Ablation-a procedure in which the part of the heart tissue that is causing abnormal heart rhythms is scarred or destroyed.

Aldosterone antagonists-medicines that may reverse scarring of the heart muscle and help remove fluid.

Aorta-largest artery in the human body originating from the left ventricle of the heart and extending into the abdomen where it splits into two smaller arteries.  Aorta carries oxygenated blood throughout the body.

Aortic aneurysm-is a weak spot in the aortic vascular wall that forms a balloon-like bulge.

Aortic regurgitation-when the aortic valve does not close property it causes some of the blood to flow backward into the heart.

Aortic stenosis-narrowing of the aortic valve.

Aortic valve-one of the four valves in the heart that normally has three leaflets.  It is between the left ventricle and aorta.

Atrial septal defect-is a hole in the wall separating the upper two chambers of your heart.

Arrhythmia-abnormal heart rhythm.

Anticoagulant-medicine such as Warfarin or Coumadin that slows your blood’s clotting time.

Atrial Fibrillation (or Afib)-an irregular heart rhythm in the atrium.

Beta blockers-medications that slow the heart rate, blood pressure, and help the heart muscle by blocking adrenaline and norepinephrine.

Bradycardia-a slow heart rate lower than 60 beats per minute.

Cardiac arrest-heart stops suddenly.

Cardiac catherization (coronary angiogram)-begins with a short tube inserted into a vein or artery in your leg or arm.  This test allows your cardiologist to measure the pressures in your heart chambers, blood flow, and be able to detect any other abnormalities.

Cardiac rehabilitation-typically includes an exercise regimen, but also includes educational support. Often recommended after open heart surgery or other invasive heart related surgeries.

Cardiomyopathy-is the name for diseases of the heart muscle.  These diseases enlarge the heart muscle, make it thicker or more rigid than normal.

Cardioversion-a procedure to restore an irregular heart rhythm to a normal rhythm.

Carotid endarterectomy (CEA)-is a surgical procedure used to reduce the risk of stroke by correcting stenosis in the common carotid artery or internal carotid artery.

Chest pain (angina)-pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart.

Congential heart disease-heart disease present at birth.

Congestive heart failure-caused by a weakened or damaged heart due to some form of heart disease.  When the heart becomes weakened and the body is not getting enough blood flow, fluid starts to build up in the legs, abdomen, or in the lungs.

Coronary angioplasty-is a procedure in which the doctor opens narrow or clogged blood vessels that supply blood to the heart.

Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG)-is a surgical procedure in which a healthy section of a blood vessel is taken and attached above or below the heart blockage to help restore blood flow.

Coronary artery disease (CAD)-the arteries that supply blood and oxygen to your heart muscle become hardened or narrowed.

Depression-is medical illness that involves the mind and the body.  Some symptoms include but not limited to: feelings of sadness or unhappiness, loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, irritability or frustration.

Diastolic pressure-measures  the pressure when the heart relaxes and fills with blood.   It is the bottom number in a blood pressure reading.  This number should be below 80 mm Hg.

Digoxin-medicine that improves heart muscle contraction strength and slows the heart beat.

Diuretics-medicines that make you urinate more frequently and prevent fluid from collecting in the body.

Echocardiogram-uses ultrasound technology to generate detailed images of your heart’s structure and function.  It will show how well your heart is beating and pumping blood, identify any abnormalities in the heart muscle or valves, or if the heart is damaged.

Ejection fraction-is the percentage of blood pumped out of the heart each time it contracts.  Normal range is between 50-70 percent.

Electrocardiogram-records the electrical impulses that make your heart beat.  It can help detect irregularities in rhythm and structure.

Endocarditis-inflammation of the heart valves often caused by a bacterial infection.

Heart failure-when the heart becomes weakened to pump enough blood to meet your body’s needs.

Heart murmur-is an abnormal sound during your heartbeat cycle, such as whooshing made by turbulent blood in or near your heart.  Sometimes a ‘click murmur’ is also heard.

Heart lung machine-it is used to oxygenate blood and pump it throughout the body.

Heart monitor-a medical device used to detect irregular heart rhythms.

Heart valve-is a one way ‘door’ that opens and closes to allow for efficient blood flow in the heart.

Heart valve disease-is when one of the valves fails to open or close tightly.  This causes a disruption in blood flow in the heart.

Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator-is a small electronic device that works as a pacemaker to ensure that your heart is beating normally.

Intensive Care Unit (ICU)-a special department of a hospital or health care facility that provides intensive medicine.  Also known as critical care unit.

Mitral valve-is a dual-flap valve that separates the left atrium from the left ventricle.

Mitral regurgitation-this happens when your heart’s mitral valve doesn’t close tightly and allows blood to flow backwards into the atrium.

Mitral valve prolapse-the leaflets of the mitral valve bulge into the left atrium like a parachute during the heart’s contraction.

Mitral valve replacement-when the damaged or diseased mitral valve is replaced with a tissue valve or mechanical valve.

Mitral stenosis-is a narrowing of the mitral valve.

Myocarditis-inflammation of the heart muscle caused by various infections or viruses.

Open heart surgery-is any surgery where the chest is opened and surgery is done on the heart muscle, valves, arteries, or other parts of the heart.

Pericarditis-inflammation of the pericardial sac that surrounds the heart.

Pulmonary valve-stands at the opening from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery.  It keeps blood moving towards the lungs.

Regurgitation-is when blood flows backwards.

Sinus rhythm-normal heart rhythm.

Stenosis-a hardening or narrowing as seen in heart valves.

Sternum-or breastbone

Stroke-results from an impaired oxygen delivery to the brain usually due to a blood clot.

Systolic pressure-is the pressure when your heart contracts to push blood out of the heart to the body.  It is the top number in a blood pressure reading.  It should be below 120 mg Hg.

Tachycardia-this refers to a fast heart beat, greater than 100 beats per minute.

Transesophageal ultrasound (TEE)-a diagnostic test which produces ultrasound waves to make images of the heart valves, chambers, and surrounding structures.

Tricuspid valve-situated between the right atrium and right ventricle.

Vasodilators-medications that open (dilate) blood vessels.   Used to treat high blood pressure, heart failure and pulmonary high blood pressure.

Ventilator-a machine that assists the patient with breathing oxygen and eliminating carbon dioxide.

Ventricular fibrillation-irregular  heart rhythms in the lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart. Very serious and requires immediate medical attention, CPR or defibrillation.


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