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Heart Related Medical Words and The Meanings

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Ablation: see: Catheter Ablation Therapy.


ACE inhibitor: ACE stands for 'Angiotensin Converting Enzyme' and is a drug used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.


Aerobic exercise: Repetitive, rhythmic exercise involving your muscles e.g. brisk walking, cycling and swimming.


Aneurysm: A balloon like swelling of an artery.


Angina: Angina is when your heart muscle doesn't get as much blood and oxygen as it needs. It is a sign of heart disease, however it can be treated.


Angiogram: Special solution is injected into blood vessels and an X-ray picture is taken to show narrowed arteries.


Angioplasty: A treatment to expand a narrowed artery.


Anti-arrhythmic drug: A drug used to control an abnormal heart rhythm.


Anti-platelet drug: A drug to slow blood clotting by reducing its stickiness.


Anticoagulant: A drug used to reduce the risk of blood clots forming.


Antioxidants: Vitamins and other substances found mainly in vegetables and fruit which are thought to prevent heart disease.


Aorta: The main blood vessel which take blood high in oxygen from the heart to the rest of the body.


Arrhythmia: An abnormal heart rhythm.


Artery: A blood vessel which carries oxygen and blood from the heart around the body.


Aspirin: A drug used to help thin the blood and prevent clots forming.


Atheroma: The fatty material that can build up within the walls of your arteries.


Atherosclerosis: The build up of fatty materials within the walls of your arteries and cause them to narrow.


Atria: The two upper chambers of the heart. They act as collecting chambers to fill the ventricles (the two lower pumping chambers of the heart).


Atrial fibrillation: A type of arrhythmia in which your atria beat extremely fast, up to 400 times per minute and your ventricles respond by beating quickly and irregularly. This can lead to a clot forming inside your heart.


Atrio-ventricular node: The part of your heart through which the electrical impulses pass from the atria to the ventricles, to make your heart pump.






Beta-blocker: Drugs which slow your heart rate and reduce blood pressure.


Blood pressure: The pressure in your main artery system which is usually measured on your arm.


BMI: This stands for Body Mass Index. A calculation is done to divide your weight by your height which will tell you whether you weight too much, too little or are the right weight for your height.


Bradycardia: A slow heart rate.







Calcium channel blocker (calcium antagonist): A drug to treat angina and high blood pressure.


Cardiac: To do with the heart.


Cardiac arrest: When your heart stops pumping.


Cardiac club: A group of people who have gone through similar heart disease experiences who meet, talk and give each other support.


Cardiac enzyme tests: Blood tests which measure the level of certain enzymes in your blood which are released by heart muscle during a heart attack


Cardiologist: A doctor specialising in the heart.


Cardiomyopathy: A disease which causes heart muscle weakness.


Cardiovascular: To do with the heart and blood vessels.


Cardioversion: An electric shock, given while you are under anaesthetic to restore a normal heart rhythm.


Catheter ablation therapy: A procedure used to correct certain types of abnormal heart rhythms.


CCU: Stands for Coronary Care Unit which is a specialist unit in a hospital for patients with heart conditions.


Cholesterol: A fatty substance mainly made in your body by the liver. Cholesterol is necessary for our bodies to work, BUT too much cholesterol increases your risk of coronary heart disease.


Cholesterol lowering drug: A drug to lower the blood cholesterol level.


Clot-buster: A drug used to dissolve a clot in an emergency,for example during a heart attack.


Congenital heart disease: Heart disease which a baby is born with caused by abnormalities of the heart or major blood vessels.


Coronary arteries: The arteries that supply blood to your heart.


Coronary bypass surgery: An operation to improve the blood supply to your heart.


Coronary heart disease (CHD): The walls of your coronary arteries become narrowed by a gradual build:up atheroma.


Coronary thrombosis: A blood clot forms in a narrowed coronary artery and causes a heart attack.






Defibrillation: An procedure to correct and restore a regular heart rhythm by delivering an electric shock to theheart.


Diabetes: A disease which causes your body's blood sugar level to be unstable.


Diastolic blood pressure: The second number in a blood pressure reading, taken when your heart is relaxed.


Dietitian: A health professional who can advise you about healthy eating and special diets.


Digoxin: A drug used to help treat heart failure and certain abnormal heart rhythms.


