The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF) believes that knowledge is power. That’s why its work is dedicated to learning through innovative clinical research and sharing findings through publications, presentations and professional education.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with or is at risk of heart disease, being knowledgeable about your disease can be a powerful tool in your treatment of it. MHIF hopes that the information provided on the following pages can help you gain the knowledge that you need to understand and manage your heart health.

Valvular Heart Disease

What Is Valvular Heart Disease? Valvular heart disease is an abnormality involving one or more of the four valves of the heart (aortic, mitral, pulmonary, and tricuspid). These abnormalities typically occur from aging, but can be congenital, rheumatic, or due to other...


Cardiomyopathy refers to diseases of the heart muscle. Patients with cardiomyopathy have an enlarged, thick or rigid heart muscle, causing the heart to weaken and become less able to pump blood and maintain a normal rhythm.

Heart Attack

When the coronary arteries become obstructed, due to a blood clot caused by plaque buildup or a spasm of the artery, blood flow through the arteries can become blocked and a heart attack can result.


An arrhythmia is a problem with the rate or rhythm of the heartbeat. During an arrhythmia, the heart may not be able to pump enough blood to the body, which can, in turn, cause damage to the brain, heart and other organs.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating, causing blood to stop flowing to the brain and vital organs. If not treated within minutes, SCA can cause death. SCA is not the same as a heart attack.


A stroke occurs if brain cells die from one of two causes. Ischemic stroke, occurs with blocked or interrupted blood flow to the brain. Hemorrhagic stroke occurs with pressure from bleeding inside the brain caused by a leaking or ruptured artery.

Peripheral Arterial Disease

Peripheral arterial disease, or PAD, occurs when plaque accumulates in the arteries in the periphery of the body, blocking blood flow to those parts. It most commonly affects the arteries in the legs.

Heart Failure

Heart failure is caused by diseases and conditions that damage the heart muscle. It develops over time as the heart’s pumping action grows weaker.

Congenital Heart Defects

Congenital heart defects occur when parts of the heart do not form properly before birth, causing a structural problem that changes the normal flow of blood through the heart.


Angina is not a disease, but a symptom of an underlying heart problem. It usually results from coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease, which occur when plaque builds up on the inner walls of the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. There are four major types of angina: stable, unstable, variant and microvascular.

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