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MoonDragon's Health Care
With Cardiovascular Disease & Blood Abnormalies

Providing Patient Care At Home or Nursing Care Facility

For "Informational Use Only".
For more detailed information, contact your health care provider
about options that may be available for your specific situation.

  • Peripheral Vascular Disease Patient Care
  • Caring For A Patient With Heart Conditions
  • Angina Pectoris Patient Care
  • Heart Attack Patient Care
  • Congestive Heart Failure Patient Care
  • Heart Block (Pacemaker) Patient Care
  • Caring For Patients With Anemia Blood Abnormalities
  • Caring For Patients With Leukemia Blood Abnormalities
  • Special Care For Cancer & Anemia Patients


  • Elevate the feet when the patient is sitting in a chair for a long period of time. When the feet are not elevated, make sure that the patient's feet are flat on the floor. If they are not, support the feet with a footstool. Discourage the patient from crossing the legs when sitting. Discourage the patient from using circular garters.

  • Discourage smoking as it interferes with circulation.

  • Avoid using the knee gatch of the bed.

  • Avoid using heating pads or hot water bottles. The patient may not feel temperatures that are too hot.

  • Maintain body warmth. Make sure the patient has warm clothes, including well-fitting socks. Provide blankets for the bed.

  • Prevent injury to the feet:
    • Instruct the patient to wear shoes when out of bed.
    • Check to see that the shoes are in good repair and that they fit well.
    • Avoid pressure to the legs and feet from any source.

  • Inspect the feet carefully when you bathe the patient or if the patient complains of any discomfort in the feet. Promptly report any signs of inflammation, injury, or circulatory problems:
    • Broken skin.
    • Color change (redness, whiteness, or cyanosis).
    • Heat or coldness.
    • Cracking between toes.
    • Corns or calluses.
    • Swelling.
    • Pain.
    • Loss of function.
    • Drainage.

  • Bathe the feet regularly:
    • Dry thoroughly and gently between the toes.
    • Use a moisturizing lotion on the feet and legs if the skin is dry.

  • Do not cut the toenails of patients with peripheral vascular disease without instructions from the patient's health care provider.


    The heart must receive a constant supply of oxygen or it will die. Oxygen is delivered to the heart muscle by a complex system of arteries. As long as the coronary arteries (arteries of the heart) continue to supply the heart with an adequate amount of oxygen, the heart can continue to function properly.

    As the body ages, however, the coronary arteries may become narrower as a result of a disease process called atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis causes layers of fat to coat the inner walls of the arteries. Progressive atherosclerosis can cause angina pectoris, heart attack, and even cardiac arrest.

    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Disorders: Cardio Problems & Procedures

    blocked cardiac artery results in heart attack


    As atherosclerosis progresses, the blood (oxygen) supply to the heart is reduced enough to cause pain or pressure in the chest. The heart simply needs more oxygen than the narrowed coronary arteries can deliver. This pain is known as angina pectoris, or simply "angina".

    When a patient has chest pain, your first action is to ask the person to describe the pain. Angina is often described as pressure or heavy discomfort. The patient may say something like, "It feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest." Angina attacks are usually brought on by exercise, emotion, or eating. Crushing pain may be felt in the chest and may radiate to either or both arms, the neck, the jaw, or any combination of these sites. The patient is often short of breath and sweating, is extremely frightened, and has a sense of doom.

    Ask the patient whether they are already being treated for a diagnosed heart condition. If the patient's answer is "yes", ask the patient if there is a pill or spray he or she can take for angina pain. A patient who has suffered previous bouts of angina usually has medication that can be taken (placed or sprayed under the tongue) to relieve pain. The most common medication of this type is nitroglycerin. Often the patient has already taken a nitroglycerin pill by the time you arrive on the scene.

    If the patient has nitroglycerin but has not taken it during the past 5 minutes, help place one of the tiny pills under his or her tongue or help the patient to administer the aerosol form of the medication.

