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Heart Education Awareness Resource and Training through E-learning

Glossary


A

Ablation
Elimination or removal.
Acute coronary syndrome
Describes presentations due to myocardial ischaemia occurring as a result of intracoronary thrombus formation. Includes unstable angina and different forms of myocardial infarction.
Acute myocardial infarction
Scientific term for heart attack. Refers to death of heart muscle due to a sudden reduction or cessation of blood flow as a result of thrombosis in a coronary artery.
After Load
The amount of resistance the left side of the heart has to overcome in order to eject blood.
Aneurysm
A sac-like protrusion from a blood vessel or the heart, resulting from a weakening of the vessel wall or heart muscle.
Angina pectoris
A symptomatic manifestation of ischaemia due to cardiovascular disease.
Angiography
A procedure to x-ray blood vessels. A dye that is opaque to X-rays is injected into the vessel using a catheter. The dye within the vessel allows narrowings or blockages to be identified.
Angioplasty
A procedure which reopens occluded (blocked) or stenosed (narrowed) blood vessels.
Angiotensin
A chemical which causes the blood vessels to tighten and narrow released within renin angiotensin aldesterone system.
(ACE) Inhibitor
Angiotensin Converting Enzyme inhibitors are a class of drugs which inhibit the production of angiotensin.
Angiotensin II receptor blocker
A drug that blocks the actions of angiotensin.
Anti-arrhythmics
A class of drugs used to correct irregularities in the heart beat.
Anticoagulant
A drug that prevents the clotting of blood.
Antihypertensive drugs
A class of drugs used to treat high blood pressure.
Antiplatelet drug
A drug that prevents a platelet in the blood from clumping together. These clumps may lead to blood clots which can block arteries causing a heart attack or stroke.
Aorta
The main artery of the body which arises from the left ventricle and from which all other arteries derive.
Aortic arch
The curved portion of aorta between the ascending and descending portions of the aorta.
Aortic regurgitation
Reflux of blood from the aorta into the left ventricle as a result of malfunction of the aortic valve.
Aortic Stenosis
This describes narrowing in the aortic valve and thereby restricts blood from moving from the left ventricle into the aorta.
Aortic valve
A valve in the heart lying between the left ventricle and the aorta.
Arrhythmia
An abnormal rhythm of the heart, may be too fast or too slow.
Artery
A blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to supply the tissues.
ASSIGN Score
A cardiovascular risk score used as a tool in assessing patients.
Ascending aorta
The first part of the aorta.
Ascites
The excessive accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity.
Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)
A form of congenital heart defect that enables blood flow between two compartments of the heart called the left and right atria.
Atheroma
Fatty deposit containing cholesterol which builds up on the inner lining of arteries over years.
Atherosclerosis
A disease of the arteries in which fatty plaques develop on their inner walls eventually leading to obstruction of blood flow. Otherwise known as hardening of the arteries.
Atrial fibrillation
Irregular electrical activity in the atria leading to irregular contraction of the heart muscle.
Atrial flutter
A type of arrhythmia initiating in the atria.
Atrial tachycardia
A type of arrhythmia that begins in the heart's upper chambers (atria) and causes a fast heart beat.
Atrioventricular block
An interrruption to the passage of the electrical signal from the atria to the ventricles.
Atrioventricular node
A group of cells lying between the atria and ventricles which delay the passage of an electrical current.
Atrium
Receiving chamber in the heart collecting blood returning from the body (right atrium) or from the lungs (left atrium).
Automatic implantable cardio-defibrillator (AICD)
A device used to correct sudden ventricular arrhythmias which can lead to sudden death.
Automaticity
The capacity of a cell to initiate an impulse without an external stimulus.

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B

Betablocker
A class of drugs which act by blocking the effect of the sympathetic nervous system on the heart.
Blood pressure (BP)
It is the amount of force exerted by the blood against the walls of the arteries. It is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and is expressed as two numbers e.g. 120/80 mmHg. The higher number being systolic blood pressure and the lower diastolic.
Body mass index (BMI)
A measurement of weight in relation to height. It is calculated from weight (kg) / height (m2). A normal body mass index is defined at 20-25. A BMI = 19 indicates that a person is underweight. A BMI of 25-29 indicates that a person is overweight. A BMI =30 is classified as obese
Bradycardia.
Slow heart beat, usually defined as less than 50 beats per minute.
Brain Natriuretic Peptide(BNP)
Is a biologically active peptide of 32 amino acids and has vasodilator and natriuretic properties. Its levels can be measured in the blood.
Bundle branch block
A defect in the heart's conduction system preventing normal conduction of the electrical impulse. (Left and Right).
Bundle of HIS
The bundle of cardiac muscle fibres that conducts the electrical impulses that regulate the heartbeat.

