Medical students often learn about the cardiovascular system as an isolated entity; in many cases a focused approach to anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology is presented without consideration of other biological systems. While this may be a reasonable way to learn the fundamentals of cardiovascular science, it becomes quite clear to these students during their clinical training that the cardiovascular system functions in a remarkably complex milieu in concert with other organ systems. The development of perturbations in one system often leads to responses in other systems in an attempt to maintain functional homeostasis. Accordingly, the cardiovascular system is subject to the complex interplay among organ systems and a multitude of other factors, including those from the environment and the individual’s lifestyle. When problems with other organ systems develop, the initial clinical manifestations may be cardiovascular in nature (eg, abnormalities in heart rate, rhythm, and blood pressure). Understanding that today’s busy practitioner is regularly faced with patients who have many complex medical problems, the Editors of Circulation have commissioned this special series that focuses on the cardiovascular consequences of other medical disorders.
Articles in this series, Cardiovascular Involvement in General Medical Conditions, will be published monthly over the next 7 months. Each article, which is written by highly respected experts in the field, will provide a comprehensive and insightful overview of the pathophysiology, clinical manifestations, and treatment options for a specific condition. Topics will cover thyroid diseases, rheumatological disorders, sepsis, pulmonary diseases, cancer and chemotherapy, and alcohol use and abuse. We anticipate that this series will provide a valuable resource for the clinician, who can readily bring this information to the bedside. We also hope that the gaps in the knowledge base that are highlighted in each article of this series will inspire the researcher to move the field forward.