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SCREENING FOR HEART DISEASE

GLOSSARY

WOMEN & HEART DISEASE

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Heart Disorders Glossary

A    B-D    E-L    M-R    S-Z    

Septum: Membranous or muscular tissue that separates the right and left sides of the heart.

Shunt: Abnormal mixing of blood from the right and left heart circulatory systems.

Stenosis: Constriction of a passage. Used typically when there is a narrowing of a valve opening (for example, mitral valve stenosis) or of a blood vessel.

Stent: A metal mesh-like tube fitted onto a balloon which is expanded into the wall of an artery during balloon inflation. Performed to correct an arterial stenosis.

Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT): Sometimes also called paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia. Abnormally rapid heart rate arising from atrial or AV nodal tissue. Can occur as a result of abnormal electrical pathway or spontaneous rhythm, which suppresses normal pacemaker activity. Patient may feel palpitations and shortness of breath.

Syncope: Fainting spell.

Systole: Part of the cardiac cycle when the left and right ventricles contract and pump the blood into the aorta and pulmonary artery.

Systolic Dysfunction: Weakening of ventricular pump function which reduces cardiac output. Can result from infection, heart attack, hypertension, valvular heart disease, alcohol abuse among other causes. Congestive heart failure can be a consequence of systolic left ventricular (LV) dysfunction.

Tachycardia: Heart rate in excess of 100 beats per minute. There are many causes and types of tachycardia ranging from a normal physiologic response to dangerous arrhythmia.

Tricuspid Valve: Also called the right atrioventricular (AV) valve. This valve is located between the right atrium and right ventricle. The tricuspid valve contains three leafs or flaps, and prevents back-flow of blood from the ventricle into the atrium.

Triglycerides: A type of fat circulating in the blood. Elevated triglycerides can contribute to the development of atherosclerotic heart disease. Normal triglyceride levels should be less than 150 mg/dL.

Valvular Insufficiency: A condition in which a heart valve is not able to prevent the backward flow of blood. The resulting back-flow is called regurgitation.

Vein: A vessel that carries oxygen-poor blood toward the heart.

Ventricle: The lower chambers of the heart that are responsible for pumping blood to the body. The right ventricle pumps oxygen-poor blood to the lungs through the pulmonary artery; the left ventricle pumps oxygen-rich blood to the body through the aorta.

Ventricular Fibrillation (VF): Also called V-fib. Severe form of arrhythmia. Ventricular fibrillation causes uncoordinated, rapid, and ineffective contractions of the ventricles caused by many chaotic electrical impulses. Patients with ventricular fibrillation will lose consciousness in seconds due to loss of blood pressure.

Ventricular Tachycardia (VT): Also called V-tach. Transient or sustained rhythm originating in the ventricle in excess of 100 beats per minute.

Wolff-Parkinson-White: Type of abnormal electrical pathway in the heart between the atria and ventricles. Patients with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome are susceptible to dangerously rapid heart rate in response to certain arrhythmias.