Submitted by Dr T on October 29, 2010 – 3:42pm
A stiff heart… as a surgeon I have had many a heart in my hand that feels like that. It is usually the result of scarring and a long history of high blood pressure. During surgery, such a heart was more difficult to operate upon and to protect. Non-surgeons have a somewhat different definition:
The function of the heart is to pump blood. A pump moves fluid out of one place and into another. For example, the right side of the heart pumps blood from the veins into the lungs. The left side of the heart pumps blood from the lungs out through the arteries to the rest of the body. Blood goes out when the heart muscle contracts (called systole) and comes in when the heart muscle relaxes (called diastole). Heart failure develops when the pumping action of the heart is inadequate, typically because the heart muscle is weaker, stiffer, or both. As a result, blood may not flow out in adequate amounts. Blood may also build up in the tissues from which it is coming, causing congestion in those tissues. That is why heart failure is sometimes known as congestive heart failure.
In either case, it is heart that no longer healthy and therefore more prone to cause problems,
Hope this helps,