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Form of arteriosclerosis in which fatty plaque deposits in the interior lining of an artery.
Specialized muscle fibers connecting the atria with the ventricles and transmitting impulses between them; bundle of His.
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.
Gas released by body cells and carried by veins to the heart, and then to the lungs for exhalation; CO2.
Abnormal condition of blueness of the skin; caused by decreased oxygen and increased carbon dioxide in the blood.
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.
Blood vessel carrying oxygen-poor blood from the right ventricle of the heart to the lungs.
One of two pairs of vessels carrying oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart.
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.
Flow of blood from body tissues to the heart and from the heart back to the tissues.
Structure in a vein or in the heart that temporarily closes an opening so that blood flows in the proper direction.
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.
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).
Failure of conduction of impulses from the AV node to the atrioventricular bundle and ventricles of the heart.
Electrical impulses move randomly throughout the atria, causing the atria to quiver instead of contracting with a normal rhythm.
Calcium channel blocker
Drug used to treat chest pain (angina) and high blood pressure (hypertension).
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.
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.
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.
Digital subtraction angiography
Video equipment, computer and x-ray machine produce images of blood vessels before and after injecting contrast material.
High-energy sound waves are transmitted into the chest and images recorded of valves, chambers, surfaces and movement of 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.
Use of a heart-lung machine to divert blood from the heart and lungs during open heart surgery.
Compact version of an electrocardiograph is worn during a 24-hour period to detect cardiac arrhythmias.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillator
Small electric device implanted inside the chest (near the collarbone) to sense arrhythmias and terminate them to restore normal sinus rhythm.
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.
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 valve prolapse
Abnormal closure of the mitral valve so that blood refluxes backward into the left atrium during ventricular contraction.
Drug used in the treatment of angina (pectoris). It dilates coronary arteries so that more blood flows to heart muscle.
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.
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.
Peripheral vascular disease
Blockage of blood vessels outside the heart. Carotid artery occlusion is an example.
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.
Recurrent episodes of pallor and cyanosis in fingers and toes caused by blood vessel spasms.
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).
Exercise tolerance test (ETT) is used to determine the heart's response to physical exertion.
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").
Injection of drugs (streptokinase and tPA) to dissolve clots in the bloodstream.
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