Health Library

The Health Library is a collection of health and wellness resources created for learning and accessibility. Select a topic below for related health information or search for a topic in the search bar for more information on other medical conditions.

Critical Care Medicine

  • Discusses nonsurgical procedure, called catheter ablation, for atrial fibrillation if medicine is not effective or not tolerated. Also discusses implanting a pacemaker. Looks at why procedure is done, how well it works, and possible risks.

  • Discusses procedure that uses electric current to reset heart's rhythm to its regular pattern. Covers its use to stop atrial fibrillation. Discusses what to expect after treatment, how well it works, and risks.

  • Discusses atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). Covers causes, including high blood pressure and CAD. Discusses what increases your risk. Covers treatment with medicines, cardioversion, and catheter ablation.

  • Guides you through decision to have cardioversion for atrial fibrillation. Discusses electrical cardioversion and rate control drugs. Lists benefits and risks. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Having bradycardia (say "bray-dee-KAR-dee-uh") means that your heart beats very slowly. For most people, a heart rate of 60 to 100 beats a minute while at rest is considered normal. If your heart beats less than 60 times a minute, it is slower than...

  • Topic guides reader through decision to get an ICD for heart rhythm problems. Provides general overview of what ICDs are and what heart rhythm problems can be helped with ICDs. Lists benefits and possible complications of getting an ICD.

  • Learn why taking a statin pill is such an important part of your treatment.

  • Learn how to have a healthy, active lifestyle with atrial fibrillation.

  • Learn how to care for a central or PICC IV line at home.

  • It can be hard to know which treatments you may or may not want near the end of life. Learning more can help.

  • Find out what sepsis is, how it happens, and how it's treated at the hospital.

  • After a hospital stay, it's important to prevent sepsis and watch for signs of it. Learn how.

  • Learn what an EP study and ablation are and how to prepare your child for each one.

  • Learn what you can do at home to care for your child after an EP study and ablation.

  • This article covers the basics of COVID-19, including common symptoms, treatment, the course of the disease, and how to care for yourself.

  • Find out how you'll feel after a catheter ablation and how to take care of yourself at home.

  • Find out what COVID-19 is, how it's spread, its symptoms, and how to protect yourself and others.

  • Learn how to take care of yourself if you have COVID-19 and find out ways to prevent spreading it to others.

  • Learn how to take care of yourself if you have been exposed to COVID-19 and find out ways to prevent spreading it to others.

  • Learn what social distancing means and why it's important to keep your distance.

  • Discover things you can do to while keeping a social distance.

  • Learn the 5 steps to hand-washing.

  • The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is caused by a virus. It is an illness that was first found in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. It has since spread worldwide. The virus can cause fever, cough, and trouble breathing. In severe cases, it can cause pneumonia and make it hard to breathe without help. It can cause...

  • During the coronavirus outbreak, learn what to do if you do if you feel sick.

  • You're probably spending a lot of time in your home these days. And that's one place where you have some control. Here are some tips that can help keep you and your home safe from COVID-19. Practice prevention. Wash your hands well and often. Scrub with soap and water for 20 seconds. If you go out...

  • It's normal to feel worried during times of stress. Many people struggle with anxiety in the best of times. Here are some steps you can take to manage anxiety and lower your stress. Get the facts. Go to trusted sources. Check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at cdc.gov...

  • Stigma is a negative feeling based on a belief about a group of people. Stigma often occurs when there's a disease outbreak. It's a common human reaction to look for someone to blame when we feel afraid. In the case of COVID-19, some people have blamed it on people of Asian descent or people who have traveled. Some...

  • When experts make a graph of the first wave of COVID-19 infections, it shows a flat line that curves sharply upward, like a ramp at a skateboard park. A steep curve means the virus is spreading fast. That's because each infected person spreads the disease to more than just one other person. Then each of those people...

  • Social distancing means putting space between yourself and other people. The recommended distance is 6 feet, or about 2 meters. This also means staying away from any place where people may gather, such as parks or other public gathering places. Social distancing is the best way to reduce the spread of COVID-19...

