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Kristine A. Garner
Assistant Professor
Department of Biological Sciences
University of Arkansas at Fort Smith
The Heart of the Problem: From Heart Attack to Kidney Failure

This interrupted case study was developed for an undergraduate class in human cardiac physiology. The story follows a patient whose heart attack damaged a papillary muscle in the left ventricle of the heart. This caused valve dysfunction and mitral valve regurgitation resulting in left-sided heart failure, which in turn led to systemic problems including pulmonary edema and kidney failure. This case study was designed to follow a chapter or unit covering the heart and/or the cardiovascular system, and would be appropriate for any undergraduate human anatomy and physiology course or for nursing students. Before beginning the activity, students should know the anatomy of the heart, understand the function of the heart valves and blood flow through the heart, be able to calculate cardiac output, and understand the implications of blood pressure on capillary filtration. This case study was written specifically for students who have not yet covered the respiratory system or the urinary system.