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Terminology in Cardiology - A

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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Ablation: - Surgical or catheter scarring of cardiac tissue.

Accessory Pathway: - Alternative connecting pathway between the atrium and the ventricle besides the bundle of His resulting syndrome is known as Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome.

Actin: - One of the two contractile fibres of the cardiac and skeletal muscle – the “thin” filament.

Action Potential: - Electrical activities of a cell from depolarization to repolarization (5 phases 0-5) involving Calcium, Potassium and Sodium ions.

After load: - Pressure needed by the ventricle to eject blood. In the right it is lesser (the pressure around 30mmHg) - the diastolic pressure of the pulmonary trunk and in the left it is the diastolic pressure of the aorta + peripheral resistance.

Amplitude: - The height or depth of the waves in an electrocardiogram in millimeters.

Anastomosis: - The surgical connection of separate or several tubular hollow organs to form a continuous channel or a series of interconnecting blood channels allowing for several directions of blood flow so that blood can reach tissue despite blockages.

Aneurysm: - A localized dilatation of an artery or heart chamber caused by disease or weakening of the muscle in the wall - tunica media.

Angina / Angina Pectoris: - Chest pain or discomfort due to lack of oxygen – anoxia or ischemia in the muscle tissue (myocardium) generally because of coronary artery disease. Angina is a symptom of a condition called myocardial ischemia. May also manifest as aching, burning, discomfort, heaviness, numbness, pressure, tightness, and/or tingling in the chest, back, neck, throat, jaw or arms.

Angiography: - An X-ray that uses dye injected into arteries so that coronary artery anatomy can be studied with respect to disease diagnosis. Coronary angiography is done during a cardiac catheterization.

Angioplasty: - An insertion of a balloon at the end of a catheter, blown up to compress the clogged area of the artery against the arterial wall and so dilate the lumen which is then removed.

Anticoagulants: - Also known as: "Blood thinners". Medications that slow blood clotting time. Anyone on anticoagulants needs regular blood tests to determine clotting time e.g. Prothrombin time (Protime).

Aorta: - the largest artery in the body and the primary blood vessel leading from the heart to the body.

Aortic Valve: - the valve that regulates blood flow from the heart to the aorta.

Apex (of the Heart): - The inferior aspect or bottom of the heart 5th intercostals space, left mid clavicular line, where the heart beat is the strongest.

Arrhythmia: - Lack of rhythm or heart beat, abnormal heart beat (Dysrthymia), caused by a disruption of the normal functioning of the heart's electrical conduction system. Normally, contraction is coordinated. Arrhythmias or Dysrhythmias result in ineffective and uncoordinated contractions of the cardiac muscle causing an irregular pulse, cardiac output, Coronary artery disease, rheumatic heart disease, brachial plexus, acute myocardial infarction, hyperthyroidism and some medications are associated with the development of arrhythmias. The types of arrhythmias are Fibrillation (can be atrial or ventricular. Ineffective beats), Tachycardia (fast heart beat, usually more than 110 beats per minute), Bradycardia (slow heart beat, usually less than 50 beats per minute).

Arteriole: - Small artery.

Arteriosclerosis: - Commonly called “hardening of the arteries”, this includes a variety of conditions that cause artery walls to thicken and lose elasticity. Arteriosclerosis can occur because of fatty deposits on the inner lining of arteries (atherosclerosis), calcification of the wall of the arteries, or thickening of the muscular wall of the arteries from chronically elevated BP. It also is associated with aging diabetes, hyperlipidaemia and hypertension etc.

Artery: - A blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart.

Asystole: - Absence of a heart beat - flat line electrocardiogram.

Atherectomy (Rotorooter): - A procedure that uses a catheter and special cutting or grinding tools to remove plaque from artery walls.

Atherosclerosis: - A form of arteriosclerosis that is caused by a buildup of plaque and/or fatty deposits in the inner lining of an artery.

Atrial Fibrillation: - A disorder of HR and rhythm in which the heart's two small, upper chambers (atrium) quiver rapidly like a bowl of gelatin and empty blood into the heart's lower chambers (ventricle) in a disorganized manner. This may result in blood pooling and clotting in the atrium. The causes of atrial fibrillation include dysfunction of the sinoatrial node, coronary artery disease, rheumatic heart disease, hypertension and hyperthyroidism.

Atrial Septal Defect: - An abnormal hole in the wall between the right and left atria.

Atrium (plural Atria): - The word derived from Latin word ‘antrum’ meaning waiting room – top chambers right and left of the heart - 1/3 of the volume of the ventricle or lower chamber.

Autonomic imbalance: - It is characterized by a hyperactive sympathetic system and a hypoactive parasympathetic system which is associated with various pathological conditions including cardiovascular diseases. 

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