  • Many parents are asking, "What are the best ways to protect my child from the virus?" Here are the most powerful steps you can take to protect yourself and your family. Wash hands well and often. Everyone in your household needs to do this. Wash your hands well with soap and water for at least 20...

  • Social distancing is the best way to help keep COVID-19 from spreading. Here are some things you can do while you're putting space between yourself and other people. Be active outside. Fresh air and exercise are good for you. But stay informed about what's best for your community. Keep a 6-foot (or...

  • Find out if you could be at higher risk for COVID-19 and learn how to stay safe.

  • The need to stay at home and limit contact with others is important right now, but it can be lonely and isolating. Loneliness can take a toll on both our mental and physical health. Try these tips to stay connected and positive.

  • There are things you can do to protect your health and the health of your baby. If you're pregnant Pregnancy causes changes in the body that may raise the risk for some infections. Pregnant women are more likely to get seriously ill from respiratory infections, like the flu. So it's important to try to avoid...

  • COVID-19 causes a mild illness in many people who have it. But certain things may increase your risk for more serious illness. These include: Age. The risk increases with age. Older adults are at highest risk. Smoking. Obesity. Living in a long-term care facility. Having ongoing serious...

  • Most people who get COVID-19 will recover with time and home care. Here are some things to know if you're caring for someone who's sick. Treat the symptoms. Common symptoms include a fever, coughing, and feeling short of breath. Urge the person to get extra rest and drink plenty of fluids to replace...

  • Stay home. If you've been exposed, you should stay in quarantine for at least 14 days. Ask your doctor when it's safe to end your quarantine. Don't go to school, work, or public areas. And don't use public transportation, ride-shares, or taxis unless you have no choice. Leave your home only if you need to get...

  • Stay home. Don't go to school, work, or public areas. And don't use public transportation, ride-shares, or taxis unless you have no choice. Leave your home only if you need to get medical care. But call the doctor's office first so they know you're coming. And wear a cloth face cover. Ask before leaving...

  • This is a very stressful time. You may be worried about getting COVID-19 or afraid that someone you care about will get it. If you've lost your job, you may be anxious about your finances. On top of that, you're probably stuck at home. Cabin fever can set in. You may feel trapped, bored, and irritable. Cabin fever...

  • A COVID-19 viral test is a way to find out if you have COVID-19. The test looks for the virus in your breathing passages. There are different types of viral tests. One type looks for genetic material from the virus. This is usually called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Another type looks for proteins on the...

  • An antibody test looks for antibodies in the blood. These are proteins that your immune system makes, usually after you're exposed to germs like viruses or bacteria or after you get a vaccine. Antibodies work to fight illness. A COVID-19 antibody test looks for antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes...

  • Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is a rare but serious condition. It causes inflammation, which can affect the heart, lungs, brain, and other organs. A child usually has a fever for 24 hours or longer, plus other symptoms. These can vary, but...

  • This article describes the measures that health care providers take to help ensure your safety as well as steps you can take to reduce your risk of infection in the hospital or clinic.

  • Learn how to wear a cloth face cover or a mask to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

  • Learn three reasons why you shouldn't try to get infected with COVID-19 on purpose.

  • Learn about the risk levels for getting infected or infecting others with COVID-19 during different activities.

  • Learn the difference between symptoms of the flu and COVID-19.

  • This topic helps readers assess whether they may have a drinking problem.

  • Learn about ways to show care and compassion to yourself.

  • Learn ways to exercise at home during the pandemic.

  • This article helps you learn how to handle stress in your relationship.

  • Learn some ways to manage family stress.

  • This article helps parents learn how to lower stress during the pandemic.

  • Learn how to overcome barriers to wearing a mask.

  • Learn some tips for helping to manage money problems.

  • Learn some new tips for having date night at home during the pandemic.

  • Learn about the vaccine for COVID-19.

  • This article helps readers understand when a home pulse oximeter is helpful for people who have COVID-19 and how to use it.

