Article Title

Rhythm of the Heart

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Heart failure is the leading killer of men and women in the United States, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). When blood flow to a section of the heart muscle decreases or becomes blocked, the heart is deprived of oxygen and begins to die. Oxygen demand by muscles like the heart during exercise is many times greater than during a resting state. This increased oxygen delivery is accomplished by increased cardiac output and redistribution of blood flow to skeletal muscles. Exercise presents one of the greatest challenges to cardiovascular control, a challenge exacerbated in subjects with cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure and hypertension, often leading to coronary ischemia, impaired ventricular function, arrhythmias and even sudden cardiac death. A team of researchers at Wayne State led by Donal O’Leary, Ph.D., professor of physiology in WSU’s School of Medicine, is investigating what causes the reduction of blood flow to muscles and the heart during exercise in patients who suffer from heart failure.