Diuretic: A drug used to treat heart failure and high blood pressure.





Echocardiogram: An ultrasound picture of the heart which shows how your heart is working.


Electrocardiogram (ECG): A test to record the rhythm and electrical activity of your heart.


Electrophysiological testing: A procedure used to detect and give information about abnormal heart rhythms.


Enzymes: Proteins that help stimulate chemical actions in your body.


Exercise electrocardiogram: A test to record your heart's electrical activity while you are exercising.





Familial hypercholesterolemia: A condition in which members of a family are likely have high cholesterol levels in their blood.


Fibrate: A drug used to bring down cholesterol and triglyceride levels in your blood.


Fibrillation: When something quivers uncontrollably. See 'atrial fibrillation'





Generic name: Official name (for example, of a drug).


Glyceryl trinitrate (GTN): A drug which relieves and helps prevent angina attacks.






Heart attack: When an artery leading to your heart is blocked by a blood clot and part of the heart is starved of oxygen muscle death and that part dies.


Heart block: When the electrical impulse travelling to different parts of your heart don't work properly.


Heart failure: When the pumping action of your heart is not strong enough to meet the needs of your body.


Heart rate: The number of times your heart beats in a minute.


High blood pressure (hypertension): This happens when the walls of the larger arteries become more rigid, and the smaller vessels become narrower. This restricts the blood flowing through them so blood needs to pump around the body at higher pressure.


High density lipoprotein (HDL cholesterol): The 'good' type of cholesterol which helps keep your body's 'bad 'cholesterol (LDL) level down.


Holter monitoring: Continuously recording of your heart rhythm over 24 hours.


Hypercholesterolaemia: Too much cholesterol in your blood.


Hypertension: See high blood pressure.





Implantable Cardiovertor Defibrillator (ICD): A device implanted within your chest wall to monitor your heart's rhythm. If there is a dangerous abnormal rhythm the ICD can treat it by giving your heart an electric shock.


Intermittent claudication: A cramp like pain mostly in your calf and leg muscles which is caused by a lack of oxygen in the blood. It is often brought on by walking and relieved by rest. Experiencing this usually means you have peripheral vascular disease (PVD).


Intramuscular: Into the muscle.


Intravenous: Into a vein.


Ischaemia: Not enough blood supply.


Ischaemic heart disease/Coronary heart disease (IHD/CHD): Too little blood flow to the heart from the coronary arteries.


Isosorbide dinitrate: A drug used to help prevent angina attacks.


Isosorbide mononitrate: A drug used to help prevent angina attacks.





Left ventricular hypertrophy: When the heart muscle of your left ventricle is too thick. Often associated with hypertension


Lipid lowering drug: A drug used to bring down your cholesterol levels.


Lipids: Fatty substances in your blood including cholesterol and triglycerides.


Lipoproteins: A protein 'case' which carries cholesterol around your body.





Marfan syndrome: A condition which runs in some families, which affects many parts of the body including the bones, eyes, heart and aorta.


Mechanical valve: An artificial mechanical valve used to replace a diseased or damaged heart valve.


Mitral stenosis: Obstruction of the mitral valve.


Mitral valve: The valve which controls the flow of blood from your left atrium to your left ventricle.


mmHg: Millimetres of Mercury - this is a unit used to measureblood pressure.


mmol/l: Units used for measuring the level of cholesterol and other fats in the blood.


Monounsaturated fat: A type of 'good' fat which can help lower blood level of LDL ('bad') cholesterol. It is found in some foods such as olive oil, walnut oil, canola oil, rapseed oil, avocado and in some margarines and spreads.


Myocardial infarction: A heart attack.


Myocardium: The heart muscle.





Nicotine: A chemical found in tobacco smoke.


Nicotine replacement products: Products containing nicotine (patches, gum, nasal sprays) to help you stop smoking





Obesity: So overweight that you are putting your health and life at serious risk.


Oedema: swelling caused by water not being carried around your body properly.


Omega 3: A type of fatty acid found in fish oils. Eating these can help prevent blood clotting and help reduce triglyceride levels.





Pacemaker: A device used when your heart impulses do not work properly. It is implanted in your chest and sends electrical impulses to make your heart contract.


Palpitations: When you are aware that you are having a fast or irregular heartbeat.


