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Changes in Heart, Valves, and Arteries (Nursing)

by Rhonda Lawes

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    00:01 So we've looked at cardiac reserve and the baroreceptor response and the changes that happen as Jose aged.

    00:07 Now let's look at Jose at age 20, but I want you to look specifically at the heart itself, the valves and the arteries.

    00:15 Okay, so there he is, look at his heart.

    00:18 There we go, it's young, it's fit, it's healthy.

    00:22 Look at the width of the walls of the ventricles.

    00:25 They're even they're equal, with a little bit bigger on the left side, because we know that's the ventricle that pushes blood out to the rest of the body.

    00:34 Next, look at the cardiomyocytes.

    00:36 Those are very specific cardiac cells.

    00:39 See, they all look healthy, they're functioning, that's what we would expect with a 20 year old.

    00:45 Now, lastly, I want you to look at the arteries.

    00:49 20 years old, they should be open, clear, and able to function effectively.

    00:54 So the heart of a 20 year old, we're looking for walls that are similar sized, a little bit bigger on the left, because of the workload.

    01:02 We're looking for valves that are open and closing well, and we're looking for arteries that are clear.

    01:09 Now let's fast forward 65 years, let's take a look at Jose.

    01:13 Remember he's led a healthy lifestyle, he's been active.

    01:17 So what we're looking at on this slide are actual changes that are separate from a disease process.

    01:23 These are the normal changes you'd anticipate for someone as they age.

    01:28 So let's look at the wall first, look at the wall of that left ventricle.

    01:33 Yeah, it is significantly thicker than when he was 20 years of age, and it's also thicker than the right side.

    01:40 Now, that is the same remember, we expect the left side to be a little bit bigger, but when you see how much the left side has enlarged since he was 20, that is a normal sign of aging.

    01:52 Next up, let's look at those specific cardiac cells.

    01:56 Now we have some dark ones in there, they're called senescent cells, that means they're kind of aging out, they're not functioning as effectively.

    02:04 That's another difference in the amount of cardiomyocytes that Jose has at age 85, as compared to when he was 20.

    02:12 Now finally, I want you to take a look at the arteries.

    02:16 Starting to get a little more sclerosis in there, a little more build up than when he was 20, but still should function fine.

    02:24 Now there's something else that we haven't really talked about yet.

    02:28 I want to go right into the heart and look at those valves.

    02:31 See, by age 85, you're going to have some sclerosis, some stiffening of the mitral and the atrial valves so keep that in mind.

    02:40 Shouldn't be severe, but you might hear some of that maybe when you're auscultating heart sounds.

    02:46 So let's do a quick review of the changes in Jose's heart now that he's 85 years old.

    02:53 So we know that the wall of his left ventricle is definitely thicker.

    02:57 He's got some cells that are senescent, or they're aging out so they're not as effective, and we see a little bit of that sclerosis.

    03:05 Now I want to just touch on this point here, when we talk about the sympathetic response.

    03:10 It's diminished in someone who's 85 years old, so I'll explain more about that but just file that away and keep that in mind, we'll come back to it in just a moment.

    03:19 Now let's take a look at Enrique.

    03:21 Remember Jose's heart were changes that happen normally with aging, minus illness so illness was not involved.

    03:29 But when we look at Enrique, he's the same age, but he's experienced chronic illness.

    03:34 Remember, he had a heart attack at age 52.

    03:37 He had chronic congestive heart failure, so he's had a different course than Jose did.

    03:43 Look at his heart, what looks different to you.

    03:47 Well you see, look at the valves, and we talked about it's normal for them to get a little stiff as you age.

    03:53 But if you look there, he's likely to have leaking valves.

    03:57 Now that's a problem because what is the role and function of a valve? Do you remember that it's supposed to keep blood flowing through the heart in the right direction, and not leaking back up to the other chamber.

    04:09 With a leaking valve, that's going to be problematic for someone having an efficient cardiac output or ejection fraction.

    04:16 Now look at his vessels, look at his arteries.

    04:20 Wow, those are almost completely filled in.

    04:23 So those are some differences that you will see between an aging heart at 85 and an aging heart impacted by chronic illness.

    04:33 Let's go back to that decreased b1 sensitivity.

    04:36 Now that stands for beta adrenergic-1, so this is a receptor that's on the heart.

    04:42 Now Jose had them at age 20 and he still has them at age 85, right, so the receptors are there And at age 20, if the beta-1 receptors are connected by norepinephrine when that hits that receptor and it causes a reaction, you'll see that heart rate pump harder and faster.

    04:59 So norepinephrine and epinephrine are two neurotransmitters when they connect with a beta-1 receptor on the hear,t the heart beats faster and stronger.

    05:09 Now fast forward to age 85, with the same amount of norepinephrine and epinephrine, the heart just doesn't respond.

    05:18 Those baroreceptors have a diminished response to the same amount.

    05:22 So if I took a 20 year old heart and an 85 year old heart and I exposed both of those hearts to the same amount of epinephrine or norepinephrine, the 20 year old heart would respond, the 85 year old heart would have a much more diminished response.

    05:39 So here's a great summary slide for you.

    05:41 Start on the left, and you'll see that Jose and Enrique both started at the same place.

    05:46 The next pictures show you a comparison of the changes in normal aging, and normal aging plus chronic illness.

    05:55 So what I'd love for you to do is pause the video and write out without looking at your notes, write out the differences that you remember, in Jose's heart at 85 and Enrique's heart at age 85.


    About the Lecture

    The lecture Changes in Heart, Valves, and Arteries (Nursing) by Rhonda Lawes is from the course Assessment of the Geriatric Patient: Cardiovascular System (Nursing).


    Included Quiz Questions

    1. Presence of senescent cells
    2. Thinning of ventricular walls
    3. Right ventricular walls are thicker than the left
    4. Severe sclerosis of the heart valves
    1. It causes decreased beta-1 sensitivity.
    2. It causes increased beta-1 sensitivity.
    3. It causes an increase in beta-1 receptors.
    4. It causes a decrease in beta-1 receptors.
    1. Leaking heart valves
    2. Thickening of ventricular walls
    3. Decrease in cardiomyocyte function
    4. Mild sclerosis of arteries

    Author of lecture Changes in Heart, Valves, and Arteries (Nursing)

     Rhonda Lawes

    Rhonda Lawes


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