Cardiothoracic Surgery Patient Care – Glossary
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Ablation - elimination or removal.
Anterior - adjective referring to front end of an animal or organism.
Angina pectoris (Also called angina.) - recurring chest pain or discomfort that happens when some part of the heart does not receive enough blood.
Angiography - an x-ray that uses dye injected into arteries so that blood circulation can be studied.
Angioplasty - a non-surgical procedure for treating diseased arteries.
Anticoagulant - a medication that keeps blood from clotting.
Antihypertensive - a medication or other therapy that lowers blood pressure.
Aorta - the largest artery in the body and the primary blood vessel leading from the heart to the body.
Aortic valve - the valve that regulates blood flow from the heart into the aorta.
Aphasia - the inability to speak or understand due to brain injury or disease.
Arrhythmia (Also called dysrhythmia.) - an abnormal heartbeat.
Arteriole - a small arterial branch that delivers blood directly to a capillary bed.
Arteriosclerosis - commonly called "hardening of the arteries;" a variety of conditions caused by fatty or calcium deposits in the artery walls
Artery - a muscular blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart.
Atrium - one of the chambers of the heart that receives blood directly from a vein.
Blood pressure - the force or pressure exerted by the heart when pumping blood; also, the pressure of blood in the arteries.
Bradycardia - abnormally slow heartbeat.
Bundle-branch block - a condition in which the heart's electrical system is unable to normally conduct the electrical signal
Capillaries - tiny blood vessels between arteries and veins that distribute oxygen-rich blood to the body.
Cardiac - pertaining to the heart.
Cardiac arrest - the stopping of heartbeat.
Cardiac catheterization - a diagnostic procedure in which a tiny, hollow tube (catheter) is advanced from a vessel in the groin through the aorta into the heart in order to image the heart and blood vessels.
Cardiac output - the amount of blood that goes through the circulatory system in one minute.
Cardiology - the clinical study and practice of treating the heart.
Cardiomyopathy - a disease of the heart muscle that causes it to lose its pumping strength.
Cardiovascular (CV) - pertaining to the heart and blood vessel (circulatory) system.
Cardioversion - the procedure of applying electrical shock to the chest to change an abnormal heartbeat into a normal one.
Carotid artery - the major arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain.
Cerebral embolism - a blood clot from one part of the body that is carried by the bloodstream to the brain where it blocks an artery.
Cerebral hemorrhage - bleeding within the brain.
Cerebral thrombosis - formation of a blood clot in an artery that supplies blood to the brain
Cerebrovascular - pertaining to blood vessels in the brain
Cerebrovascular accident - apoplexy or stroke; an impeded blood supply to the brain
Cerebrovascular occlusion - an obstruction in the blood vessel in the brain
Cholesterol - a waxy substance that is produced in the human body, animal fats, and in dairy products and is transported in the blood Circulatory system - the system of the body responsible for internal transport Composed of the heart, blood vessels, lymphatic vessels, lymph, and the blood
Closed circulatory system - a type of circulatory system where the blood is contained within a system of vessels and the heart
Coronary artery - one of the arteries that supply blood to the heart
Coronary vein - one of the veins that receive blood from the heart muscle and empty directly into the right atrium
Defibrillator - an electronic device used to establish normal heartbeat
Deoxygenated blood - blood that is low in oxygen concentration
Diastolic blood pressure - the lowest blood pressure measure in the arteries, which occurs between heartbeats
Diuretic - a medication that lowers blood pressure by causing excess fluid to be excreted
Doppler ultrasound - A procedure that uses sound waves to evaluate heart, blood vessels, and valves
Dyspnea - shortness of breath
Dysrhythmia - an abnormal heart rhythm
Echocardiography - a procedure that evaluates the structure and function of the heart by using sound waves recorded on an electronic sensor that produce a moving picture of the heart and heart valves
Edema - swelling
Ejection fraction - the measurement of the blood pumped out of the ventricles
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) - a test that records the electrical activity of the heart, shows abnormal rhythms (arrhythmias or dysrhythmias), and detects heart muscle damage
Electrophysiological study (EPS) - a cardiac catheterization to study electrical current in patients who have arrhythmias
Endarterectomy - the surgical removal of plaque or blood clots in an artery
Endocardium - the membrane that covers the inside surface of the heart
Endocarditis - a bacterial infections of the heart lining
Enlarged heart - a condition of the heart in which it is abnormally larger than normal
Epicardium - the membrane that covers the outside of the heart
Fibrillation - rapid contractions of the heart muscles.