  • Learn what effects COVID-19 may have on the body long after recovery.

  • Alan is something of a miracle man. At the age of 32, he had a massive heart attack. But more than 40 years, 4 bypass surgeries, 30 angioplasties, and a combined pacemaker/defibrillator later, he's still thriving. He learned how to cope with heart disease the hard way. Alan had always been healthy and athletic. Except...

  • In cardiac arrest, the heart suddenly stops beating. This causes blood to stop pumping to the body. If the heartbeat is not restarted within minutes, the person will die. This problem is also called sudden cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is different...

  • Many medicines and drugs can affect the rate and rhythm of the heart. A few examples are: Asthma medicines. Decongestants and cold medicines. Illegal drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines. Some heart and blood pressure medicines. Some medicines for depression and anxiety. Thyroid medicine. Illegal drugs, such as...

  • A normal heart rate for a healthy adult is between 60 and 100 beats per minute. Heart rates of more than 100 beats per minute (tachycardia) can be caused by: Exercise or stress. This fast heart rate usually returns to normal range (60 to 100 beats...

  • Topic guides reader through decision to get a pacemaker for heart rate problems. Provides general overview of what pacemakers are and what heart problems can be helped with pacemakers. Lists benefits and possible complications of getting a pacemaker.

  • Blood thinners are medicines that help prevent blood clots. Although they are called blood thinners, they don't really thin the blood. They slow down the time it takes for a blood clot to form. You have to be careful when you take blood thinner medicines. They can raise the risk of serious bleeding. But you can do...

  • Guides you through the decision to take warfarin or a different anticoagulant (apixaban, dabigatran, edoxaban, or rivaroxaban) to prevent stroke. Explains atrial fibrillation and risk of stroke. Lists benefits and risks of anticoagulants.

  • What is acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)? Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is a lung problem. It happens when fluid builds up in the lungs, causing breathing failure and low oxygen levels in the blood. ARDS is life-threatening, because it keeps organs like the brain and kidneys from getting the...

  • Discusses how to live with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), a device that helps control heart rhythm. Gives safety guidelines and tips for travel, exercise, and managing anxiety.

  • It's true—diabetes raises your risk of heart disease. That means your risks of heart attack and stroke are higher when you have diabetes. Diabetes is plenty to keep up with as it is. That explains why dealing with both heart risk and diabetes can seem like too much all at once. But it's also true that good...

  • Learn how plaque in blood vessels can become a problem and cause a heart attack.

  • Learn how beta-blocker medicine helps your heart heal after a heart attack.

  • Get a clear, simple explanation of what happens during a heart attack.

  • Learn seven ways that can help you lower your risk for a heart attack.

  • After you've had a heart attack, you may be worried that you could have another one. That's easy to understand. But the good news is that there are things you can do to reduce your risk of having another heart attack. Taking medicine, doing cardiac rehabilitation, and making healthy lifestyle changes can help...

  • Learn how medicines and a healthy lifestyle help protect you from another heart attack.

  • Hear a story about how heart attacks may feel different than you expect.

  • Learn what catheter ablation is and how it is done to treat atrial fibrillation.

  • Find out what atrial fibrillation is and how it's treated.

  • Learn about catheter ablation for supraventricular tachycardia and how this procedure is done.

  • See how beta-blocker medicines work in your body and can help prevent another heart attack.

  • Learn how high cholesterol raises your risk for heart attack and stroke.

  • Guides you through the decision to have catheter ablation for the heart rhythm problem supraventricular tachycardia. Lists benefits and risks of catheter ablation and medical therapy. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Learn how heart disease affects you and how to help prevent a heart attack.

  • See why your doctor prescribed low-dose aspirin for your heart.

  • Learn how clot-busting medicines are used for emergencies like stroke and heart attack.

  • Learn why it's important to take blood-thinning medicine after your stroke.

  • Learn how cardiac rehab works and how it can help you get stronger and feel better.

  • Learn how to manage your symptoms and live better with a-fib.

  • Learn how an ICD works and how it can help your heart.

