Contributor: Gordon K. Klintworth
Many diseases affect the heart. They include hypertension, infections (such as diphtheria, Streptococcus [Streptococcal infection, rheumatic fever], Staphylococcus [Staphylococcal infection], coxsackievirus infection), occlusovascular disease (atherosclerosis), nutritional disorders (beri-beri). The disease may involve the endocardium (endocarditis), myocardium (myocarditis) or pericardium (pericarditis). Tumors of the heart are rare and most are benign (65-90%). The most common neoplasm of the heart is the myxoma [myxoma - heart], which may be part of Carney syndrome. A rhabdomyoma is a manifestation of tuberous sclerosis. Malignant tumors of the heart include angiosarcoma, malignant fibrous histiocytoma, and synovial sarcoma. Thrombosis on the endocardium or heart valves as well as a fragments of a calcified cardiac valve can embolize to various parts of the body including the eye [embolism]. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death. Death can be sudden as after venticular fibrillation or it may follow cardiac failure.