Flutter - ineffective contractions of the heart muscles.
Heart - the muscular organ composed of cardiac muscle that is responsible for pumping blood throughout the body.
Heart attack - a condition occurring when a section of the heart is deprived of oxygenated blood and dies. Also called myocardial infarction; damage to the heart muscle due to insufficient blood supply.
Holter monitor - An EKG recording done over a period of 24 or more hours.
Inferior vena cava - a large vein (a blood vessel carrying blood to the heart) that carries oxygen-poor blood to the right atrium from the lower half of the body
Interstitial fluid - the fluid filling the microscopic spaces between cells of the body.
Ischemic heart disease - coronary artery disease or coronary heart disease caused by narrowing of the coronary arteries and decreased blood flow to the heart
Jugular veins - veins that carry blood from the head back to the heart
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body
Mitral valve - the valve that controls blood flow between the left atrium and left ventricle in the heart
Mitral valve prolapse - a bulge in the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle of the heart that causes backward flow of blood into the atrium
Monounsaturated fats - dietary fats, such as olive oil or canola oil, that do not seem to have any affect on blood cholesterol
Murmur - a blowing or rasping sound heard while listening to the heart that may or may not indicate problems within the heart or circulatory system
Myocardial infarction (Also called heart attack) - occurs when one of more regions of the heart muscle experience a severe or prolonged decrease in oxygen supply caused by a blocked blood flow to the heart muscle
Myocardial ischemia - insufficient blood flow to part of the heart
Myocardium - the muscle wall of the heart
Nitroglycerin - a medication used to relax arteries
Pacemaker - an electronic device that is surgically implanted into the patient's heart and chest to regulate heartbeat
Palpitation - irregular heartbeat that can be felt by a person
Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) - angioplasty
Pericardiocentesis - a diagnostic procedure that uses a needle to draw fluid from the pericardium
Pericarditis - inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the heart
Pericardium - the membrane that surrounds the heart Peristalsis - wave-like muscular contractions in the walls of tubular organs, e.g. the alimentary canal. Peristalsis serves to push material contained within the organ along its length.
Pulmonary artery - one of the arteries carrying deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs.
Pulmonary valve - the flaps between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery. When the ventricle contracts, the valve opens, causing blood to rush into the pulmonary artery. When the ventricle relaxes, the valves close, preventing the back-flow of blood from the pulmonary artery to the right atrium
Pulmonary vein - the blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart
Pulse oximeter - device to measure oxygen in blood
Septum - the wall dividing the two ventricles
Shunt - a connector to allow blood flow between two locations
Silent ischemia - ischemia not accompanied by chest pain
Sinus node - the cells that produce the electrical impulses that cause the heart to contract
Sphygmomanometer - the instrument used to measure blood pressure
Stent - a device implanted in a vessel used to help keep it open
Stenosis - the narrowing or constriction of a blood vessel or valve in the heart
Sternum - the breastbone
Stethoscope - the instrument used to listen to the heart and other sounds in the body
Streptokinase - a clot-dissolving medication
Stress - mental or physical tension that results from physical, emotional, or chemical causes
Stroke - the sudden disruption of blood flow to the brain
Subarachnoid hemorrhage - bleeding on the surface of the brain
Sudden death - death that occurs unexpectedly or immediately after onset of symptoms
Superior vena cava - the large vein that returns blood to the heart from the head and arms
Syncope - light-headedness or fainting caused by insufficient blood supply to the brain
Systolic blood pressure - the highest blood pressure measured in the arteries
Tachycardia - rapid heart beat
Tachypnea - rapid breathing
Telemetry unit - a small transmitter that sends information about the heart via radio transmission to healthcare professionals for evaluation
Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) - a diagnostic test that is used to measure the sound waves that bounce off of the heart
Transient ischemic attack (TIA) - a stroke-like event that lasts for a short period of time and is caused by a blocked blood vessel
Transplant, transplantation - replacing a damaged organ with one from a donor
Tricuspid valve - the heart valve that controls blood flow from the right atrium into the right ventricle
Triglyceride - a fat-like substance found in the blood
Ultrasound - a diagnostic tool used to measure high-frequency sound vibrations
Vein - one of the blood vessels that carries blood to the heart
Ventricle - one of the muscular chambers of the heart that is responsible for pumping blood from the heart into the arteries
Venule - a small venous branch that carries blood from a capillary bed to a vein
Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome - An extra electrical pathway that connects the atria and ventricles and causes rapid heartbeat