Print
Request Appointment

Glossary of Terms (Cardiovascular)

  • Angina: symptoms that occur when your heart muscle can’t get enough blood. Often appears as pressure, tightness, aching, or pain in your chest, arm, neck, or jaw.

  • Angiogram: a special X-ray of a blood vessel.

  • Aorta: your body’s largest artery. It carries blood from the heart to the rest of your body.

  • Arrhythmia: an abnormal heartbeat.

  • Arteriosclerosis: when artery walls thicken and lose elasticity. Sometimes called “hardening of the arteries.”

  • Artery: a blood vessel that carries blood from your heart to your body.

  • Atherosclerosis: the buildup of plaque within artery walls.

  • Atria (singular: atrium): the heart’s two upper chambers. They receive blood from your lungs and body.

  • Balloon angioplasty: a procedure that uses a balloon-tipped catheter to open an artery narrowed or blocked by plaque.

  • Blood (serum) cholesterol: a soft, fatty substance found in foods and produced by your body. It is is carried in your bloodstream. Can build up within artery walls as plaque.

  • Blood pressure: a measurement indicating the force of blood as it presses against artery walls while moving through vessels.

  • Blood vessels: tubes that carry blood throughout your body. Arteries and veins are blood vessels.

  • Bypass: a new pathway for blood flow.

  • CABG (pronounced “cabbage”): another term for coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

  • Cardiac arrest: sudden loss of heart function, caused by a malfunction in the heart's electrical system. This is different from a heart attack. 

  • Cardiomyopathy: weakening of, or structural change in, the heart muscle that reduces your heart’s ability to pump.

  • Catheter: a long, thin, flexible plastic tube.

  • Coronary arteries: blood vessels that wrap around your heart and supply your heart muscle with blood.

  • Coronary artery disease: blocked or narrowed coronary arteries.

  • Diastolic pressure: the pressure of blood against the inside of artery walls between heartbeats. Appears as the bottom number in a blood pressure measurement.

  • Electrocardiogram: a test that records the way electrical signals move through your heart. Often called an ECG or EKG.

  • Heart attack: an event that occurs when blood can’t get to part of your heart muscle. Can cause permanent damage.

  • Hypertension: another word for “high blood pressure.”

  • Myocardial infarction: death of heart muscle tissue. Also known as a heart attack.

  • Plaque: a deposit of fatty material (including cholesterol) within artery walls.

  • Pulmonary artery: the large artery that carries blood from your heart to your lungs to get oxygen.

  • Stenosis: the narrowing of an artery, often caused by plaque buildup.

  • Stroke: a blockage or rupture in a blood vessel that cuts off blood flow to part of your brain. May cause brain damage. Also known as a brain attack or CVA (cerebrovascular accident).

  • Systolic pressure: the pressure of blood against the inside of artery walls during a heartbeat (when the heart pumps). Appears as the top number in a blood pressure measurement.

  • Ultrasound: a test that uses sound waves to create images of structures inside your body.

  • Valves: “doorways” that open and close to let blood move and prevent backflow of blood. There are valves between the heart’s chambers.

  • Vein: a blood vessel that carries blood from your body back to your heart.

  • Ventricles: the heart’s two lower chambers. They pump blood to the body and lungs.

 

Was this helpful?

Yes No
 

Tell us more.

Check all that apply.
 
 
 
 
 
NEXT ▶

Last question: How confident are you filling out medical forms by yourself?

Not at all A little Somewhat Quite a bit Extremely

Thank You!

Discrimination is Against the Law. We comply with applicable Federal civil rights laws. We do not discriminate against, exclude or treat people differently because of race, color, national origin, age, disability or sex.
 
 Visit Other Fairview Sites 
 
 
(c) 2017 Fairview Health Services. All rights reserved.