Paroxysmal: Intermittent and fast.


Passive smoking: Where non smokers inhale other people's smoke.


Peripheral vascular disease (PVD): Disease of the blood vessels that supply blood to your limbs.


Physiotherapist: A health professional who helps you to improve your mobility and general fitness.


Platelets: Small blood cells that help to form a clot.


Polyunsaturated fats: A type of 'good' fat found in foods from plant and fish such as cornflower oil, sunflower oil, fish oil and some margarines and spreads.


Pulmonary: Involving the lungs.


Pulmonary artery: The artery that carries blood from the heart to the lungs.


Pulmonary valve: The valve which controls blood flow from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery.


Purkinje system: The fibres in the heart which act like "wires" to transmit electrical impulses through the heart.





Rehabilitation program: A program for people who have had a heart attack or other acute heart problem. The program provides education about exercise, lifestyle, relaxation and treatments.


Resuscitation: Life saving action from someone else if you stop breathing or your heart stops. Their actions will hopefully get you to start breathing and/or get your heart working again.


Re-vascularisation: A procedure that either opens up the existing blood vessels or bypasses the blockage of the coronary arteries.


Risk factor for coronary heart disease: Something that can increase your risk of getting coronary heart disease. Risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity, diabetes, your @@@, your ethnic background, your age and whether you have a family history of heart disease.





Saturated fat: A type of fat found mainly in food from animal sources particularly diary and meat products. Too much of this can increase your risk of heart disease.


Sinus bradycardia: A normal but slow heart rhythm.


Sinus node: The part of the heart which produces the electrical impulses that control the pumping action.


Sinus tachycardia: A normal but fast rhythm.


Statin: A drug used to control cholesterol levels.


Stenosis: Valve stenosis is when a heart valve does not open fully to allow adequate flow of blood.


Stent: A short tube of metal mesh inserted at the part of the artery which is to be widened by coronary angioplasty.


Streptokinase: A drug used to help dissolve an acute blood clot which is blocking an artery, like in a heart attack.


Sublingual: Under the tongue. Some medicines are taken this way.


Supraventicular tachycardia (SVT): A disturbance of heart rhythm caused by rapid electrical activity in the upper part of the heart.


Systolic blood pressure: The first number in a blood pressure reading, taken when the heart is contracting.





Tachycardia: A fast heart rate.


Thrombolysis: Drug treatment to help dissolve a clot blocking an artery, during a heart attack.


Thrombosis: A blood clot in the blood vessels or heart that leads to a heart attack.


Thrombus: A blood clot.


Tissue valve: A valve from an animal or human sometimes used to replace a damaged or diseased heart valve.


Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) : A drug used to dissolve clots in certain patients having a heart attack or stroke.


Trans-oesophageal echocardiography (TOE): A procedure which involves taking detailed pictures of the heart from the oesphagus (the tube which takes food from your mouth to your stomach).


Trans-venous: Though a vein.


Tri-cuspid valve: The valve which controls the flow of blood from the right atrium to the right ventricle.


Triglycerides: A fatty substance found in the blood.






Unsaturated fat: A type of 'good' fat found mainly in foods from plants and fish sources. They include monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.





Valve incompetence: When a valve does not close properly, allowing blood to leak backwards.


Valve stenosis: A valve which is too narrow.


Valvular heart disease: When at least one of the four heart valves is diseased or damaged.


Vascular: To do with blood vessels.


Vein: The vessel carrying blood away from the various parts of the body back to the heart.


Ventilator: An artificial breathing machine.


Ventricles: The two main pumping chambers of the heart.


Ventricular fibrillation (VF): A life threatening abnormal heart rhythm. Impulses are sent at a fast irregular rate causing the ventricles to fibrillate or quiver. The heart then can't pump blood properly so blood can pool and clot inside it.


Ventricular tachycardia (VT): A fast heart rate where electrical impulses are sent by the ventricles of the heart

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That's a pretty good list. I notice you don't give absolute values like what numbers are considered high BP, what's tachy or brady. Probably for the best because the medical community keeps changing them. Is there a place to put an easy link to these term? Something readily available and visible on the page? I worry about it slowly disappearing into the other threads.



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Oh its here and when some others weigh in here we will get everything together I hope. Here is the answer to your questions, in was in another thread. :common076[1]:





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