Cardiac anesthesia encompasses the care of patients with cardiac disease; it is not limited to the care of patients undergoing cardiac surgery. In order to provide a successful cardiac anesthetic, it is imperative to understand fundamental aspects of cardiovascular physiology. These concepts include preload, afterload, and contractility; and how they relate to pressure-work versus volume-work for the heart. These concepts guide the management of specific disease conditions such as aortic stenosis, aortic insufficiency, mitral stenosis, mitral insufficiency, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, as well as systolic heart failure and diastolic heart failure. A brief introduction to ventricular assist devices is included as well.
Keywords: Afterload, Aortic Insufficiency, Aortic Stenosis, Contractility, Diastolic Heart Failure, Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Mitral Insufficiency, Mitral Stenosis, Preload, Pressure Work, Systolic Heart Failure, Ventricular Assist Devices (VADS), Volume Work.