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Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Glossary of Terms (Cardiovascular)Glosario de tĀ©rminos (cardiovascular)

Glossary of Terms (Cardiovascular)

  • Angina: symptoms that occur when the heart muscle can't get enough oxygen-rich blood. Often appears as pressure, tightness, aching, or pain in the chest, arm, neck, or jaw.

  • Angiogram: a special x-ray of a blood vessel.

  • Aorta: the body's largest artery. It carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

  • Arrhythmia: an abnormal heartbeat.

  • Arteriosclerosis: when artery walls thicken and lose elasticity. Sometimes called "hardening of the arteries."

  • Artery: a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body.

  • Atherosclerosis: the buildup of plaque within artery walls.

  • Atria (singular: atrium): the heart's two upper chambers. They receive blood from the lungs and body.

  • Balloon angioplasty: a procedure that uses a balloon-tipped catheter to open an artery narrowed or blocked by plaque.

  • Blood (serum) cholesterol: a fatty substance produced by the body and carried in the blood. Can build up within artery walls as plaque.

  • Blood pressure: a measurement indicating the force of blood as it presses against artery walls while moving through vessels.

  • Blood vessels: tubes that carry blood throughout the body. Arteries and veins are blood vessels.

  • Bypass: a new pathway for blood flow.

  • CABG (pronounced "cabbage"): another term for coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

  • Cardiomyopathy: weakening of, or structural change in, the heart muscle that reduces the heart's ability to pump.

  • Catheter: a long, thin, flexible plastic tube.

  • Coronary arteries: blood vessels that wrap around the heart and supply the heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood.

  • Coronary artery disease: blocked or narrowed coronary arteries.

  • Diastolic pressure: the pressure of blood against the inside of artery walls between heartbeats. Appears as the bottom number in a blood pressure measurement.

  • Electrocardiogram: a test that records the way electrical signals move through the heart. Often called an ECG or EKG.

  • Heart attack: an event that occurs when oxygen-rich blood can't get to part of the heart muscle. Can cause permanent damage.

  • Hypertension: another word for "high blood pressure."

  • Myocardial infarction: death of heart muscle tissue. Also known as a heart attack.

  • Plaque: a deposit of fatty material (including cholesterol) within artery walls.

  • Pulmonary artery: the large artery that carries blood from the heart to the lungs to get oxygen.

  • Stenosis: the narrowing of an artery, often caused by plaque buildup.

  • Stroke: a blockage or rupture in a blood vessel that cuts off blood flow to part of the brain. May cause brain damage. Also known as a brain attack or CVA (cerebrovascular accident).

  • Systolic pressure: the pressure of blood against the inside of artery walls during a heartbeat (when the heart pumps). Appears as the top number in a blood pressure measurement.

  • Ultrasound: a test that uses sound waves to create images of structures inside the body.

  • Valves: "doorways" that open and close to let blood move and prevent backflow of blood. There are valves between the heart's chambers.

  • Vein: a blood vessel that carries blood from the body back to the heart.

  • Ventricles: the heart's two lower chambers. They pump blood to the body and lungs.

Publication Source: Society of Thoracic Surgeons

Publication Source: Texas Heart Institute

Online Source: Society of Thoracic Surgeons

Online Source: Texas Heart Institute

Date Last Reviewed: 2005-09-16T00:00:00-06:00

Date Last Modified: 2005-09-16T00:00:00-06:00

Jay L. Jordan, MD, is an experienced cardiologist and internal medicine physician who provides a comprehensive range of cardiac care services in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Glendale, Burbank, Calabasas and nearby communities. Take the first step in preventing and controlling heart disease with symptoms such as angina, arrhythmias, atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathy, carotid artery disease, chest pain, congestive heart failure, coronary vascular disease, hypertension, palpitations, shortness of breath and stroke. Call Dr. Jay L. Jordan at 310-854-5493 or request an appointment online.

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