Glossary of Cardiovascular Terms
- Widening of a portion of an artery, due to disease or congenital abnormality.
- Angina Pectoris:
- Pain in the central front of the chest brought about by effort. Usually a symptom of ischaemic heart disease.
- Lack of oxygen. The condition which causes the death of tissue when arteries are blocked.
- Drugs which reduce high blood pressure
- The main trunk artery, receiving blood from the left ventricle.
- Aortic insufficiency:
- Improper closing of the aortic valve, allowing a back flow of blood.
- Aortic valve:
- The valve between the left ventricle and the aorta.
- Lower portion of the heart, tip of the ventricles. The apex points leftward, downward, and forward.
- Abnormal rhythm of the heart. May refer to rate, rhythm, or propagation sequence of depolarisation. Some are harmless. some are very serious.
- Arterial Compliance:
- An index of the stiffness of the arterial wall.
- The smallest arterial vessels resulting from repeated branching of the arteries. They conduct the blood to the capillaries.
- Thickening, hardening, and loss of elasticity to the arterial wall.
- Blood vessel carrying blood away from the heart
- Noise which distorts a recording. For example, physical noise on a pressure tracing, or electrical noise on an ECG.
- A period during which the heart does not contract. recorded on a tracing as a straight line.
- Deposits, usually fatty, on the inside of the artery.
- Atrial septum:
- The wall separating the left and right atria.
- Atrioventricular (AV) Node:
- The small bundle of specialised conductive cells which transmits electrical impulses from the atria to the ventricles.
- One of the two upper chambers of the heart.
- The act of listening to sound from within the body. In cardiology usually with a stethoscope or automatic microphone based system.
- The inherent property of myocardial cells to generate an electrical impulse by spontaneous depolarisation.
- Autonomic nervous system:
- The system which controls tissues not under voluntary control such as the heart muscle. Divided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems.
- Low heart rate (usually defined as below 60BPM).
- Bundle branch:
- Either of the branches of the specialised conduction system just below the His Bundle.
- Bundle of His:
- The bundle of conduction fibres linking the AV node to the bundle branches.
- The very narrow tubes forming the network between the arterioles and the veins.
- Cardiac Arrest:
- Cessation of Ventricular activity. Absence of heartbeat.
- Cardiac Cycle:
- One complete heart beat, contraction and relaxation. Normally takes about 0.85 seconds.
- Cardiac Output:
- Volume of blood pumped by the heart per minute.
- Disease of the heart muscle from various causes.
- Chordae Tendinae:
- The fibrous cords which anchor the atrioventricular valves to prevent them being turned inside out by ventricular contractions.
- Collateral circulation:
- Circulation of the blood through nearby smaller vessels when a main vessel has been occluded.
- The transmission of an electrical impulse.
- Coronary arteries:
- The small arteries supplying blood to the tissue of the heart.
- Cor Pulmonale:
- Heart disease caused by impairment of blood flow through the lungs. Ultimately can cause failure of the right ventricle among other problems.
- The sudden change in electrical potential from negative to positive. In normal circumstances usually results in a contraction.
- The relaxation period of the heart.
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG):
- Graphic representation of the electrical activity of the heart as detected by electrodes on the skin or internally.
- Occlusion of a blood vessel by particles such as fat or air.
- A substance in a blood vessel which may be carried to a smaller vessel to become an obstruction to the flow.
- The thin smooth membrane lining the inner surface of the heart. A specialised form of endothelial tissue.
- The outer layer of tissue of the heart.
- Essential hypertension:
- Hypertension of unknown origin, the commonest form of consistently elevated blood pressure.
- A premature contraction of the heart, in most cases harmless.
- Chaotic, high rate unsynchronised vibrations of the myocardium, resulting in absent or ineffectual pumping.
- The study of blood flow and the forces involved.
- Heart attack:
- A non-specific term relating to disturbance of heart function in coronary and other cardiac diseases.
- Heart block:
- Total or partial blocking of electrical impulse travel from atria to ventricles resulting in slow or irregular pumping action.
- High blood pressure, can relate to systolic, mean, or diastolic pressures.
- The enlargement of a body due to increase in size of the cells. In the heart it is usually a result of increased demand for output.
- Low blood pressure.
- Idioventricular rhythm:
- Relatively slow rhythm arising from a ventricular focus, normally during heart block.
- Area of tissue which is dead or severly damaged, usually due to lack of blood supply.
- Inherent rate:
- The rate of impulse formation in the various areas of the conduction system.
- Ischemic tissue:
- Tissue with inadequate blood supply to maintain normal function.
- Korotkoff sounds:
- The sounds heard via stethoscope or microphone during release of pressure in the arm cuff. The basic principle of auscultatory BP measurement.
- The passageway inside a blood vessel.
- Malignant hypertension:
- Severe high blood pressure causing rapid damage to other organs such as the eyes and kidneys.
- Mean Arterial Pressure (MAP):
- The time-weighted average of systolic and diastolic pressures.
- Mitral valve:
- The valve between the left atrium and the left ventricle.
- An abnormal heart sound heard between the normal heart sounds.
- The muscular wall of the heart, lying betweeen the endocardium and the epicardium.
- Having normal blood pressure.
- Measurement of changes in magnitude of arterial pressure pulses.
- Pulmonary valve:
- The valve between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery.
- Purkinje Fibres:
- Network of electrical conducting fibres at the end of the specialised ventricular conducting system.
- Refractory period:
- The length of time after depolarisation during which the muscle is incapable of another depolarisation.
- Renal Hypertension:
- High blood pressure caused by kidney disease.
- Electrical recovery of the heart when the cell returns to a negative state.
- Sino-Atrial (SA) Node:
- The small bundle of specialised cells high in the right atrium which initiates the regular cardiac depolarisation cycle.
- An instrument for measuring arterial blood pressure.
- Stroke volume:
- The amount of blood pumped out of the heart at each contraction.
- Supraventricular tachycardia:
- A tachycardia originating in the atria, AV node, or His Bundle.
- The period of contraction of the heart muscle. The depolarisation period.
- Rapid heart rate, usually defined as in excess of 100BPM.
- Occlusion of a blood vessel by clotting of the blood within the vessel itself at the site of the occlusion
- Tricuspid valve:
- The valve between the right atrium and the right ventricle.
- Any vessel in the body carrying blood back to the heart.
- Vena Cava:
- The superior and inferior venae cavae carry the blood from the body back into the right atrium.
- one of the two lower chambers of the heart.
- Ventricular septum:
- ( or Interventricular septum). The muscular wall separating the ventricles.
- Shape and/or structure of a pressure or electrical pulse recording cardiac activity.