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X-ray record of a blood vessel.


Surgical repair of a blood vessel.


Lack of oxygen in body tissues.


Largest artery in the body.

Aortic stenosis

Narrowing of the aorta.


Without rhythm; an irregular beat of the heart.

Arterial anastomosis

Surgical connection between two arteries.


X-ray recording of arteries; contrast is injected.


Small artery.


Hardening of an artery with collection of fatty plaque.


Largest type of blood vessel.


Removal of plaque (lipids and clots) that accumulate in the lining of an artery.


Mass of fatty plaque that collects in an artery.


Form of arteriosclerosis in which fatty plaque deposits in the interior lining of an artery.


Pertaining to an atrium (upper chamber of the heart).

Atrioventricular bundle

Specialized muscle fibers connecting the atria with the ventricles and transmitting impulses between them; bundle of His.

Atrioventricular node

Specialized tissue in the wall between the atria. Electrical impulses pass from the sino-atrial node (pacemaker) through the atrioventricular node and atrioventricular bundle (bundle of His) toward the ventricles.

Atrium (pl. atria)

Upper chamber of the heart.

Brachial artery

Artery that carries blood to the arm.


Slow heartbeat.

Bundle of His

Atrioventricular bundle.


Smallest blood vessel.

Carbon dioxide

Gas released by body cells and carried by veins to the heart, and then to the lungs for exhalation; CO2.


Enlargement of the heart.


Disease of heart muscle.

Coronary arteries

Branches of the aorta bringing oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle.


Abnormal condition of blueness of the skin; caused by decreased oxygen and increased carbon dioxide in the blood.

Deoxygenated blood

Blood that is oxygen-poor.


Relaxation phase of the heartbeat.


Record of the electricity flowing through the heart.


Inner lining of the heart.


Innermost lining of blood vessels.


High levels of cholesterol in the blood.


Hypoxia is deficiency of oxygen in body tissues.

Interventricular septum

Wall between the ventricles of the heart.

Mitral valve

Valve between the left atrium and left ventricle; bicuspid valve.

Mitral valvulitis

Inflammation of the mitral valve.


Muscular layer of the heart.


Rare neoplasm of connective tissue found in the heart muscle.

Normal sinus rhythm

Heart rhythm originating in the sinoatrial node.


A gas that enters the body through the lungs and travels to the heart to be distributed by arterial blood to all parts of the body.


Specialized nervous tissue in the wall of the right atrium; it begins the heartbeat; sinoatrial node.


Surgical puncture to remove fluid within the pericardial space surrounding the heart.


Double-layered membrane surrounding the heart.


Incision into a vein.

Pulmonary artery

Blood vessel carrying oxygen-poor blood from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs.

Pulmonary circulation

Flow of blood from the heart to the lungs and then back to the heart.

Pulmonary valve

A valve located between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery.

Pulmonary vein

One of two pairs of vessels carrying oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart.


Beat of the heart as felt through the walls of the arteries.

Septum (pl. septa)

Wall or partition. The interatrial septum lies between the atria of the heart and the interventricular septum is between the ventricles of the heart.

Sinoatrial node

Sensitive nervous tissue in the wall of the right atrium; pacemaker of the heart.


Instrument to measure blood pressure.


Instrument for listening to sounds in the chest.

Systemic circulation

Flow of blood from body tissues to the heart and from the heart back to the tissues.


Contraction phase of the heartbeat.


Rapid heartbeat.


Destruction of a clot.


Inflammation of a vein and formation of a clot within the vein.

Tricuspid valve

A valve located between the right atrium and right ventricle.


Structure in a vein or in the heart that temporarily closes an opening so that blood flows in the proper direction.


Incision of a valve.


Surgical repair of a valve.


Pertaining to a blood vessel.


Narrowing of a blood vessel.


Widening of a blood vessel; vasodilatation.


Thin-walled blood vessel that carries oxygen-poor (deoxygenated) blood from body tissues back to the heart.