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C

Calcium channel blocker
A class of drugs used in the treatment of angina and high blood pressure.
Cardiac arrest
Complete cessation of the heart beat.
Cardiac catheterisation
A diagnostic procedure whereby catheters are inserted into an artery or vein and fed up to the heart, the major blood vessels around the heart and the coronary arteries. It allows the measurement of pressures around the heart and cardiac output. It also allows angiography to be undertaken.
Cardiac markers
Serum proteins and enzymes released as a result of cardiac injury and therefore serve as markers of cardiac tissue injury.
Cardiac output
Is the volume of blood pumped by the heart each minute. It is calculated using the heart rate and the stroke volume.
Cardiac Resynchronisation Therapy (CRT +/- D)
Is a therapy that is sometimes required to maximise the and enhance synchronised pumping of patients with underlying poor ventricular function, for example patients with heart failure. It can have a defibrillator integrated also. (+/- D)
Cardiology
The study of the heart and its function in health and disease.
Cardiomyopathy
A disease of the heart muscle that leads to generalised deterioration of the pumping ability of the heart.
Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
The techniques of treating arrest of the heart by artificial respiration and cardiac compression.
Cardiovascular
Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
General term used to describe disease affecting the heart and great blood vessels. This includes coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease and peripheral vascular disease.
Cardiovascular risk factor
Anything that increases the chance of an individual developing CVD.
Cardioversion
The application of electric shock or use of drugs to attempt restoration of a normal heart rhythm in a patient with cardiac arrhythmia.
Cardiac Magnetic resonance (CMR)
This investigation uses a magnetic field to produced detailed images of the heart and blood vessels. It can be helpful In gaining images from patients whose vessels and anatomy are difficult to see using angiography.
Catheter
Long thin flexible tube used in cardiac catheterisation.
Catheterisation laboratory
The x-ray laboratory in which an angiogram is performed.
Cerebrovascular
Pertaining to the blood vessels and circulation to the brain.
Cerebrovascular accident (CVA)
Also known as a stroke. Damage to part of the brain caused by an interruption to the blood supply.
Cerebrovascular disease
This describes vascular disease of the brain.
Cholesterol
A fatty substance that circulates in the blood and is an important structural component of all human cells. About 75% of cholesterol is produced in the liver with the remainder coming from food (animal fats and dairy products).
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
The name for a collection of lung diseases including chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease.
Claudication
A discomfort in the legs (or rarely the arms) caused by an inadequate supply of oxygen to the muscles, usually owing to/as a result of narrowed arteries.
Clopidogrel
A type of anti-platelet medication.
Cognitive function
Is the intellectual process by which one becomes aware of, perceives, or comprehends ideas.
Collateral circulation
Blood flow through small nearby vessels in response to blockage of a main vessel. Blood flow established via small blood vessels adjacent to a blockage of a main vessel and in replace of that main vessel.
Co-morbidity
The presence of co-existing or additional diseases with reference to the main condition under consideration i.e. diabetes may be a co-morbidity for a patient with CHD.
Computed tomography (CT)
An x-ray technique that uses a computer to create cross-sectional images of the body. Particularly useful in cardiology for visualising blood vessels such as the aorta.
Congenital
Refers to conditions existing at birth.
Congestive cardiac failure (CCF)
A condition in which the heart cannot pump all the blood returning to it, leading to a back-up of blood in the vessels and an accumulation of fluid in the lungs and body tissues.
Contra-indication
Any condition which makes a particular line of treatment unsuitable or undesirable.
Contractility
(Cardiac) contractility represents the intrinsic ability of the heart (myocardium) to contract.
Coronary angioplasty
This is a procedure that makes the blood vessels wider by using a small balloon at the end of the angiogram catheter to open up the narrowed blood vessel by 'squashing' the fatty tissue against the blood vessel wall (Also called balloon angioplasty or balloon dilatation or PTCA (percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty).
Coronary artery
Artery which supplies oxygenated blood to heart muscle.
Coronary arteriography
X-ray of the coronary arteries.
Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG)
Surgical procedure for restoring blood flow to the heart when it has been restricted as a result of coronary artery disease. The surgery is performed by grafting a section of vein (taken from the leg), internal mammary artery (found in the chest) or radial artery (found in the forearm) between the aorta and the obstructed coronary artery.
Coronary heart disease (CHD)
A type of CVD caused by atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries leading to reduced blood supply to the heart muscle. This can result in angina or myocardial infarction.
Coronary thrombosis
Formation of a clot in one of the arteries that carries blood to the heart muscle.
Cyanosis
Blueness of skin caused by insufficient oxygen (ischaemia) in the blood.

