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The Cardiovascular System

Essay by   •  January 15, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  2,186 Words (9 Pages)  •  1,461 Views

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The Cardiovascular system is an amazing part of the human body. The Cardiovascular system includes organs which take up space throughout the body, including the heart and all of the body's veins, arteries and capillaries. It is the basic to life and the beat of one's heart is an automatic function which is controlled by the brain. It is important to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system since the blood and blood vessels are crucial to good health. The cardiovascular system is the workhorse of the body, continuously moving to push blood to the cells. If this important system ceases its work, the body dies. However when problems occur within the system then diseases can occur to change one's life completely. This happened to my father who had no problems, so he thought, until a simple physical exam that saved his life. I will discuss the heart and how damage can occur and also the psychological effects it has the human being. Some people look at the body and how to fix it but they don't look further into the person that is standing beside them. The anxiety and distress that is deep down within the patient and the family.

The cardiovascular system, also known as the circulatory system, is a system of the body comprised of the heart, the blood, and the blood vessels. This system is responsible for transporting blood. As the cardiovascular system moves blood throughout the body, cells receive oxygen and nutrients. In this system, the heart acts as a pump, forcing the blood to move through the body and relaxing so that more blood can enter its chambers. The heart is a muscle about the size of a fist and is divided into four chambers. These chambers are the right atrium, the left atrium, the right ventricle and the left ventricle. During the circulatory process, blood enters the heart's right atrium. As the heart contracts, blood moves through the tricuspid valve from the right atrium into the right ventricle. The blood then flows through the pulmonary valve into the lungs. This is where the blood picks up oxygen. At this point, the blood flows to the heart's left atrium and through the mitral valve into the left ventricle, from where it


then flows through the aortic valve into the aorta. Upon leaving the aorta, the blood travels to the remainder of the body, carrying much needed nutrients and oxygen to the body's cells.

When problems arise within the cardiovascular system, a person suffers from a cardiovascular disease. More than 60 kinds of cardiovascular diseases can cause serious health problems (Karlsson, Mattsson, Johansson, & Lidell, 2010). Common diseases include stroke or heart disease. Coronary artery disease is a chronic process that begins during youth and slowly progresses throughout life. Over time, fatty acid deposits form along the walls of the coronary arteries, which are the vessels that supply blood to the heart. This process is called atherosclerosis. The fatty deposits eventually block the blood flow to the heart resulting in chest pain, angina and complete blockage of an artery which causes a heart attack. When the blockage gets severe then open heart surgery is required. Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) is a surgery that takes a blood vessel from somewhere else in the body and uses it to bypass a vessel in the heart that has become damaged and blocked. This improves the blood supply to the heart and thus improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle.

The literature that I obtained was on anxiety and open heart surgery, well-being in patients and relatives after open heart surgery and discharge training following open heart surgery. I am interested in the psychological aspect of open heart on patients and their family. The article on anxiety and open heart surgery was the most informative article that I found. Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling that affects patients emotionally, psychologically and physically (Viars, 2009); it is characterized by a feeling of foreboding, dread or threat that could be real or imaginary (Viars, 2009). Anxiety after a major cardiac event can slow the patient's recovery and increase morbidity and mortality; during this time the patient is confronted with awareness of his or her mortality and has concerns regarding how open heart surgery will impact life, work, and relationship with others (Viars, 2009). I was not aware of how anxiety can


affect recovery. This article discussed the need to understand the impact of anxiety preoperatively and postoperatively because anxiety can cause slower wound healing in patients, increase rate of infection, increase postoperative pain and abnormal vital signs (Viars, 2009). As patients prepare for open heart surgery, the health care professionals need to explain the procedure and the perioperative expectations. If consistent education is provided then anxiety will decrease and the postoperative recovery rate will improve. The next article was on well being in patients and relative after open heart surgery. It discussed that well being is a holistic concept which entails four areas: an ability to be active, to have good interpersonal relationships, to have self esteem and to have rich and intense aesthetic experiences (Karlsson, Mattsson, Johansson, & Lidell, 2010). To be active means experiencing zest for life, being involved in something outside one's own person and having control of one's actions. Having good relationships means closeness, friendship and feelings of identity with a group. Having self esteem emphasizes the ability to cope and feeling satisfied with one's own efforts. The aesthetic area is associated with being open and receptive, the absence of anxiety, restlessness or depression and having a basic mood of happiness (Karlsson, Mattsson, Johansson, & Lidell, 2010). This article review that open heart surgery is a life event that places patients and relatives in an exposed position characterized by vulnerability and insecurity that threatened their well being and health care professionals need to be aware of signs of reduced well being to minimize the negative influences associated with open heart surgery (Karlsson, Mattsson, Johansson, & Lidell, 2010). The last article that I reviewed was on information level of patients in discharge training given by nurses following open heart surgery. It was a research done to assess the information level of patients



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