Pathfinder Repository


Heart Disease

This Pathfinder is no longer being actively maintained by ipl.

This Pathfinder will help you find information about heart disease and heart attacks in the following categories:

What is Heart Disease
How to Recognize a Heart Attack
Preventing Heart Disease
Learn CPR
Books and Printed Resources
Contact the American Heart Association or the Red Cross
Statistics and Research Tools

What is Heart Disease?

Johns Hopkins Heart Health (http://www.jhbmc.jhu.edu/cardiology/rehab/patientinfo.html)
What is a Heart Attack?
Coronary artery disease, or atherosclerosis is a disease process that is the most common cause of a heart attack. This disease occurs when the smooth inner lining of the coronary arteries becomes damaged and roughened, and fatty matter (sometimes called plaque) accumulates. As plaque continues to build-up the arteries become increasingly narrowed and hard, which restricts blood flow to the heart muscle.
American Heart Association
Risk Factors for Heart Disease (http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=235)
Factors that cannot be controlled
Increasing Age
Male sex (gender)
Heredity (including race)
Factors that may be influenced by lifestyle, habits, or medication
Tobacco smoke
High Blood Cholesterol
High Blood Pressure
Physical Inactivity
Obesity and overweight

How to Recognize a Heart Attack

Heart Information Network
Heart Attack Symptoms / Warning Signs
What does heart-related chest pain feel like?
You can have a heart attack without knowing it
Symptoms of Heart Disease – The Difference Between Men and Women

Preventing Heart Disease

Johns Hopkins Heart Health
Exercise and Heart Disease. (http://www.jhbmc.jhu.edu/cardiology/rehab/exercise.chd.html)
"Ideally, you should exercise three to five times a week for 20-50 minutes within your target heart rate. However, your health can benefit simply by accumulating 30 minutes of moderate activity per day, such as stair climbing, walking to work, or gardening."

Understanding Nutrition (http://www.jhbmc.jhu.edu/cardiology/rehab/nutrition.pdf)

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Effects of Physical Activity on Health and Disease (http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/sgr/pdf/chap4.pdf)
"Despite a progressive decline since the late 1960s, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), including coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, remain major causes of death, disability, and health care expenditures in the United States."
American Heart Association
Statement on Exercise: Benefits and Recommendations for Physical Activity Programs for All Americans (
"Physical inactivity is recognized as a risk factor for coronary artery disease. Regular aerobic physical activity increases exercise capacity and plays a role in both primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. The known benefits of regular aerobic exercise and current recommendations for implementation of exercise programs are described in this revised report."
American Medical Women’s Association
Guide to Heart Healthy Eating (http://www.amwa-doc.org/healthtopics/health_eating.htm)

Learn CPR

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) consists of mouth-to-mouth respiration and chest compression. CPR allows oxygenated blood to circulate to vital organs such as the brain and heart. CPR can keep a person alive until more advanced procedures (such as defibrillation – an electric shock to the chest) can treat the cardiac arrest. CPR started by a bystander doubles the likelihood of survival for victims of cardiac arrest.

American Heart Association CPR courses (http://www.cpr-ecc.org/courses.html)

American Red Cross CPR and first aid courses (http://www.redcross.org/services/hss/courses/)

Online CPR Guide
University of Washington School of Medicine (http://depts.washington.edu/learncpr/)
CPR for Adults
CPR for Children – ages 1-8
CPR for Infants – less than 1 yr.
Printable CPR Pocket Guide

Books and Printed Resources

American Heart Association. —American Heart Association Guide to Heart Attack Treatment, Recovery, and Prevention (Times Books, February 1998).

Richard E. Collins. —The Cooking Cardiologist: Recipes to Help Lower Your Cholesterol, Reduce Risk of Heart Disease, Control Weight, Increase Vitality and Longevity (Advanced Research Press, Incorporated, February 1999).

Bernard J. Gersh. —Mayo Clinic Heart Book: The Ultimate Guide to Heart Health (Morrow,William & Co, March 2000).

Peter O. Kwiterovich. —Johns Hopkins Complete Guide to Preventing and Reversing Heart Disease (Prima Publishing, July 1998).

Dean Ornish. — Dr. Dean Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease: The Only System Scientifically Proven to Reverse Heart Disease Without Drugs or Surgery (Ivy Books, February 1996).

Thomas Yannios. —The Heart Disease Breakthrough: The 10-Step Program That Can Save Your Life (John Wiley & Sons, December 1999).

Contact Information

American Heart Association
National Center
7272 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, Texas 75231

American Red Cross
8111 Gatehouse Road
Falls Church, VA 22042

Statistics and Research Tools

American Heart Association
Cardiovascular Disease Statistics (
Heart Attack and Angina Statistics (
CPR Statistics (
Women, Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics (
American Heart Association (http://www.americanheart.org)
Searchable guide of topics, terminology, and keywords
Unlocking the Heart’s Secrets (http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/980907/7fram.htm)
"Knowledge gained from the ambitious Framingham Heart Study is extending the lives of millions."

This pathfinder was created by Corey Shapiro – NREMT-P
Corey is a licensed Paramedic and certified CPR instructor