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D

Decompensation
When signs and symptoms of heart failure (oedema, breathlessness and fatigue) become apparent after a period of stability
Deep venous thrombosis (DVT)
A blood clot in a deep vein in the calf.
Defibrillator
A machine that helps restore a normal heart rhythm by delivering an electric shock.
Depolarisation
When stimulated by electrical activity, muscle fibres contract and produce motion. In the heart, this electrical activity is referred to as depolarisation.
Diabetes mellitus
A medical condition in which the body cannot control the level of sugar in the blood. This occurs when the body doesn't produce or properly use insulin. There are two types. Type 1 usually starts in younger life. Type II usually develops in middle life. Diabetes is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Diastolic blood pressure
The blood pressure within the arteries when the heart muscle relaxes between beats. It is the lower number which is recorded.
Diastole
Period during which the chambers of the heart relax. Alternates with systole.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy
This is a disorder in which the heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump blood efficiently. It can be caused by many diseases.
Diuretic
A drug that promotes urine production. Used in the treatment of fluid retention and hypertension.
Dyslipidaemia
This is the term used to describe an abnormal cholesterol profile.
Dyspnoea
Shortness of breath.

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E

Echocardiography (ECHO)
A method of studying the heart's structure and function by using ultrasound. It allows assessment of the size, movement, chambers, valves and surrounding tissues of the heart.
Ejection fraction
A measurement of the amount of blood pumped by a ventricle. The normal value is between 50 and 60%.
Electrocardiogram (ECG)
This is a graphic record of the electrical activity of the heart obtained from electrodes positioned on the chest wall and limbs. An ECG can detect abnormalities of heart rhythm. It is essential in the assessment of CHD by being able to demonstrate features of myocardial ischaemia and infarction. It can also show if the heart has become enlarged or is working under strain.
Electrophysiological study (EPS)
A test involving cardiac catheterisation to pass recording electrodes into the heart to study the causes of arrhythmias and treat them by ablation.
Embolism
The sudden blocking of an artery by a clot or foreign material which has come from another source.
Embolus
A blood clot which forms in one part of the body and travels to another part.
Endocardium
The innermost lining of the heart.
Endocarditis
An infection of the heart's inner lining and usually involving one or more of the heart valves.
Epicardium
The thin membrane covering the outside surface of the heart muscle.
Epidemiological Studies
These are scientific studies based on a large number of participants that evaluate cause, distribution and control of diseases in populations.
Epigastrium
Refers to the upper central region of the abdomen. Sometimes referred to as the epigastric region.
Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
Also known as impotence, it is the inability to get and maintain an erection that is sufficient for satisfactory sexual intercourse.
Exercise tolerance test (ETT)
A common test used to assess patients with possible coronary artery disease.

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F

Femoral artery
Artery at the top of the leg used to gain access for cardiac catheterisation.
Fibrillation
Rapid uncoordinated contraction of individual heart muscle fibres. The heart chamber affected cannot contract effectively and therefore pumps little or no blood.
Fibrin
Fibrous material that makes up part of clot.
Fibrinolytic therapy
A group of drugs that are capable of breaking down the protein fibrin, which is the main constituent of blood clots and are therefore used to disperse clots that have formed within the circulation.
Flutter
The rapid ineffective contractions of any heart chamber. A flutter is considered to be more co-ordinated than fibrillation.

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G

Generic drug
A medicine that has the same drug as a trademarked brand-named version. Generic drugs usually cost less than their brand-name versions.
Global Registry of Acute Coronary Events (GRACE)
A risk assessment tool to measure the individuals risk of future adverse cardiovascular events and is an established risk scoring system that predicts 6-month mortality.

