Skip to main content

Medical Terms

Ablation

The same as removal of a part of biological tissue, usually by surgery. Ablation therapy using radio frequency waves on the heart is used to cure a variety of cardiac arrhythmia such as supraventricular tachycardia, Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPW), ventricular tachycardia, and more recently as management of atrial fibrillation.

Anastomosis

Surgical joining of two ducts, vessels, or bowel segments to allow flow from one to another

Aneurysm

Localized abnormal dilation of a vessel, usually an artery

Angina

Chest pain

Angioplasty

Procedure that alters a vessel through surgery or dilation of the vessel using a balloon catheter

Antihypertensives

A substance or drug that lowers blood pressure

Arrhythmia

Inability of the heart to maintain a steady rhythm, possibly including a paid or slow beat or "skipping" a beat

Atherectomy

Removal of material from a vessel using a specially designed catheter fitted with a cutting or grinding device

Capillaries

Microscopic vessels that join the arterial system with the venous system

Cardiac catheterization

Passage of a catheter into the heart through a vein or artery to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the heart

Cardiac Surgery

Cardiac surgery is a surgery on the heart and/or great vessels performed by a cardiac surgeon. Frequently, it is done to treat complications of ischemic heart disease (for example, coronary artery bypass grafting), correct congenital heart disease, or treat valvular heart disease created by various causes including endocarditis. It also includes heart transplantation.

Cardiomyopathy

Any disease of heart muscle that diminishes cardiac function

Congestive heart failure

The inability of the heart to pump a sufficient amount of blood throughout the body, or requiring elevated filling pressures in order to pump effectively

Coronary Stent

A coronary stent is a tube placed in the coronary arteries that supply the heart, to keep the arteries open in the treatment of coronary heart disease.

Coronary Bypass Surgery

Coronary artery bypass surgery is a heart operation. It uses blood vessels to go around or "bypass" clogged coronary (heart) arteries so blood can flow through the new vessels to the heart muscle the way it should.

Diuretics

Manage edema associated with heart failure and treat hypertension

Echocardiography

Noninvasive diagnostic method that uses ultrasound to visualize internal cardiac structures and produce images of the heart

Electrocardiogram

Graphic line recording that shows the spread of electrical excitation to different parts of the heart using small metal electrodes applied to the chest, arms, and legs

Embolus, emboli

Mass of undissolved matter circulating in blood or lymphatic channels until it becomes lodged in a vessel

Fibrillation

Quivering or spontaneous muscle contractions, especially of the heart, causing ineffectual contractions

Hemostasis

Arrest of bleeding or circulation

Heparin

A drug given directly into a vein which thins the blood when there is a danger of clotting (an anticoagulant)

Holter Monitor

a portable device for continuously monitoring various electrical activity of the central nervous system for at least 24 hours (modern Holters allow up to 11 days of monitoring)

Hyperlipidemia

Excessive amounts of lipids (cholesterol, phospholipids, and triglycerides) in the blood

Hypertension

Common disorder characterized by elevated blood pressure persistently exceeding 140 mm Hg systolic or 90 mm Hg diastolic

Infarct

Area of tissue that undergoes necrosis following cessation of blood supply

Ischemia

Deficiency of oxygen in a tissue due to obstruction of a blood vessel

Mediastinum

The part of the thoracic cavity between the lungs that contains the heart and aorta and esophagus and trachea and thymus

Mitral Valve Prolapse

Common and occasionally serious condition in which the leaflets of the mitral valve prolapse into the left atrium during systole causing a characteristic murmur heard on auscultation

Patent ductus arteriosus

Failure of the ductus arteriosus to close after birth, allowing blood to flow from the aorta into the pulmonary (lung) artery

Pericardium

The membranous sac filled with serous fluid that encloses the heart and the roots of the aorta and other large blood vessels

Phlebotomy

Incision or puncture of a vein to remove blood or introduce fluids or medication

Thrombolysis

Destruction of blood clot using anticlotting agents called "clot-busters" such as tissue plasminogen activator

Thrombus

Blood clot that obstructs a vessel

Venipuncture

Puncture of a vein by a needle attached to a syringe or catheter to withdraw a specimen of blood, perform a phlebotomy, instill a medication, start an intravenous infusion, or inject a radiopaque substance for radiological examination