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Compare Coronary Heart Disease Treatments

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 (called atheroma) 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, such as changing the types of food eaten and by giving up smoking cigarettes. 

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 might cause 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, so that the blood flow through the artery is 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 can be complications such as bleeding, irregular heartbeat and infection.

Arteries sometimes reclose.

Drugs need to be taken to stop 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 the heart. Having a bypass might reduce the chances of having a heart attack. 


Advantages:

It can reduce symptoms such as chest pain or breathlessness.

 

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 titanium and carbon, or biological valves which are made from human or animal tissue such as pigs, cows or horses.


Advantages:

The success rate is high - they can prolong the life of patients.

The new valve can last up to 20 years.

Patients with biological valves don't need to take blood-thinning medication.


Disadvantages:

It might be necessary to take blood thinners to prevent clotting.

Biological valves often need replacing after 10 - 20 years.

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.

It 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 compare different coronary heart disease treatments.

 

A stent is sometimes used to widen narrowed, blocked or weakened arteries.  

Artificial valves are often used to replace faulty valves found in the heart or veins of people who have heart valve disease.

Both of these treatments have some risks and complications.

 

What is one complication of these procedures?

 

image of heart disease and stent

The success rate of stents is high

Artificial valves last a long time

Blood thinners need to be taken to stop the blood from clotting

What are some of the risks of having a stent fitted to treat 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...
...up inside the arteries supplying the heart
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...
...die which could lead to a heart attack

 

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

 

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

An artificial heart needs an external power supply

An artificial heart has ventricles and atria

There are tubes that come outside the body

Statins and stents are used for treating different conditions.

 

Explain what statins and stents are used for.

 

Image of medicine

Statins are used to widen arteries that are blocked, narrowed or weakened

Statins are used to lower cholesterol

Stents are used to widen arteries that are blocked, narrowed or weakened

Stents are used to lower cholesterol

 

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

 

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

 

  a 

   They can keep 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.  

  Parts of the heart can wear out or stop working.

Statins are used to widen arteries that are blocked, narrowed or weakened

Statins are used to lower cholesterol

Stents are used to widen arteries that are blocked, narrowed or weakened

Stents are used to lower cholesterol

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 differences between biological and mechanical valves?

 

Image of veins

 

Mechanical valves are made from man-made materials such as titanium

Mechanical valves are made from animal or human tissue

Biological valves are made from human or animal tissue such as from cows and horses

Biological valves are made from man-made materials

Coronary artery bypass, replacement valves and heart transplants are all treatments to do with the heart and CHD.

 

How else are they similar?

They are all risk-free

They all require surgery

They are all simple procedures

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

 

How is a coronary artery bypass different from a heart transplant?

 

coronary artery bypass surgery

They are all risk-free

They all require surgery

They are all simple procedures

There are many advantages and disadvantages to the different treatments for CHD.

 

Decide which treatments match the advantages and disadvantages shown in the table below.

 

Treatment Advantages Disadvantages
A

Easy to use 

Unwanted side effects such as headaches, muscular pain and nausea

Have to be taken on a long-term basis

B

The success rate is high

Lowers the risk of a heart attack

They last for a long time

Complications like bleeding, irregular heartbeat and infection

Arteries sometimes reclose

Drugs need to be taken to stop blood clotting

C

Improvement of symptoms like chest pain or breathlessness 

Risk of complications during surgery

D

The success rate is high -  they prolong the life of patients

The new valve can last up to 20 years

May need to have blood thinners to stop clotting

There is always a risk of serious complications with surgery

E

Lifesaving procedure

The artificial heart is not rejected by the body

 The artificial heart keeps the patient alive while waiting for a transplant

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

 

  • Question 1

A stent is sometimes used to widen narrowed, blocked or weakened arteries.  

Artificial valves are often used to replace faulty valves found in the heart or veins of people who have heart valve disease.

Both of these treatments have some risks and complications.

 

What is one complication of these procedures?

 

image of heart disease and stent

CORRECT ANSWER
Blood thinners need to be taken to stop the blood from clotting
EDDIE SAYS
The first two options here are good things that happen with these treatments, not complications. Stents and artificial valves last a long time in the body and have helped to prevent heart attacks and alleviate other symptoms of heart valve disease. A common complication of these treatments is that blood thinning medicines will need to be taken to prevent the clotting of the blood.
  • Question 2

What are some of the risks of having a stent fitted to treat CHD?

