Written Communication – Proofreading: Heart Disease

Proofreading: Heart Disease

Proofreading (reading over a document, sometimes several times, to look for and correct errors in spelling, grammar and content) is a very important skill which can be developed with practice.

Your task 

Read the two paragraphs of a text on heart disease which are included below. Print off the excerpt and make the necessary corrections or rewrite a correct version for yourself. Suggested corrections follow the exercise. Remember to check spelling, punctuation and grammar. Use a dictionary if required, but only after you have tried the exercise for yourself. Note: There are 20 errors.


One of the most common serious aflictions in modern society is heart disease. This general label encompasses many different abnormal conditions, including congenital heart defects (many of which can be repaired surgically), diseases of the the pericardium (the tissue surrounding the heart muscle), and diseases affecting the heart muscle itself (the myocardium). Physicians cannot often detect or predict heart problems by measuring rate of heartbeat (called pulse) and by taking patient’s blood pressure. Another important diagnostic tool is the electrokardiogram (EKG), a record of the electrical activity of the heart, which can reveal abnormal cardiac rhythm and myocardial damage. When heart disease is suspected and more detailed information are needed, an angiogram is ordered. This series of X-ray films (taken after the injection of an radiopaque substance) defines the size and shape of various veins and arteries.

The most common cardiovascular disease is atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Atherosclerosisof the coronary arteries may cause the development of a coronary thrombus (blood clot), which block the flow of blood to the heart muscle. If, as a result, part of the heart muscle dies, the condition is called myocardial infraction (a heart attack). Some     symptoms and signs of a heart attack are pain in the chest (and sometimes also in the jaws and arms), shortness of breathing, irregular pulse, nausea, and perspiration. Prompt cardiopulmonary resussitation can save victims from sudden death. Among the emergency procedures used is a technique known as percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA). This technique widens coronary arteries that have become dangerously narrow do to deposits (called plack) on their interior walls. The procedure involves manipulating a cathiter (flexible tube) into the constricted vessel, then inflating a small balloon at it’s tip, thereby compressing the plaque and widening the passage. This procedure can sometimes substitute for a much more traumatic one – bypass surgery.

Adapted from Tiersky, E.M. (1992) The Language of Medicine in English, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, pp. 39-44.