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Ischemic heart disease (IHD) is a condition in which there is an inadequate supply of blood and oxygen to a portion of the myocardium; it typically occurs when there is an imbalance between myocardial oxygen supply and demand. The most common cause of myocardial ischemia is atherosclerotic disease of an epicardial coronary artery (or arteries) sufficient to cause a regional reduction in myocardial blood flow and inadequate perfusion of the myocardium supplied by the involved coronary artery. Chapter 241 deals with the development and treatment of atherosclerosis. This chapter focuses on the chronic manifestations and treatment of ischemic heart disease. The following chapters address the acute phases of this disease.




IHD causes more deaths and disability and incurs greater economic costs than any other illness in the developed world. IHD is the most common, serious, chronic, life-threatening illness in the United States, where 13 million persons have IHD, >6 million have angina pectoris, and >7 million have sustained a myocardial infarction. Genetic factors, a high-fat and energy-rich diet, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle are associated with the emergence of IHD (Chap. 241). In the United States and Western Europe, it is growing among low-income groups, but primary prevention has delayed the disease to later in life in all socioeconomic groups. Despite these sobering statistics, it is worth noting that epidemiologic data show a decline in the rate of deaths due to IHD, about half of which is attributable to treatments and half to prevention by risk factor modification.


Obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes mellitus are increasing and are powerful risk factors for IHD. With urbanization in countries with emerging economies and a growing middle class, elements of the energy-rich Western diet are being adopted. As a result, the prevalence of risk factors for and of IHD itself are both increasing rapidly in those regions such that a majority of the global burden of IHD occurs there. Population subgroups that appear to be particularly affected are men in South Asian countries, especially India and the Middle East. In light of the projection of large increases in IHD throughout the world, IHD is likely to become the most common cause of death worldwide by 2020.




Central to an understanding of the pathophysiology of myocardial ischemia is the concept of myocardial supply and demand. In normal conditions, for any given level of a demand for oxygen, the myocardium will control the supply of oxygen-rich blood to prevent underperfusion of myocytes and the subsequent development of ischemia and infarction. The major determinants of myocardial oxygen demand (MVO2) are heart rate, myocardial contractility, and myocardial wall tension (stress). An adequate supply of oxygen to the myocardium requires a satisfactory level of oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood (determined by the inspired level of oxygen, pulmonary function, and hemoglobin concentration and function) and an adequate level of coronary blood ...

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