CORRECT ANSWER
Arteries might reclose
Bleeding can occur
EDDIE SAYS
All four of the options above could occur when a stent is fitted. However, two of them are desired outcomes and not risks! The whole purpose of the procedure is to widen the arteries to allow blood to flow more easily. The problems outlined above are that bleeding could occur and also that the arteries might reclose. Complications can arise in any treatment. Doctors will weigh up the risks and benefits to the patient before suggesting any treatment.
  • Question 3

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 could lead to a hear...
EDDIE SAYS
It is important to understand what coronary heart disease is before getting to grips with the different treatments on offer. There are many factors that contribute to the development of the condition, but the result is that fatty material builds up in the arteries, reducing blood flow. 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 causing damage to the organ.
  • Question 4

 

Artificial hearts are sometimes 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
An artificial heart needs an external power supply
There are tubes that come outside the body
EDDIE SAYS
Artificial hearts can be a bridge to fill the gap before a patient receives a donor's heart. It can prolong the patient’s life while waiting for a heart transplant. It is not the same as a normal heart, however. It is not a living organ and only works if connected to an external power supply with tubes and wires coming outside the body. Not being a living organ can have one advantage though, it is not going to be rejected by the patient's body.
  • Question 5

Statins and stents are used for treating different conditions.

 

Explain what statins and stents are used for.

 

Image of medicine

CORRECT ANSWER
Statins are used to lower cholesterol
Stents are used to widen arteries that are blocked, narrowed or weakened
EDDIE SAYS
Make sure you know your stents and statins!! They are both important ways of treating CHD, but do so in different ways. Statins are medicines that are taken to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood, while stents are tubes that can be fitted into blocked arteries to enlarge them and increase blood flow. Be careful not to muddle them up.
  • Question 6

 

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

 

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

 

  a 

   They can keep 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.  

  Parts of the heart can wear out or stop working.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Artificial hearts do a really important job, they often have been used temporarily to keep people alive while they wait for a heart transplant. They also have the advantage of not being rejected by the patient's own body. However, there are complications to using artificial hearts as mentioned above, so it isn't always an easy decision to make.
  • Question 7

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 differences between biological and mechanical valves?

 

Image of veins

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Mechanical valves are made from man-made materials such as titanium
Biological valves are made from human or animal tissue such as from cows and horses
EDDIE SAYS
This was really a question of common sense and knowing that the word biological means to do with living things. So, biological valves are made from the tissues of humans and other animals, while mechanical valves are made from materials such as titanium. Mechanical valves last a lot longer than biological valves but require the patient to take blood-thinning medication to prevent clotting.
  • Question 8

Coronary artery bypass, replacement valves and heart transplants are all treatments to do with the heart and CHD.

 

How else are they similar?

CORRECT ANSWER
They all require surgery
EDDIE SAYS
Coronary artery bypass, replacement valves and heart transplants are all surgical procedures which carry the risk of complications, such as bleeding and infection.
  • Question 9

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

 

How is a coronary artery bypass different from a heart transplant?

 

coronary artery bypass surgery

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Do you know the difference between these two important procedures? A coronary artery bypass is a major surgical procedure. It's often carried out if other treatments have been tried and failed. It involves the diversion of blood from a blocked artery to a healthy blood vessel, so that blood carrying oxygen can continue to reach the heart and other parts of the body. A heart transplant is a life-saving procedure which is usually the last resort when other treatments haven't worked. It requires there to be a donor heart available and carries enormous risks both during the operation and afterwards, since the patient's body might reject the new heart.
  • Question 10

There are many advantages and disadvantages to the different treatments for CHD.

 

Decide which treatments match the advantages and disadvantages shown in the table below.

 

Treatment Advantages Disadvantages
A

Easy to use 

Unwanted side effects such as headaches, muscular pain and nausea

Have to be taken on a long-term basis

B

The success rate is high

Lowers the risk of a heart attack

They last for a long time

Complications like bleeding, irregular heartbeat and infection

Arteries sometimes reclose

Drugs need to be taken to stop blood clotting

C

Improvement of symptoms like chest pain or breathlessness 

Risk of complications during surgery

D

The success rate is high -  they prolong the life of patients

The new valve can last up to 20 years

May need to have blood thinners to stop clotting

There is always a risk of serious complications with surgery

E

Lifesaving procedure

The artificial heart is not rejected by the body

 The artificial heart keeps the patient alive while waiting for a transplant

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

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
This is a great summary of the different treatments, perfect for revision! How do you feel about this topic now? Hopefully, you are feeling more confident!
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