VA Western New York Healthcare System
Department of Biological Sciences
University at Buffalo
The main character of this case is Denise, who we first meet in the early morning hours as she wakes up in a cold sweat, gasping for breath. But it is her husband, Jeremy, who has been diagnosed with heart disease, not her. What’s going on? In this interrupted case study, in which the other main character is Denise’s heart (who we get to know through a series of “interior” monologues), students learn about the risk factors, symptoms, and consequences of a heart attack. The case is suitable for a course in pathophysiology, first year nursing, enzymology, advanced biology or anatomy, or nutrition.
- Outline blood circulation within the heart and label a given diagram.
- Identify the three major coronary arteries.
- Discuss the pathophysiology of a heart attack, including plaque formation, the role of cholesterol, HDLs vs. LDLs, the blood-clotting and inflammatory systems, and serum enzyme inflation.
- Differentiate between cardiac arrest, heart attack, ischemia, cardiogenic shock, and arrhythmia.
- Know the specific enzyme elevation patterns associated with heart attack.
- Understand why unstable plaque is a greater risk factor for heart attack than stable plaque.
- Identify key symptoms of heart attack for men and women.
- Understand a key hormonal difference that may account for why men are more prone to heart disease.
- Identify possible complications of a heart attack.
- Identify and discuss critical heart disease risk factors, both hereditary and environmental.
- Understand key preventative measures to stay heart healthy.
- Evaluate risk factors based on different patient’s profiles and determine what each person should do to decrease their risk for a heart attack.
KeywordsCardiovascular disease; heart disease; coronary artery disease; cardiac arrest; heart attack; myocardial infarction; angina; ischemia, cardiogenic shock; arrhythmia; unstable plaque; HDL; LDL; cholesterol; embolism; heart healthy diet
Educational LevelUndergraduate upper division, Graduate, Professional (degree program), General public & informal education
Type / MethodsInterrupted
Subject HeadingsAnatomy | Physiology | Nursing | Nutrition | Biology (General) | Medicine (General) |
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