    Nitroglycerin usually relieves angina pain within 5 minutes. If the pain has not diminished after 5 minutes, help the patient take a second pill. If the pain has not lessened 5 minutes after the patient has taken the second pill, assume that the patient is having a heart attack. You should follow your local emergency care protocols regarding the administration of nitroglycerin.


    descriptions of chest pain caused by heart attack
    A heart attack (myocardial infarction) is caused by complete blockage of a coronary artery. Blockage may be caused by severe atherosclerosis or by a blood clot that has broken free somewhere else in the circulatory system and has become lodged in the artery. If one of the coronary arteries becomes blocked, the part of the heart muscle served by that artery is deprived of oxygen and dies.

    Blockage of a coronary artery causes the patient to suffer immediate and severe pain. The pain of angina pectoris and heart attack may be similar at first. The pain of a heart attack is not relieved by nitroglycerin pills. Most heart attack patients describe the pain as crushing. The pain may radiate from the chest to the left arm or to the jaw. The patient is usually short of breath, weak, sweating, and nauseated, and may vomit. The pain of a heart attack persists, but angina rarely lasts more than 5 minutes.

    If the area of heart muscle supplied by the blocked artery is either critical or large, the heart may stop completely. Complete cessation of heartbeat is called cardiac arrest. CPR is your first emergency treatment for cardiac arrest.

    The signs of cardiac arrest are:
    • Unconsciousness.
    • Absence of respirations.
    • Absence of carotid pulse.

    Most heart attack patients do not experience immediate cardiac arrest. To support the patient and reduce the probability of cardiac arrest, you can take the following actions:
    • Summon additional help.
    • Talk to the patient to relieve his or her anxiety.
    • Touch the patient to establish a bond. Hold the person's hand.
    • Reassure the patient that you are there to help. The person is afraid that death is close, and fear can create tension and make the pain worse.
    • Move the patient as little as possible and do not allow the person to move! If the patient must be moved, you and other bystanders must move the patient.
    • Place the patient in the position he or she finds most comfortable. This is usually a semi-reclining or sitting position.
    • If oxygen is available and you are trained to use it, administer it to the patient. Supplemental oxygen increases the amount of oxygen the blood can carry. The increase in oxygen reduces pain and anxiety. It also eases the minds of the patient's family and friends to see that something is being done to relieve the patient's physical distress.

    Since you do not have extensive equipment available to help the heart attack patient, your primary role is to provide psychological support and arrange for prompt transportation to an appropriate medical facility. Because the patient's emotional state can affect his or her physical condition. Psychological support is valuable. It can prevent cardiac arrest.

    Immediate medical treatment has saved many people. The treatment is directed toward:
    • Relieving the pain.
    • Reducing heart activity.
    • Altering the clotting ability of the blood.
    • Administering drugs to dissolve the clot.


    a pulse deficit may result from ineffective heart contractions

    During the acute stage, heart attack patients require professional care. Many hospitals provide intensive cardiac care units for these patients. Nursing care supports the therapy ordered. Special attention must be given to:
    • Noting signs of a recurrence and reporting immediately to the nurse.
    • Watching for bleeding and reporting immediately.
    • Assisting with activities of daily living.
    • Monitoring vital signs.


    Congestive heart failure (CHF) is not directly caused by narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries, but by failure of the heart to pump adequately.

    cardiopulmonary function

    The heart has 2 sides. The right side receives " ;used" blood from the body and sends it to the lungs; the left side receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it to the body. If one side of the heart becomes weak and cannot pump as well as the other side, the circulatory system becomes unbalanced, resulting in circulatory congestion. In CHF, the failure is in the heart muscle, but the congestion is in the blood vessels.

    congestive heart failure

    The figure above shows what happens if CHF occurs on the left side of the heart, which sends blood to the body. More blood is sent to the lungs than to the body. This results in congestion (overload) in the blood vessels of the lungs.