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H

Haemoglobin
A substance contained within red blood cells which is responsible for transporting oxygen around the body.
Haemostasis
The stopping of bleeding or arrest of blood circulation in an organ or part, as during a surgical operation.
HbA1c
A blood test used to determine the overall blood glucose control for the preceding 2-3 months.
Heart Attack
Another name used to describe an acute myocardial infarction.
Heart block
General term describing delay in the electrical impulse activating heart muscle.
Heart Failure
The term used to describe the symptoms and signs which occur if the heart is unable to pump enough blood to supply the body's needs.
Heart murmur
An abnormal heart sound caused by turbulent blood flow. Usually occurs with blood flowing through an abnormal heart valve.
High density lipoprotein (HDL)
The 'good' cholesterol which removes cholesterol from the body. Beneficial and protects patients from the development and progression of atherosclerotic disease.
Holter monitor
A portable device for continuously recording the heart beat for a defined period of time, usually 24 hours.
Hormones
Chemicals released into the blood stream that control different functions in the body.
Hyperlipidaemia
High levels of blood fats.
Hypertension
This is the term used to describe raised blood pressure.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Describes abnormal thickening of heart muscle.
Hypotension
This is a term used to describe blood pressure which is lowered. This can be symptomatic (symptoms typically as dizziness/lightheadedness) or asymptomatic (no symptoms).

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I

Idiopathic
No known cause.
Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD)
This is a device, which is implanted within the chest wall. It monitors the heart rhythm, senses if there is about to be a severe disturbance in heart rhythm and if necessary delivers an electrical impulse to stop the abnormal rhythm and allow the normal rhythm to resume.
Infarction
An area of necrosis (dead tissue) due to an obstruction of blood supply to the area.
Infective endocarditis
An infection of the heart valves and the innermost lining of the heart caused by bacteria in the blood stream.
Inferior vena cava
The large vein in the abdomen which returns blood from the legs and abdomen to the heart.
Insulin
A hormone in the body which helps control sugar levels in the blood.
Intermittent claudication
A cramping or aching pain occurring in the leg muscles during exertion. This is caused by inadequate blood supply as a result of atherosclerosis.
Intra-ventricular Septum
This is the muscle (lower area) and membrane (higher area) which separates the left ventricle from the right ventricle.
Ischaemia
Lack of oxygen in vital tissues caused by inadequate blood supply.
Ischaemic Heart Disease (IHD)
Alternative term for coronary heart disease.
Ischaemic stroke
A type of stroke caused by a blockage in blood vessel supplying the brain.
Isolated systolic hypertension
A condition in which systolic blood pressure is greater than 140 mmHg and diastolic less than 90 mmHg.

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J

Joules (J)
Energy in a defibrillator is expressed in joules.
Jugular
Is the area located in the region of the neck or throat.
Jugular Venous Pressure (JVP)
Provides an indirect measure of central venous pressure. The JVP consists of certain waveforms and abnormalities of these can help to diagnose certain conditions and is used in assessing some cardiac conditions.

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L

Left Anterior Descending Vessel (LAD)
Is the major coronary artery supplying blood to the anterior of the left ventricle, the intra-ventricular septum and a portion of the anterior wall of the right ventricle.
Left Ventricular Hypertrophy
Pathological increase in the thickness of left ventricle.
Left Ventricular Assist device (LVAD)
Is a continuous-flow device for the provision of mechanical circulatory support in patients with heart failure.
Left Ventricular Systolic dysfunction
This occurs when there is failure in the pumping action of the ventricle leading to a reduction in cardiac output. Most common causes is coronary heart disease.
Lipid profile
Recording of cholesterol and triglycerides with the cholesterol being divided into LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol).
Liver function test (LFT's)
A blood test used to assess liver function. It should be checked at first presentation of heart disease, prior to commencing certain medications and to monitor the effects that some drugs have on the liver.
Low density lipoprotein (LDL)
LDL is the major cholesterol carrier in the blood. High levels of LDL increase a person's risk of heart disease.

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M

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
A technique that produces images of the heart and other body structures by measuring the response of certain element s in the body to a magnetic field. MRI can produce detailed pictures of the heart and its various structures.
Medical Admissions Unit
This is often called acute admissions unit or acute medical assessment unit and is a short-stay department in most hospitals that is linked to the emergency department but functions as a separate department.
Heart Disease Managed clinical network (HD MCN)
Collection of healthcare professionals working together to put systems in place thereby increasing the quality of life for patients with HD.
Metabolism
Refers to all the physical and chemical processes in the body that convert or use energy, such as breathing and circulating blood.
Mitral stenosis
A narrowing of the mitral valve which regulates flow of blood from the left atrium to the left ventricle, usually caused by rheumatic fever.
Mitral Valve
The mitral valve (also called the bicuspid valve) separates the upper left heart chamber from the lower left heart chamber, and helps control blood flow through the heart.
Morbidity
The incidence of a particular disease in a given population during a specified period of time.
Mortality
The number of deaths in a given population during a specified period of time.
Multi-disciplinary Team (MDT)
A multidisciplinary team (MDT) is a group of doctors and other health professionals.
Murmur
A sound produced as a result of turbulent flow and is audible with a stethoscope. Usually occurs as a result of valvular (or other structural) disease.
Myocardial
Of the heart muscle.
Myocardial infarction
Permanent damage to heart muscle following blockage of a coronary artery. Also known as a heart attack.
Myocardial ischaemia
Insufficient blood flow to part of the heart muscle.
Myocarditis
A rare condition where heart muscle is inflamed as a result of infection or toxic drug poisoning.
Myocardium
The muscular tissue of the heart

