Dr Brian Gould, Consultant Cardiologist
Kent and South East London
The purpose of this cardiology website is to provide patients and their relatives with an introduction to my background and training, together with easy to understand information about common cardiac conditions.
In particular, this website provides further information about:
- Common cardiac symptoms and problems
- Routine cardiac tests
- Coronary angiography
- Angioplasty and stenting
I hope that my website will provide you with a better understanding of the cardiac condition that you or your relative may be suffering from, along with information about the tests and procedures that might be required to diagnose and treat the problem.
The heart can be considered as a pump that has four chambers, two on the left and two on the right. The right side receives blood which is without oxygen. It is returning from the body which has used up most of the oxygen from the blood. The right side pumps blood to the lungs where its oxygen stores are replenished. Blood then flows from the lungs to the left side of the heart. The left side contains the main pumping chamber (the left ventricle), which is the heart's work horse and has a thick muscular wall to cope with the demand of pumping the blood around the body. The left ventricle then pumps blood with oxygen though the main artery (like a pipe) known as the aorta, and onwards to the rest of the body.
The heart muscle itself receives its own blood supply from a constant flow of blood through the coronary arteries. These are hollow tubes which run over the surface of the heart to supply it with blood, which contains oxygen and nutrients. If a narrowing of one of these coronary arteries occurs, this can impair blood flow when an increased flow is required, for example on exercise. This can lead to chest discomfort or pain, such as angina or breathlessness. Total blockage of a coronary artery can occur suddenly if the lining of the arterial wall tears. This activates the body's normal clotting mechanism and blocks all blood flow to the heart muscle, causing a heart attack.