  • See what you can expect and how to prepare for getting a pacemaker.

  • Learn how to adjust to life with a pacemaker and have an active, healthy life.

  • Hear how cardiac rehab helped others have less fear and be more sure about how to live with a heart problem.

  • Learn what raises your risk for having a heart attack or stroke and how you can lower your risk.

  • Hear how atrial fibrillation affected three people's lives and how each one found a way to manage it.

  • POTS is a fast heart rate (tachycardia) that starts after you stand up. This can suddenly happen as long as 10 minutes after you stand. With POTS, the body does not control blood pressure or heart rate as it should after you stand up. So for a brief...

  • Guides people not already diagnosed with coronary artery disease through decision to take statin medicine to lower risk of heart attack or stroke. Covers cholesterol and other risk factors. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Discusses preventing high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) problems in a person with diabetes. Explains emergencies in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Discusses treating infections early, being prepared, and drinking plenty of liquids.

  • Thrombolytics are medicines that rapidly dissolve a blood clot. They are used when a blood clot causes an emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke. These clot-busting medicines help blood to flow normally again. Thrombolytics are used as soon as...

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a life-threatening condition that develops when cells in the body are unable to get the sugar (glucose) they need for energy because there is not enough insulin. When the sugar cannot get into the cells, it stays in...

  • Your heart normally beats in a regular rhythm and rate that is just right for the work your body is doing at any moment. The usual resting heart rate for adults is between 50 to 100 beats per minute. Children have naturally higher normal heart rates...

  • If you smoke, your chance of dying from a heart attack is 2 to 3 times greater than that of a person who does not smoke. About 1 out of 4 heart attacks is believed to be directly related to smoking. Smoking is a much more important risk factor for a...

  • There are several types of slow heart rates ( bradycardias or bradyarrhythmias). Each type carries a specific risk of complications and treatment options. Some of the types are described here. Sinus bradycardia When a person has sinus bradycardia, the heart rate is less than 60 beats per minute. This slow...

  • Physical activity is one of the best things you can do to help prevent a heart attack and stroke. Being active is one part of a heart-healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy foods, not smoking, and staying at a healthy weight are other ways you can be...

  • Sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection. It causes inflammation across large areas of the body and can damage tissue and organs. Sepsis requires immediate care in a hospital. Septic shock is sepsis that causes extremely low blood...

  • Discusses cardiac rehabilitation (rehab), which helps you feel better and reduce risk of future heart problems with exercise and lifestyle changes. Looks at rehab for people who have heart conditions such as heart attack, heart surgery, or heart failure.

  • A cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) program can help you make lifestyle changes. In cardiac rehabilitation (rehab), a team of health professionals provides education and support to help you make new, healthy habits. Quitting smoking is the best thing...

  • Exercise is an important part of a cardiac rehabilitation program. Combining exercise with other lifestyle changes, such as eating a balanced diet and stopping smoking, reduces the risk of future heart problems. Riding a stationary bike, walking on...

  • Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) may start while you are in the hospital. The hospital program is one part, or phase, of your cardiac rehab. This phase emphasizes exercise and education. The parts of a hospital program include: A customized exercise program, based on your medical history, clinical condition, and...

  • Your cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) might include an exercise program that you do at home. You might start this program after you go home from the hospital. The home program is one part, or phase, of your cardiac rehab. The goals of a home program are to: Make a smooth transition from hospital to home. Take care of...

  • Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) typically includes an outpatient program. This program is one part, or phase, of your cardiac rehab. The goal is to lower your risk of future heart problems. You will take part in a supervised exercise program. You will receive information and tools to make lifestyle changes, such as...

  • Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) includes a phase that helps you keep the healthy behaviors and habits that you learned in rehab. This phase, or program, is often referred to as the maintenance part of rehab, because it can help you maintain healthy lifestyle changes. Your goals are to: Learn lifestyle changes to lower...

  • Quitting smoking is probably the most important step you can take to decrease your chance of coronary artery disease (CAD) and a heart attack. Smoking raises your risk of getting CAD and dying early from CAD. Carbon monoxide, nicotine, and other...