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N

Necrosis
Refers to the death of tissue.
Nicorandil
A type of drug used to prevent angina. It relaxes the walls of the coronary arteries thus improving blood flow.
Nicotine replacement therapy
Nicotine supplied in the form of chewing gum, patches etc to reduce craving for nicotine in people attempting to give up smoking.
Nitrates
A class of drugs used to treat angina.
New York Heart Association (NYHA)
A classification tool used in assessing heart failure symptoms.

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O

Obesity
Defined as a body mass index of greater than 30. Obesity predisposes individuals to diabetes mellitus, hypertension and disorders of lipid metabolism; thereby increasing the risk of CVD.
Occlusion
A blockage. Coronary occlusion is the complete obstruction of an artery of the heart.
Oedema
Swelling caused by fluid accumulation in the body tissues.
Orthopnea
The name for shortness of breath (dyspnoea) which occurs when lying flat.

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P

Pacemaker
A surgically implanted electronic device that helps regulate the heart beat.
Palliative care
The management of patients with active progressive far advanced disease for whom the prognosis is limited and the focus of care is the quality of life.
Palpitation
An uncomfortable sensation within the chest caused by an irregular heartbeat.
Parasternal
The parasternal line is a vertical line on the front of the thorax.
Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnoea (PND)
Is characterized by acute shortness of breath almost always accompanied by coughing and wheezing and with heart failure. This respiratory distress usually occurs when a person is already several hours into sleep in a reclining position.
Pathogenesis
This term means the origin and development of a disease.
Percutaneous Cardiac Intervention (PCI)
This is an umbrella term that includes coronary angioplasty and angioplasty with stenting.
Perfusion
The volume of blood that flows through a unit quantity of the tissue.
Pericarditis
Inflammation of the sac of the heart.
Pericardiocentesis
A procedure to aspirate fluid that has accumulated in the pericardial space.
Pericardium
The outer fibrous sac that surrounds the heart.
Peripheral vascular disease (PVD)
This is caused by disease within the arteries that provide blood flow to the arms and legs.
Plaque
Build up of fatty deposit inside an artery.
Polyunsaturated fat
A type of fat found in vegetable oils and margarines that doesn't appear to raise blood cholesterol levels.
Pre load
Preload refers to total volume of blood in the left ventricle of the heart and the pressure exerted before the left ventricle contracts.
Prevalence
The total number of cases of a given disease that exist in a population at a specific time.
Prophylaxis
This describes treatment given to prevent the onset of a particular disease.
Primary Care
Health care provided by the general practitioner or other community based health professional, who generally has first contact with a patient seeking medical treatment.
Primary Prevention
The prevention of the development of a condition e.g. CHD by avoidance of factors known to contribute to its development.
Prognosis
An assessment of the future course and outcomes of a person's disease, based on the knowledge of this course of disease in other people of similar health, age and sex.
Pulmonary
Referring to the lungs and respiratory system.
Pulmonary embolism
A condition in which a blood clot that has formed elsewhere in the body travels to the lungs.
Pulmonary oedema
Fluid in the lung tissues.
Pulmonary trunk
This is a blood vessel which divides to form the right and left pulmonary arteries.
Pulmonary valve
Heart valve between the right ventricle and pulmonary artery.
Purkinje Fibres
Are the specialized cardiac muscle fibres that form a network that carries the electrical impulses controlling contraction of the hearts ventricles.

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Q

QRS
A pattern seen in an electrocardiogram that indicates the pulses in a heart beat and their duration. Variations from a normal QRS pattern indicate heart disease.