    The major symptom of CHF is breathing difficulty, not chest pain. If you are called to assist a patient who has respiratory problems but no signs of injury or airway obstruction are present, look for the signs and symptoms of CHF, which include:
    • Shortness of breath.
    • Rapid, shallow breathing.
    • Moist or gurgling respirations.
    • Enlarged neck veins.
    • Profuse sweating.
    • Anxiety.
    • Swollen ankles.

    As blood pressure builds in the vessels of the lungs, fluid is forced into the lung tissue, causing it to swell. The patient may make a gurgling sound when breathing and start spitting up a white or pink froth or foamy fluid. At this point, the patient is actually "drowning" in his or her own body fluids. The patient is very anxious but is usually in little or no pain (unless he or she is suffering a heart attack coupled with CHF).

    As soon as you determine that the patient is suffering from CHF, take these simple, lifesaving actions:
      1. Place the patient in a sitting position, preferably on a bed or chair. Having the legs hand down over the edge of the bed or chair helps drain some of the fluid back into the lower parts of the body and may improve breathing.

      2. Administer oxygen, if available, and you are trained to give it, in large quantities and at a high flow rate.

      3. Summon additional help.

      4. Arrange for prompt transportation to an appropriate medical facility.

    The most important action is to place the patient in a sitting position with the legs down. This position helps relieve CHF symptoms until more highly trained EMS personnel arrive.

    The major symptoms of heart attack is chest pain, the major symptom of CHF is difficulty breathing.

    Medical Treatment Involves:
    • Drugs to help the heart beat more strongly and regularly and to increase the output of fluids (diuresis) by the kidneys.
    • Low-sodium diet.

    • MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Diet Index

    • Restriction of fluids, if ordered.
    • Weighing patient daily to monitor level of fluid retention.
    • Monitoring apical pulse and observing for pulse deficit.

    • monitoring pulse

    • Positioning patient in orthopedic position or high Fowler's supported by pillows, or supported in a chair. The position must be changed frequently, but changes in position should be made slowly. Padded footboards help keep the weight of the bedding off the toes.

    • Applying elasticized stockings or TED hose. TED hose are elastic anti-embolism stockings. TED hose and Ace bandages help channel blood to the deeper vessels. They must be checked often and reapplied every 6 to 8 hours. Check the extremities carefully for adequate circulation. The skin should be normal color and warm.

    • Assisting with activities of daily living as needed.

    • Attending to general hygiene. Complete bathing is tiring, but partial baths can stimulate circulation and provide comfort. Special attention must be given to the skin because the combination of position, edema, and poor circulation contributes to tissue breakdown.

    • Assisting with oxygen therapy. Oxygen therapy may be provided either by face mask or nasal cannula. Because cardiac patients often breathe through the mouth, the mouth tends to be very dry. Special mouth care may be needed.

    • Providing for elimination. A bedside commode is convenient. The use of a commode is less tiring for the patient than using a bedpan for elimination.

    • Encouraging adequate nutrition. Small, easily digested meals should be provided. You may need to assist in feeding the patient to prevent fatigue.

    • Monitoring and recording fluid intake. Patients with acute heart failure may be given drugs that increase the output of urine and alter the heart rate. Measuring the intake and output and taking daily weights are ways of determining if fluid is being retained.

    • Regularly checking vital signs. Sometimes the force of heart contraction, which propels the blood forward into the blood vessels, does not have enough strength to make the vessels expand.


    When caring for a patient with a pacemaker:
    • Count and record the pulse rate.
    • Report any irregularities or changes below the present rate.
    • Report any discoloration over the implant site.
    • Report hiccuping, because this may indicate problems.
    • Keep the patient away from microwave ovens and cellular phones, because they may disrupt the function of the pacemaker.

    Patients usually function very well with pacemakers so long as they are adequately monitored.


    Treatment is aimed at:
    • Improving the quality and quantity of the blood by giving Iron supplements.
    • Eliminating the basic cause of the disease.
    • Giving blood transfusions as needed.

