Abdomen: The area of the body between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the thighs.
Abdominal Aorta: The portion of the aorta in the abdomen.
Ablation: Elimination or removal.
ACE Inhibitor: A medicine that lowers blood pressure by interfering with the breakdown of a protein-like substance involved in blood pressure regulation.
Acetylcholine: A type of chemical (called a neurotransmitter) that transmits messages among nerve cells and muscle cells.
Alveoli: Air sacs in the lungs where oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged.
Amiodarone: A kind of medicine (called an antiarrhythmic) used to treat irregular heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia. It works by regulating nerve impulses in your heart. Amiodarone is mainly given to patients who have not responded to other anti-arrhythmic medicines.
Aneurysm: A sac-like protrusion from a blood vessel or the heart, resulting from a weakening of the vessel wall or heart muscle.
Angina: An intense, steady pain or feeling of pressure in the region of the heart caused by a decreased blood flow to the heart muscle.
Angiography: An x-ray technique where dye is injected into the chambers of your heart or the arteries that leads to your heart (the coronary arteries). The test lets doctors measure the blood flow and blood pressure in the heart chambers and see if the coronary arteries are blocked.
Angioplasty: A non-surgical technique for treating diseased arteries by temporarily inflating a tiny balloon inside an artery.
Angiotensin II Receptor Blocker: A medicine that lowers blood pressure by blocking the action of angiotensin II, a chemical in the body that causes the blood vessels to tighten (constrict).
Annulus: The ring around a heart valve where the valve leaflet merges with the heart muscle.
Antiarrhythmics: Medicines used to treat patients who have irregular heart rhythms.
Anticoagulant: Any medicine that keeps blood from clotting; a blood thinner.
Antihypertensive: Any medicine or other therapy that lowers blood pressure.
Aorta: The largest artery in the body and the initial vessel to supply blood from the heart.
Aortic valve: The valve that regulates blood flow from the heart into the aorta.
Aphasia: The inability to speak, write, or understand spoken or written language because of brain injury or disease.
Arrhythmia: An abnormal heartbeat.
Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia: ARVD is a type of cardiomyopathy with no known cause. It appears to be a genetic condition (passed down through a family’s genes). ARVD causes ventricular arrhythmias. The most common symptoms are heart palpitations, fainting or loss of consciousness (syncope), and, sometimes, sudden death.
Arteriography: A test that is combined with cardiac catheterization to visualize an artery or the arterial system after injection of a contrast dye.
Arterioles: Small, muscular branches of arteries. When they contract, they raise resistance to blood flow, and blood pressure in the arteries increases.
Artery: A vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood to the body.
Arteritis: Inflammation of the arteries.
Arteriosclerosis: A disease process, commonly called “hardening of the arteries”, which includes a variety of conditions that cause artery walls to thicken and lose elasticity.
Ascending Aorta: The first portion of the aorta, emerging from the heart’s left ventricle.
Aspirin: Acetylsalicylic acid; a medicine used to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and prevent blood clots.
Atherectomy: A non-surgical technique for treating diseased arteries with a rotating device that cuts or shaves away material that is blocking or narrowing an artery.
Atherosclerosis: A disease process that leads to the buildup of a waxy substance, called plaque, inside blood vessels.
Atrium: The two upper or holding chambers of the heart (together referred to as atria).
Atrial Flutter: A type of arrhythmia where the upper chambers of the heart (the atria) beat very fast, causing the walls of the lower chambers (the ventricles) to beat inefficiently as well.
Atrial Tachycardia: A type of arrhythmia that begins in the heart’s upper chambers (the atria) and causes a very fast heart rate of 160 to 200 beats a minute. A resting heart rate is normally 60 to 100 beats a minute.
Atrioventricular Block: An interruption or disturbance of the electrical signal between the heart’s upper two chambers (the atria) and lower two chambers (the ventricles).
Atrioventricular (AV) Node: A group of cells in the heart located between the upper two chambers (the atria) and the lower two chambers (the ventricles) that regulates the electrical current that passes through it to the ventricles.
Atrium: Either one of the heart’s two upper chambers.
Antitachycardia Pacing: A method of treating ventricular tachycardia (too-fast heartbeat) by stimulating the heart with a preset rapid series of small electrical pulses.
Aorta: The largest artery in the body, which carries blood from the left side of the heart to every part of the body.
Apex: The pointed part of the heart’s left lower chamber (ventricle).
Array: A lead consisting of three electronically common elements joined at a yoke. The SQ array is used as part of an AICD system.
Arrest – The stopping of a function. Cardiac arrest is the stopping of the heartbeat and the heart’s function.
Arrhythmia: An abnormal rhythm of the heart beat. Types of arrhythmias include tachycardias (accelerated heartbeats) and bradycardias (slow heartbeats).
Artery: A blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart
Asynchrony: A condition in which the heart fails to maintain a normal time sequence between atrial and ventricular contractions.
Atherectomy: A minimally invasive CAD intervention procedure which involves the excision and removal of blockages by catheters with miniature cutting systems. not found in EuroDicautom
Atherosclerosis: Narrowing or blockage of arteries caused by a buildup of fat (cholesterol) within the artery wall. The build-up is sometimes referred to as “plaque.”
Atria: The upper chambers of the heart, specifically the right atrium and left atrium. The 2 atria collect blood as it comes into the heart and fill the ventricles (lower chambers) with blood.
Atrio-Ventricular (AV) Node: A cluster of muscle cells located in the wall between the right and left atrium, just above the ventricles. This part of the heart’s electrical pathway helps carry signals from the atria to the ventricles.
Atrio-Ventricular Synchrony: The normal physiologic sequencing of atrial contraction followed, after a fraction of a second, by a ventricular contraction.
Atrium: One of two upper chambers of the heart (plural: atria). The atria collect blood as it comes into the heart and fill the lower chambers (ventricles) with blood.
Autologous: Relating to self. For example, autologous stem cells are those taken from the patient’s own body.
Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator: A surgically implanted device that monitors the heartbeat and delivers electrical impulses to correct an abnormal rhythm and restore a regular heartbeat. The AICD system usually consists of an implanted pulse generator and one or more leads. The system is adjusted using an external programming device.
Autoregulation: When blood flow to an organ stays the same although pressure in the artery that delivers blood to that organ may have changed.