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Heart Hemodynamics and Cardiomyopathy Essay

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Updated: Mar 5th, 2022

It can be argued that the heart is the most important organ in the human body. Without the heart the body will cease to function. Even if there is a perfectly functioning brain and even if other physiological systems are working at optimum levels, everything will fail if the heart ceases to function properly.

The heart is the main organ responsible for the transport of blood, which in turn is carrying nutrients and other essential things that are needed in order for the body to function perfectly. In order to fully appreciate the functions of the heart this study will focus on hemodynamics and a medical condition associated with the heart, cardiomyopathy to help explain what can happen if the heart is no longer working perfectly.

Hemodynamics

A basic understanding of medical terms will immediately reveal that hemodynamics has something to do with blood and movement or the movement of blood inside the human body. According to experts it is essentially the study of blood flow to the body tissues (Smith, par. 1). It is impossible to understand hemodynamics without being acquainted with the circulatory system. But the focus of this study is not really about the circulatory system but blood flow, the main processes involved, specifically how the heart works in tandem with veins and arteries to make the blood circulate efficiently throughout all the cells in the body.

Before going any further it is important to point out that if the body will no longer be able to experience adequate blood flow then the person dies because it can no longer be sustained with food and oxygen. Blood flow makes it possible to deliver nutrients and oxygen to every cell of the body. But the transport of nutrients and oxygen is just one of the many vital functions of the circulatory system. This is because the circulatory system is also in charge of delivering other substances into the human body as well as in the regulation of body heat. Thus, even if one simply considers the hemodynamics component of the circulatory system it is easy to understand why failure is not an option and that if blood flow is restricted then death can occur.

There are so many physical factors that can affect blood flow and these include:

  1. the pressure generated by the heart;
  2. the diameter, length and geometric features of the vessels; and
  3. the rheological properties of the blood.

But first the following components must be present (Bullock, Boyle, & Wang, p. 123) before a single drop of blood can even begin to move:

  1. Heart – the driving force of blood flow;
  2. Arteries – the distribution channels to the organs;
  3. Microcirculation – such as the capillaries which serves as the exchange region;
  4. Veins – the blood reservoirs that collect the blood to return it to the heart.

It must also be pointed out that aside from the main function of delivering nutrients and oxygen, the secondary functions of hemodynamics includes

  1. control of blood flow to the skin and extremities to enhance or retard heat loss;
  2. distribute hormones; and
  3. deliver antibodies, platelets, and leukocytes to aid body defense mechanisms (Bullock, Boyle, & Wang, p. 123).

It is therefore important to note that hemodynamics is not only about processing food and air intake but it is also about defending the body from harmful microorganisms and creating a defense mechanism whenever the body is exposed to the external environment such as in the case of a wound and other forms of breaks in the skin.

It is therefore important to keep the heart healthy and to keep the arteries and vessels free from any blockage that can hinder the flow of blood. In an accident shock can occur if the person continues to lose blood. Cardiac failure on the other hand can occur if the heart fails to function properly and creates an obstacle that will prevent the flow of blood. On the other hand blood flow may not be affected but there can be too much blood pressure resulting in hypertension or something is terribly wrong that the pressure drops below the optimum blood pressure, and one is suffering from hypotension.

Cardiomyopathy

When the heart fails, life goes with it. It is therefore imperative to understand heart problems before it can develop into something more serious. One of the most important heart diseases that require public attention is cardiomyopathy. This is a disease of the heart muscle wherein it become enlarged or abnormally thick or rigid (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, par. 1).

According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, cardiomyopathy is simply the generic name but in studying a more technical classification of the various forms of cardiomyopathy and in describing the types of heart ailments associated with the said disease the following are the other names for cardiomyopathy:

  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Familial dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Congestive cardiomyopathy
  • Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy
  • Assymetric septal hypertrophy
  • Idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis
  • Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia
  • Right ventricular dysplasia
  • Right ventricular cardiomyopathy
  • Restrictive cardiomyopathy
  • Arrhytmogenic ventricular cardiomyopathy

Experts agree that there is really no definite cause or symptom for cardiomyopathy and thus health workers point to a long list of probable causes which includes:

  1. alcohol,
  2. viral infection;
  3. untreated hypertension;
  4. autoimmune disease;
  5. thyrotoxicosis;
  6. drugs/toxins e.g. cocaine, adriamyacin;
  7. hemochromatosis;
  8. familial syndrome;
  9. peripartum status;
  10. lyme disease;
  11. Chagas disease and even
  12. AIDS (Baliga et al., p. 165).

Alcohol, drug abuse, and certain types of illnesses can easily damage heart muscles as well as high blood pressure that creates a very heavy workload for the heart. The resulting inflammation and damage can easily weaken the heart and lead to failure.

Aside from the more obvious symptoms of fatigue and other indications of heart failure, specialists provide a more comprehensive list of the effects of progressive biventricular heart failure and these are listed as:

  • Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea
  • Peropheral edema
  • Ascites
  • Mural thrombi with systemic or pulmonary embolization
  • Dilation of the tricuspid and mitral valve rings
  • Atrial fibrillation valve regurgitation
  • Sudden death (Bigala et al., p. 165).

The following steps can be undertaken if someone is experiencing symptoms associated with cardiomyopathy: chest radiography, electrocardiography, echocardiography, urine tests (to determine use of cocaine) and blood tests. There is no need to elaborate that if symptoms are not properly diagnosed then fatigue can lead to more serious problems. If cardiomyopathy is not treated immediately then the heart muscles will continue to strain until the person will experience sudden death. It is therefore necessary to have the heart checked regularly as well as to continually follow the advice of health experts when it comes to maintaining a healthy heart. If the heart fails then blood flow can be affected. Based on the preceding discussion man could not afford not to have a perfectly working heart because everything is affected.

Works Cited

Bigala, Ragavendra. Cardiology. PA: Mosby, 2003.

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. “Cardiomyopathy.” Web.

Secomb, Timothy & Axel Pries. Basic Principles of Hemodynamics. O. Baskurt Ed. UK: Gazelle Books Services, Ltd., 2007.

Smith Brendan. “Learn Hemodynamics”. Web.

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