    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness Disorders: Anemia


    Treatment is aimed at:
    • Easing symptoms and keeping the patient comfortable.
    • Maintaining normal blood levels. Transfusions may be needed to combat the anemia that accompanies the condition.
    • Combating infection by using antibiotics.
    • Slowing the production of abnormal white cells through chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.


    Patients who have cancer or anemia require special care.
    • Check vital signs.
    • Encourage rest and a good diet.
    • Handle the patient very gently.
    • Give special mouth care, because the mouth and tongue become sensitive.
    • Be sure to report any signs of bleeding, such as bruises or discolorations, because further blood loss makes the condition worse.
    • Keep patient warm.
    • Protect patient from falls that may result from dizziness or weakness.
    • Change the patient's position often, at least every two hours.
    • Provide emotional support.


    MoonDragon's Health Care: Cardiovascular Patient Care
    MoonDragon's Health Care: Common Medical Abbreviations
    MoonDragon's Health Care: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Adult - One Rescuer
    MoonDragon's Health Care: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Adult - Two Rescuers
    MoonDragon's Health Care: Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Complications
    MoonDragon's Health Care Index Heart Sounds Cardiology Heart Sounds Wave Files
    MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Diet Index
    MoonDragon's ObGyn Information: Smoking
    MoonDragon's Health Therapy: Biofeedback
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Hypertension
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Cardiovascular Nutrition & Recommendations
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Introduction to the Circulatory System
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Circulatory Disorders
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Common Heart Problems & Procedures
    MoonDragon's Health Care Information: Cardiovascular Patient Care
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Arteriosclerosis/Atherosclerosis
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: High Cholesterol
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Hypothyroidism
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Raynaud's Phenomenon
    MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Varicose Veins

    MoonDragon's Womens Health Index

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    Health & Wellness Index


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    Eucalyptus Oil
    Fennel Oil
    Fir Needle Oil
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    German Chamomile Oil
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    Healing Baths For Colds
    Herbal Cleansers
    Using Essential Oils


    Almond, Sweet Oil
    Apricot Kernel Oil
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    Arnica Oil
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    Black Seed Oil
    Borage Seed Oil
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    Vitamin E Oil
    Wheat Germ Oil


  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Amino Acids Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Antioxidants Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Enzymes Information
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Herbs Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Homeopathics Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Hydrosols Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Minerals Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Mineral Introduction
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary & Cosmetic Supplements Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Dietary Supplements Introduction
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Specialty Supplements
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Vitamins Introduction


  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: 4 Basic Nutrients
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Foods That Contain Additives & Artificial Ingredients
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Is Aspartame A Safe Sugar Substitute?
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Guidelines For Selecting & Preparing Foods
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Destroy
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Heal
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: The Micronutrients: Vitamins & Minerals
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Overcooking Your Foods
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Phytochemicals
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Increase Your Consumption of Raw Produce
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Limit Your Use of Salt
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Use Proper Cooking Utensils
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Choosing The Best Water & Types of Water


  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Information Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutritional Therapy Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutritional Analysis Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutritional Diet Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutritional Recipe Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Therapy: Preparing Produce for Juicing
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Additives Index
  • MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Safety Links
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Index
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Articles
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Back Pain
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Labor & Birth
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Blending Chart
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Essential Oil Details
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Links
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Miscarriage
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Post Partum
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Childbearing
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Problems in Pregnancy & Birthing
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #1
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #2
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Tips
  • MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Uses
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health Index
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information Overview
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy Index
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Touch & Movement Therapies Index
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy: Touch & Movement: Aromatherapy
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Touch & Movement - Massage Therapy
  • MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Therapeutic Massage
  • MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 1
  • MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 2
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Nutrition Basics Index
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy Index
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Massage Therapy
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Hydrotherapy
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Pain Control Therapy
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Relaxation Therapy
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Steam Inhalation Therapy
  • MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy - Herbal Oils Index

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