question:

 

Symptoms such as athsnessbreles, estch pain and the risk of heart ttaacks are lowered.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Coronary artery bypass reduces many symptoms and provides much relief to patients. What a lot of things there are to consider when making decisions regarding coronary care. All the possible treatments come with a combination of benefits and risks and these need to be weighed up against each other before making a final decision. Well done for completing this activity.
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