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surgical repair of a blood vessel


excision of fatty plaque (from a blocked artery using a specialized catheter and a rotary cutter)


excision within the artery (excision of plaque from the arterial wall). This procedure is usually named for the artery to be cleaned out, such as carotid endarterectomy, which means removal of plaque from the wall of the carotid artery.


surgical puncture to aspirate fluid from the sac surrounding the heart (pericardium) (used to remove fluid or air, usually to relieve cardiac tamponade)


excision of a vein


incision into a vein (to remove blood or to give blood or intravenous fluids) (also called venipuncture)


surgical repair of a valve (cardiac or venous)


excision of the spleen


surgical fixation of the spleen


excision of the thymus gland


surgical excision of an aneurysm

atrial fibrillation ablation

a procedure in which abnormal cells that trigger atrial fibrillation are destroyed by using radiofrequency energy

cardiac pacemaker

battery-powered apparatus implanted under the skin with leads placed on the heart or in the chamber of the heart; used to treat an abnormal heart rhythm, usually one that is too slow, secondary to an abnormal sinus node.

coronary artery bypass graft

surgical technique to bring a new blood supply to heart muscle by detouring around blocked arteries

coronary stent

a supportive scaffold device placed in the coronary artery; used to prevent closure of the artery after angioplasty or atherectomy; used to treat an artery occluded by plaque.


surgical removal of an embolus or clot, usually with a balloon catheter, inflating the balloon beyond the clot, then pulling the balloon back to the incision and bringing the clot with it

femoropopliteal bypass

surgery to establish an alternative route from femoral artery to popliteal artery to bypass an obstruction

implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD)

a device implanted in the body that continuously monitors the heart rhythm. If life-threatening arrhythmias occur, the device delivers an electric shock to convert the arrhythmia back to a normal rhythm.

intracoronary thrombolytic therapy

an injection of a medication either intravenously or intraarterially to dissolve blood clots in the coronary arteries

percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA)

procedure in which a balloon is passed through a blood vessel into a coronary artery to the area where plaque is formed. Inflation of the balloon compresses the plaque against the vessel wall, expanding the inner diameter of the blood vessel, which allows the blood to circulate more freely (also called balloon angioplasty).

bone marrow aspiration

a syringe is used to aspirate a sample of the liquid portion of the bone marrow, usually from the ilium, for study; used to diagnose, stage, and monitor disease and condition of the blood cells

bone marrow biopsy

a needle puncture to obtain a sample of bone marrow, usually from the ilium, for study; used to diagnose, stage, and monitor disease and condition of the blood cells

bone marrow transplant

infusion of healthy bone marrow cells from a donor with matching cells and tissue to a recipient


radiographic imaging of blood vessels(the procedure is named for the vessel to be studied, e.g., femoral angiography or coronary angiography)


instrument used for visual examination (of the lumen) of a blood vessel


visual examination (of the lumen) of a blood vessel


radiographic image of the aorta (after an injection of contrast media)


radiographic image of an artery (after an injection of contrast media)


radiographic imaging of vein (after an injection of contrast media)

echocardiogram (ECHO)

record of the heart (structure and motion) using sound (used to detect valvular disease and evaluate heart function)

electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG)

record of the electrical activity of the heart


instrument used to record the electrical activity of the heart


process of recording the electrical activity of the heart

digital subtraction angiography (DSA)

a process of digital radiographic imaging of the blood vessels that "subtracts" or removes structures not being studied

Doppler ultrasound

a study that uses sound for detection of blood flow within the vessels; used to assess intermittent claudication, deep vein thrombosis, and other blood flow abnormalities.

exercise stress test

a study that evaluates cardiac function during physical stress by riding a bike or walking on a treadmill. Electrocardiography, echocardiography, and nuclear medicine scanning are three types of tests performed to measure cardiac function while exercising.

single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)

a nuclear medicine scan that visualizes the heart from several different angles. A radioactive tracer substance such as sestamibi or thallium is injected intravenously. The SPECT scanner creates images from the tracer absorbed by the body tissues. It is used to assess damage to cardiac tissue.

thallium test

a nuclear medicine test used to diagnose coronary artery disease and assess revascularization after coronary artery bypass surgery. Thallium, a radioactive isotope, is injected into the body intravenously; a radiation detector is placed over the heart and images are recorded. Thallium is taken up by the normal myocardial cells, but not in ischemia or infarction. These areas are identified as "cold" spots on the images produced. Thallium testing can be performed when the patient is at rest or it can be part of a stress test.

transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)

an ultrasound test that examines cardiac function and structure by using an ultrasound probe placed in the esophagus, which provides views of the heart structures

cardiac catheterization

an examination to determine the condition of the heart and surrounding blood vessels. A catheter is passed into the heart through a blood vessel and is used to record pressures and inject a contrast medium, enabling the visualization of the coronary arteries, great vessels, and the heart chambers; used most frequently to evaluate chest pain and coronary artery disease

impedance plethysmography (IPG)

measures venous flow of the extremities with a plethysmograph to detect clots by measuring changes in blood volume and resistance (impedance) in the vein; used to detect deep vein thrombosis

blood pressure (BP)

pressure exerted by the blood against the blood vessel walls. A blood pressure measurement written as systolic pressure (120) and diastolic pressure (80) is commonly recorded as 120/80.


the rhythmic expansion of an artery that can be felt with a finger. The pulse is most commonly felt over the radial artery; however, the pulsations can be felt over a number of sites, including the femoral and carotid arteries.


device used for measuring blood pressure

C-reactive protein (CRP)

a blood test to measure the amount of C-reactive protein in the blood, which, when evaluated, indicates inflammation in the body. It is sometimes used in assessing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

creatine phosphokinase (CPK)

a blood test used to measure the level of creatine phosphokinase, an enzyme of heart and skeletal muscle released into the blood after muscle injury or necrosis. The test is useful in evaluating patients with acute myocardial infarction.