  • If your doctor thinks you might have a heart rhythm problem, he or she may ask you to keep a diary of symptoms. This information can help your doctor find out what type of rhythm problem you have. And if you have a rhythm problem, a symptom diary...

  • Vagal maneuvers are used to try to slow an episode of supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). These simple maneuvers stimulate the vagus nerve, sometimes resulting in slowed conduction of electrical impulses through the atrioventricular (AV) node of the...

  • Electrical cardioversion is a procedure in which a brief electric shock is given to the heart to reset the heart rhythm back to its normal, regular pattern ( normal sinus rhythm). The shock is given through patches applied to the outside of the chest wall. In some situations an external defibrillator, which has paddles...

  • Covers procedure to destroy (ablate) tiny areas of heart muscle causing fast heart rate. Includes radiofrequency ablation and cryoablation. Covers use for supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia (AVRT), Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome, and ventricular tachycardia.

  • What is supraventricular tachycardia? Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) means that from time to time your heart beats very fast for a reason other than exercise, high fever, or stress. For most people who have SVT, the heart still works normally to pump blood through the body. Types of SVT include: Atrioventricular...

  • Shock means that your body and its functions are shutting down. The body goes into shock when it can't get enough blood to the vital organs like your heart or brain. This may be caused by a sudden illness, an injury, or bleeding. Sometimes even a mild injury will lead to shock. Shock is a life-threatening...

  • Discusses pacemakers to control heart rhythm. Gives information on safety guidelines and tips for exercise and travel.

  • Heart block refers to an abnormality in the way electricity passes through the normal electrical pathways of the heart. The abnormality "blocks" the electrical impulse from continuing through the normal pathways and usually results in a slower heart rate. What causes heart block? Heart block can be caused...

  • Is it safe for you to have sex? If you have an arrhythmia and your doctor says that it's okay for you to do moderate activity, like brisk walking, then it's probably safe for you to have sex. If you have any concerns, ask your doctor. Your doctor can check the health of your heart and help you know if it's safe...

  • Are there driving restrictions for people with heart rhythm problems? If you have an arrhythmia or an ICD that makes it dangerous for you to drive, your doctor might suggest that you stop driving, at least for a short time. If you have an arrhythmia that doesn't cause significant symptoms, you don't have to stop or...

  • Sick sinus syndrome is the name given to a group of arrhythmias that occur because the normal pacemaker of the heart (the sinus node) does not work properly. Sick sinus syndrome is also called sinus node dysfunction. For more information on other types of sinus node problems, see Types of Bradycardia. What...

  • Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome is a heart rhythm problem that causes a very fast heart rate. WPW is one type of supraventricular tachycardia called atrioventricular reciprocating tachycardia (AVRT). With WPW, an extra electrical pathway links the upper chambers (atria) and lower chambers (ventricles) of the...

  • Heart rhythm problems, called arrhythmias, can cause a few types of symptoms. These symptoms happen because the heart isn't beating regularly or may not be pumping blood as well as normal. Some of these symptoms include palpitations, lightheadedness, fainting, and shortness of breath. Palpitations Having palpitations...

  • When can I have sex again? Sex is part of a healthy life and part of your quality of life. It is safe for most people after they have had a heart attack. After a heart attack, you can resume sexual activity when you are healthy and feel ready for it. You could be ready if you can do mild or moderate activity...

  • If you have an irregular heartbeat ( arrhythmia), ask your doctor what type and level of exercise is safe for you. Regular activity can help keep your heart and body healthy. The type and amount of exercise that is allowable will vary depending on the cause of your abnormal heart rhythm and whether you have other...

  • Discusses pacemakers used to treat bradycardia. Discusses various types of pacemakers. Covers how they work and how well they work, risks, and possible side effects.

  • Covers risk of heart disease and stroke in women. Lists things that increase risk. Lists prevention steps, such as diet, exercise, not smoking, managing cholesterol and blood pressure, and making decisions on birth control and hormone therapy.