Vena cava (pl. venae cavae)

Largest vein in the body. The venae cavae (inferior and superior) return blood to the heart from the body tissues.


Incision of a vein to remove blood.


Pertaining to a vein.


One of two lower chambers of the heart.


Small vein.

ACE inhibitor

Drug that causes dilation of blood vessels and lowers blood pressure, prevents heart attacks, strokes, and congestive heart failure. ACE stands for angiotensin-converting enzyme, which normally constricts blood vessels.

Acute coronary syndromes

Consequences of plaque rupture in coronary arteries; unstable angina and myocardial infarction (heart attack).


Local widening or ballooning out of a small area of an artery.


Chest pain associated with myocardial ischemia.


X-ray imaging of blood vessels after injection of contrast material.

Atrioventricular block

Failure of conduction of impulses from the AV node to the atrioventricular bundle and ventricles of the heart.

Atrial fibrillation

Electrical impulses move randomly throughout the atria, causing the atria to quiver instead of contracting with a normal rhythm.


Use of a stethoscope to listen for sounds emanating from the heart or other organs.


Drug used to treat high blood pressure and control heart rate.


An abnormal blowing or swishing sound heard on auscultation of an artery or an organ.

Calcium channel blocker

Drug used to treat chest pain (angina) and high blood pressure (hypertension).

Cardiac arrest

Sudden, unexpected stoppage of the heart; sudden cardiac death.

Cardiac catheterization

Thin, flexible tube is guided into the heart via a vein or an artery and after contrast material is introduced, blood pressure is measured, and x-rays taken to image patterns of blood flow.

Cardiac MRI

Images of the heart are produced with magnetic waves.

Cardiac tamponade

Pressure on the heart caused by fluid in the pericardial space.


Treatment for serious arrhythmias using brief discharges of electricity to shock the heart so that a normal rhythm can begin; defibrillation.


Pain, tension, and weakness in a leg after walking has begun, but absence of pain at rest.

Coarctation of the aorta

Congenital anomaly in which a portion of the aorta near the heart is narrowed or stenosed.

Computerized tomography angiography

X-ray images are combined with computerized tomography to produce a three-dimensional picture of the heart and blood vessels.

Congenital heart disease

Structural heart defects that appear at birth.

Congestive heart failure

Heart is unable to pump its required amount of blood.

Coronary artery disease

Arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become clogged and blocked with deposits of fatty material and cholesterol (plaque).

Coronary artery bypass grafting

Arteries or veins are grafted onto coronary arteries to bypass blocked arteries and bring need blood supply to the myocardium.

Deep-vein thrombosis

Blood clots form in a large vein, usually in the leg.


Drug that increases the strength and regularity of the heartbeat.

Digital subtraction angiography

Video equipment, computer and x-ray machine produce images of blood vessels before and after injecting contrast material.

Doppler ultrasound

Method of focusing sound waves on blood vessels to measure blood flow.


High-energy sound waves are transmitted into the chest and images recorded of valves, chambers, surfaces and movement of the heart.


Process of recording the electricity flowing through the heart.

Electron beam computed tomography

Electron beams and CT identify calcium deposits in and around coronary arteries to diagnose early coronary artery disease.

Embolus (pl. emboli)

A clot or other substance that travels to a distant location and suddenly blocks a blood vessel.


Surgical removal of plaque from the inner layer of an artery.


Inflammation of the endocardium (inner lining of the heart).

Extracorporeal circulation

Use of a heart-lung machine to divert blood from the heart and lungs during open heart surgery.


Random, rapid, inefficient, irregular contractions of the atria or ventricles.


Rapid, but regular contractions of the heart, usually of the atria.

Heart transplantation

Donor heart is transferred to a recipient.


Swollen, twisted veins in the rectal and anal region.

Holter monitoring

Compact version of an electrocardiograph is worn during a 24-hour period to detect cardiac arrhythmias.