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R

Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinic (RACPC)
A one stop assessment clinic for patients experiencing new onset chest pain suggestive of stable angina or increasing frequency or severity of symptoms of angina.
Radial artery compression band
A compression device that is placed around the wrist to apply pressure on the radial artery following coronary angiography or angioplasty.
Radionuclide imaging
A test in which a harmless radioactive substance is injected into the bloodstream to show information about blood flow through the arteries. Damaged or dead heart muscle can also be identified.
Renal
Pertaining to the kidneys.
Renin Angiotension Aldesterone system (RAAS)
The hormone system that helps regulate long-term blood pressure and blood volume in the body.
Reperfusion
This is a term used to describe blood supply being restored to the heart muscle.
Repolarisation
Period of the heart beat when the heart muscle prepares for the next contraction.
Restenosis
The re-narrowing of an artery after interventional procedure.
Rheumatic fever
A disease that may follow a streptococcal infection.
Rheumatic heart disease
A disease of the heart valves caused by rheumatic fever.
Right radial approach
One of the approaches where the catheters necessary for cardiac catheterization are inserted into the radial artery (in the wrist).
Risk factor
A risk factor is an attribute which is positively associated with the development of disease but is not the sole cause of disease.
Risk Stratification
This is an assessment to identify the risk of further problems with the heart.

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S

Saturated fat
Type of fat mostly found in animals, which is solid at room temperature and increase levels of LDL cholesterol.
Secondary Prevention
Prevention of further cardiovascular events in patients who have already suffered a CVD related event.
Sino atrial node (SA node)
A specialised bundle of neurons which act as the hearts natural pacemaker.
Statins
A class of drug which blocks the manufacture of cholesterol in the body.
Stenosis
The narrowing or constriction of an opening such as a blood vessel or heart valve.
Stent
Tiny metal scaffold applied (placed inside) to the inside of an artery and expanded to hold the vessel open. These can be bare metal or drug eluting (coated with medication to help reduce the development of further narrowing.
Stenting
The catheter contains a 'stent', which is a short tube of stainless-steel mesh. As the balloon is inflated, the stent expands so that it holds open the narrowed blood vessel. When the balloon is let down and removed, the stent is left in place to hold the vessel open.
Stethoscope
An instrument for listening to sounds within the body.
Stroke
A condition which results in a reduction of blood flow to a region of the brain resulting in the death of brain tissue.
Stroke volume
The volume of blood ejected from a ventricle at each beat of the heart.
Syncope
A transient loss of consciousness.
Systemic circulation
Is the system of blood vessels and associated tissues that supplies blood and therefore oxygen, to all parts of the body.
Systole
Period during which the chambers of the heart contract. Alternates with diastole.
Systolic blood pressure
The highest blood pressure within the arteries. It occurs with each contraction of the heart. It is the upper number which is recorded when the blood pressure is measured.

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T

Tachycardia
A heart rate of 100 beats per minute or greater.
Tachypnoea
Rapid breathing.
Telemetry
The electronic transmission of data between distant points, such as the transmission of cardiac monitoring data.
Tertiary centre
A major medical centre providing highly specialised care e.g. heart surgery.
Thrombolysis
The breaking up of a clot blocking an artery.
Thrombosis
The process of clot formation.
Thrombus
The medical term for a blood clot.
Transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
Reversible neurological deficit due to reduced blood flow to the brain. Symptoms last for less than 24 hours.
Transoesophageal echocardiogram (TOE)
More detailed imaging of the heart using an ultrasound probe mounted on the end of a scope swallowed by the patient.
Triage
The sorting and stratification of patients according to the urgency of their condition for the purpose of prioritising appropriate treatment regimes.
Tricuspid valve
Regulates flow between right atrium and right ventricle.
Triglycerides
This is a type of fat that can contribute to heart disease.
Troponin
A protein released by injured heart muscle.

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U

Urea and electrolytes
A blood test done to assess renal function

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V

Valvular Heart Disease
If the valve does not close properly, it will allow blood to leak backwards. This is called valve incompetence or regurgitation.
Veins
Vessels that carry blood back to the heart.
Ventricle
One of the two lower chambers of the heart that receive blood from the atria (upper chambers). The right ventricle pumps blood to the lungs and the left ventricle pumps blood to the rest of the body.
Ventricular fibrillation (VF)
Chaotic electrical activity in the ventricles. The most common cause of cardiac arrest and death associated with myocardial infarction.
Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)
A defect in the ventricular septum, the wall dividing the left and right ventricles of the heart.

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W

Waist Circumference
A measurement of central obesity which is a predictor of cardiovascular risk.

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