About Heart Disease

About Heart Disease

Heart disease can take many forms, but the most common types are listed here. In the video below, Dr. Glenn Barnhart, medical director of Swedish Heart & Vascular Institute, provides an overview of cornary artery disease.

What is Coronary Artery Disease?

Coronary artery disease

This most common type of heart disease occurs when a thick, fatty substance called plaque builds up inside the arteries, making it hard for blood to flow and carry oxygen to the heart.

Heart-muscle damage

Damage to the heart muscle reduces its pumping power and allows blood and other fluids to back up and circulate in other parts of the body. The heart is at risk of becoming oxygen-deprived.

Rhythm disorders

When something happens to disturb the heart’s internal electrical signal, it can’t pump the way it should. It may beat too fast or too slow, both of which can lead to cardiac problems.

Valve abnormalities

Four valves control the direction and flow of blood as it enters and leaves the heart. Valve disease keeps the valve from opening and closing the way it should. A narrowed valve blocks the normal flow of blood, forcing the heart to work harder to force the blood through. In a leaky valve, some of the blood leaks backward, which also affects blood flow.

What is the aortic valve?

Contact Information

Heart & Vascular Institute Administrative Offices
500 17th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122
Phone: 206-215-4545



Network of locations

Cardiovascular services are provided at our main facility at Cherry Hill and at multiple locations in King, Snohomish, Clallam and Grays Harbor Counties.

Are you at risk for heart disease?

More people are seeking the advice of a cardiologist before something bad happens. Let us help you evaluate and minimize your risk. Hear from a cardiologist and watch videos of heart patients and their journey through treatment.  

Learn More

What to expect during your hospital stay


Take a personalized interactive tour, click here. Also see: Patient Guide for Cardiac Surgery

Watch and learn


Educational videos on our innovative cardiovascular conditions and treatment options.