High blood pressure.

Implantable cardioverter defibrillator

Small electric device implanted inside the chest (near the collarbone) to sense arrhythmias and terminate them to restore normal sinus rhythm.


Area of dead tissue.


Holding back blood to an region of the body. Myocardial ischemia is deprivation of blood to the heart muscle.

Left ventricular assist device

Booster pump implanted in the abdomen with a tube inserted into the left ventricle. An LVAD is a "bridge to transplant" or destination therapy when heart transplantation is impossible.

Lipid tests

Measurement of cholesterol and triglycerides (fats) in a sample of blood.

Lipoprotein electrophoresis

Lipoproteins (combinations of fat and protein) are physically separated in a blood sample. Examples of lipoproteins are HDL (high density lipoprotein) and LDL (low density lipoprotein).

Mitral stenosis

Narrowing of the mitral valve.

Mitral valve prolapse

Abnormal closure of the mitral valve so that blood refluxes backward into the left atrium during ventricular contraction.


Extra sound heard between normal beats during auscultation of the heart.

Myocardial infarction

Area of dead (necrotic) tissue in the heart muscle; heart attack.


Drug used in the treatment of angina (pectoris). It dilates coronary arteries so that more blood flows to heart muscle.


Blockage or closure of a vessel or tube.


Uncomfortable sensations in the chest related to cardiac arrhythmias, such as skipped beats.

Patent ductus arteriosus

The ductus arteriosus, a small duct that is open during fetal circulation, fails to close at birth.

Percutaneous coronary

A catheter with a balloon and stent is inserted into a intervention coronary artery to remove collections of plaque. Drug-eluting stents release chemicals to keep debris and plaque from recollecting.

Pericardial friction rub

Scraping or grating sound heard on auscultation of the heart. It is usually symptomatic of pericarditis.


Inflammation of the pericardium (double-layered outermost membrane of the heart).

Peripheral vascular disease

Blockage of blood vessels outside the heart. Carotid artery occlusion is an example.


Small pinpoint hemorrhages under the skin.

Positron emission tomography

Images show blood flow and myocardial function following uptake of radioactive substances.

Radiofrequency catheter ablation

To treat certain cardiac arrhythmias, radiofrequency energy is delivered from the tip of a catheter inserted through a blood vessel into the heart. The treatment destroys or ablates the tissue causing the arrhythmia.

Raynaud disease

Recurrent episodes of pallor and cyanosis in fingers and toes caused by blood vessel spasms.

Rheumatic heart disease

Heart disease caused by rheumatic fever.

Septal defects

Small holes, present at birth, in the walls between the heart chambers.

Serum enzyme tests

Chemicals measured in the blood as evidence of a heart attack. Examples are creatine kinase (CK), troponin-I (cTnI), and troponin T (cTnT).


Drugs given to lower cholesterol in the bloodstream.

Stress test

Exercise tolerance test (ETT) is used to determine the heart's response to physical exertion.


Continuous monitoring of a patient's heart rhythm in a hospital.

Tetralogy of Fallot

Four separate defects of the heart occurring at birth.

Technetium 99m sestamibi

Uptake of a radioactive chemical (technetium 99m scan sestamibi) in myocardium reveals evidence of a heart attack (myocardial infarction).

Thallium 201 scan

Concentration of a radioactive substance (thallium 201) is measured in the myocardium to show evidence of an infarction ("cold spots").


Fine vibration felt on palpation (touching) the body over a blood vessel that is blocked.

Thrombolytic therapy

Injection of drugs (streptokinase and tPA) to dissolve clots in the bloodstream.

Thrombotic occlusion

Blockage of a blood vessel caused by thrombosis or clot formation.

Varicose veins

Swollen, twisted veins, often occurring in the legs.


Collections of clotted material that accumulate on endocardium and valves of the heart in conditions such as endocarditis and rheumatic heart disease.

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