  • If you want to learn about supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), go to the topic Supraventricular Tachycardia. What is ventricular tachycardia? Ventricular tachycardia is a type of fast heart rhythm that starts in the lower part of the heart (ventricles). The heart might beat more than 100 beats per minute...

  • Discusses taking aspirin to prevent a first and second heart attack for people who have coronary artery disease. Covers aspirin therapy to help lower risk of a stroke. Discusses if aspirin therapy is for you. Looks at things to avoid while taking aspirin.

  • Discusses high and low blood sugar levels caused by diabetes. Suggests when to check blood sugar levels. Covers symptoms. Offers home treatment and prevention tips. Includes info on diabetes emergencies.

  • Guides through decision to receive CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and mechanical ventilation. Describes the procedures and discusses risks and benefits of each. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

  • Discusses surgical treatment to control irregular heartbeat and restore normal rhythm of heart. Looks at what to expect after surgery such as taking medicine such as Coumadin. Covers risks.

  • Most people with atrial fibrillation don't have to change their daily activities. You can live well and safely with atrial fibrillation. There are some precautions you can take to prevent problems from atrial fibrillation. For example, tell your doctor about any activities that trigger an episode of atrial...

  • Guides you through the decision to take an anticoagulant to prevent stroke. Explains atrial fibrillation and risk of stroke. Lists benefits and risks of anticoagulants. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

  • Covers causes of heart attack (myocardial infarction) and unstable angina. Discusses symptoms like chest pain or pressure. Explains MI and angina differences. Offers prevention tips. Covers diagnostic tests and treatment with medicines and surgery.

  • Right-sided heart failure means that the right side of the heart is not pumping blood to the lungs as well as normal. It is also called cor pulmonale or pulmonary heart disease. What happens to the heart? Most people develop heart failure because of a problem with the left ventricle. But reduced function of the right...

  • One of the most frightening aspects about having heart failure is that it can lead to premature death. The increased death rate among people with heart failure is in part caused by the tendency of those with heart failure to develop abnormal heart rhythms. Some people with heart failure die suddenly from abnormal rapid...

  • After you start a cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) program, you will work with many health professionals. Each will have a specific role in your rehab. While you are in rehab, make sure to stay in touch with your doctor or other health professionals who can keep track of your progress and health. You will probably keep...

  • If you are in a cardiac rehab program, you are probably taking medicines for your heart and for other health reasons. Some prescribed medicines can change your heart rate, blood pressure, and overall ability to exercise. It's important for your rehab team to know what medicines you take. Give your rehab team a list of...

  • There are several ways to measure your body's responses to exercise and other lifestyle changes. You may want to keep track of the following measurements during your exercise sessions at cardiac rehab and at home. Target heart rate Your target heart rate can guide you to how hard you need to exercise so you can get...

  • Covers angina and symptoms that happen when the heart does not get enough blood. Covers unstable angina and heart attack. Discusses treatment with medicines, angioplasty, or bypass surgery. Offers prevention tips.

  • Guides people who have not had a heart attack or a stroke through decision to take daily aspirin. Discusses benefits and risks. Looks at who can take daily aspirin. Includes interactive tool to help you decide.

  • Your doctor may talk with you about your risk for heart and blood flow problems, including heart attack and stroke. You and your doctor can use your risk to decide whether you need to lower it and what treatment is best for you. What might you be at risk for? Your doctor is checking your risk of having a...

  • Discusses high blood sugar (also called hyperglycemia) in children with diabetes. Covers symptoms. Offers tips on preventing high blood sugar emergencies. Covers when to seek emergency care.

  • Resistance training with weights, elastic bands, or your own body weight may help you regain the physical strength and confidence to do the daily tasks you performed before your heart problem or surgery. Resistance training can help you get the most benefit from your cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) program. Do...

  • Guides you through the decision to have catheter ablation for the heart rhythm problem atrial fibrillation. Lists benefits and risks of catheter ablation and medical therapy. Includes interactive tool to help you make your decision.

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