a blood test used to measure the amount of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is an amino acid that, if elevated, may indicate an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

lipid profile

a blood test used to measure the amount of lipids in a sample of blood. This test is used to evaluate the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and to monitor therapy of existing disease. Results provide levels of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), and triglycerides


a blood test that measure troponin, a heart muscle enzyme. Troponins are released into the blood approximately 3 hours after necrosis of the heart muscle and may remain elevated from 7 to 10 days. The test is useful in the diagnosis of a myocardial infarction.

coagulation time

blood test used to determine the time it takes for blood to form a clot

complete blood count (CBC) and differential count (Diff)

basic blood screening that measures hemoglobin, hematocrit, red blood cell number and morphology (size and shape), leukocyte count, and white blood cell differential (types of white blood cells) and platelet count. The test is automated, thus done easily and rapidly, and provides a tremendous amount of information about the blood.

hematocrit (HCT)

a blood test to measure the volume of red blood cells. It is used in the diagnosis and evaluation of anemic patients.

hemoglobin (Hgb)

blood test used to determine the concentration of oxygen-carrying components (hemoglobin) in red blood cells

prothrombin time (PT)

blood test used to determine certain coagulation activity defects and to monitor anticoagulation therapy for patients taking Coumadin, an oral anticoagulant medication. (Activated partial thromboplastin time [PTT] is used to monitor anticoagulation therapy for patients taking heparin, and intravenous anticoagulant medication.


pertaining to the atrium and ventricle


pertaining to the heart


originating in the heart


physician who studies and treats diseases of the heart


study of the heart (a branch of medicine that deals with diseases of the heart and blood vessels)


condition of (body) temperature that is below (normal) (sometimes induced for various surgical procedures, such as bypass surgery)


pertaining to within the vein


physician who studies and treats diseases of the veins


study of veins (a branch of medicine that deals with diseases of the veins)


physician who studies and treats diseases of the blood


study of the blood (a branch of medicine that deals with diseases of the blood)


formation of blood (cells)


dissolution of (red) blood (cells)


stoppage of bleeding


formation of bone marrow


removal of plasma (from withdrawn blood)


dissolution of a clot

cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

emergency procedure consisting of artificial ventilation and external cardiac massage


application of an electric shock to the myocardium through the chest wall to restore normal cardiac rhythm


phase in the cardiac cycle in which the ventricles relax between contractions (diastolic is the lower number of a blood pressure reading)


occurring outside the body. During open-heart surgery extracorporeal circulation occurs when blood is diverted outside the body to a heart-lung machine.


escape of blood from the blood vessel into the tissue


rapid, quivering, noncoordinated contractions of the atria or ventricles

heart murmur

a short-duration humming sound of cardiac or vascular origin


excessive amount of cholesterol in the blood; associated with heightened risk of cardiovascular disease


excessive amount of fats (triglycerides and cholesterol) in the blood


blood pressure that is above normal (greater than 140/90)


excessive amount of triglycerides in the blood; associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease


blood pressure that is below normal (less than 90/60)


fats and fatlike substances that serve as a source of fuel in the body and are an important constituent of cell structure


space within a tubular part or organ, such as the space within a blood vessel


to close tightly, to block


phase in the cardiac cycle in which the ventricles contract (systolic is the upper number of a blood pressure reading)


agent or nerve that narrows the blood vessels


agent or nerve that enlarges the blood vessels


puncture of a vein to remove blood, instill a medication, or start an intravenous infusion


agent that slows the blood clotting process

blood dyscrasia

abnormal or pathologic condition of the blood


rapid loss of blood, as in bleeding


an environmental substance capable of producing an immediate hypersensitivity in the body (allergy). Common allergens are house dust, pollen, animal dander, and various foods.


a physician who studies and treats allergic conditions


hypersensitivity to a substance, resulting in an inflammatory immune response


an exaggerated, life-threatening reaction to a previously encountered antigen such as bee venom, peanuts, or latex. Symptoms range from mild, with patients experiencing hives or sneezing, to severe symptoms such as drop in blood pressure and blockage of the airway, which can lead to death within minutes (also called anaphylactic shock).


a substance produced by lymphocytes that inactivates or destroys antigens (also called immunoglobulins)


a substance that triggers an immune response when introduced into the body. Examples of antigens are transplant tissue, toxins, and infectious organisms.

autoimmune disease

a disease caused by the body's inability to distinguish its own cells from foreign bodies, thus producing antibodies that attack its own tissue. Rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus are examples of autoimmune diseases.


being resistant to specific invading pathogens


deficient immune response caused by the immune system dysfunction brought on by disease (HIV infection) or immunosuppressive drugs (prednisone)


a physician who studies and treats immune system disorders


the branch of medicine dealing with immune system disorders


a process in which some of the white blood cells destroy the invading microorganism and old cells


a suspension of inactivated microorganisms administered by injection, mouth, or nasal spray to prevent infectious diseases by inducing immunity


acute coronary syndrome


atrial fibrillation




blood pressure


coronary artery bypass graft


coronary artery disease

CBC and Diff

complete blood count and differential


coronary care unit


congestive heart failure


creatine phosphokinase


cardiopulmonary resuscitation


C-reactive protein


digital subtraction angiography


deep vein thrombosis










hypertensive heart disease


implantable cardiac defibrillator


impedance plethysmography




myocardial infarction


peripheral arterial disease


prothrombin time


percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty


red blood cell (erythrocyte)


single-photon emission computed tomography


transesophageal echocardiogram


white blood cell (leukocyte)

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