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Shrinking Heart
miles000 posted:
Hello I am trying to find information about my heart. I've had a triple bypass in my 30's after 3 weeks of heart attacks which I thought was a pinched nerve because the pain was in between my shoulder blades. While being scoped I crashed and was taken into surgery where I had a triple by pass. I was told I have a shrinking heart yet trying to find information on the subject has been fruitless. Can someone direct me to resources on this condition? I'm now 51 5' 8" and 155#'s without a cholesterol problem no stints and I've had several heart attacks since my operation.I was told this was a genetic condition besides that bit of information I'm in the dark about this disease. Thank you in advance for any info that I might can glean from your answers.
cardiostarusa1 responded:

"I was told I have a shrinking heart"

We often hear about an enlarged heart, but seldom, if ever about a shrinking one.

Changes in the aging heart (media)

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Aging heart changes shape, SHRINKS and loses pumping function too - Study defines precisely why age is a risk factor for heart failure


Evidence explains why the supposedly natural act of aging is by itself a very potent risk factor for life-threatening heart failure.

Pertinent snippets

Each year as people age, the time it takes for their heart muscles to squeeze and relax grows longer, by 2 percent to 5 percent.

The actual amount of blood pumped out by the heart fell by 8 milliliters per year.

Results demonstrate just how the heart plays a losing game of catch-up as people age.

As various medical literature and the worldwide media have reported, clinically significant (blood flow-limiting) coronary artery disease (CAD), sometimes leading to a dreaded heart attack, is increasing in those in their mid/late 30s to early 40s.

CAD actually begins (the process and progression of) very early in life, even as early as in the pre-teen/teenage years. Fatty streaks (represents the earliest precursor to plaque development and plaque is the pathological hallmark of atherosclerosis) are the beginning of atherosclerosis in the coronary arteries. Soft plaque (more dangerous and unpredictable than hard or calcified plaque) is the early stage of atherosclerosis.

The bottom line

Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery is just a clever way of temporarily circumventing the problem (atherosclerosisi), as it doesn't address the disease process and what drives the progression.

Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a lifelong unpredictable (may/can exhibit periods of stabilization, acceleration and even sme regression) condition requiring a continuum of care.

Best of luck down the road of life.

Take care,


WebMD member (since 8/99)



Be well-informed


Living with Coronary Artery Disases

CAD is a chronic disease with no cure. When you have CAD, it is important to take care.....

This is especially true if you have had an interventional procedure or surgery to improve blood flow to the heart../It is up to you to take steps.....

Recognize the symptoms...

Reduce your risk factors...

Take your medications...

See your doctor for regular check-ups...


Good to know, for the primary and secondary prevention of heart attack and brain attack (stroke)

Epidemiologic studies (EDS) have revealed risk factors (encompasses some new, novel or emerging) for atherosclerosis, which includes age, gender, genetics (gene deletion, malfunction or mutation) , diabetes (considered as being the highest risk factor), smoking (includes second/thirdhand), inactivity, obesity (a global epidemic, "globesity"), high blood pressure (hypertension), Low HDL (now questionable, according to recent studies) high LDL, small, dense LDL, RLP (remnant lipoprotein), high Lp(a), high ApoB, high Lp-PLA2, high triglycerides, HDL2b, high homocysteine (now questionable), and high C-reactive protein (CRP/hs-CRP).



Coronary artery anatomy

Starting with the left anterior descending (LAD), the most critical, next to the ultra-critical left main (LM).



Be a questioning patient. TALK to your DOCTOR and ASK QUESTIONS. Studies show that patients who ask the most questions, and are most assertive, get the best results. Be vigilant and speak up!"

- Charles Inlander, People's Medical Society


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For more information, visit the Duke Health General and Consultative Heart Care Center