Cardiac terms

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abdominal aortic aneurysm

ab·dom·i·nal a·or·tic an·eu·rysm

/ˌabˈdämən(ə)l āˈôrdik ˈanyəˌrizəm/

Noun

An out-pouching of the descending abdominal aorta

acute coronary syndrome

a·cute cor·o·nar·y syn·drome

/əˈkyo͞ot ˈkôrəˌnerē ˈsinˌdrōm/

Noun

Conditions caused by complete or incomplete blockage of a coronary artery

acute hypertensive pulmonary edema

a·cute hy·per·ten·sive pul·mo·nar·y e·de·ma

/əˈkyo͞ot ˌhīpərˈtensiv ˈpəlməˌnerē iˈdēmə/

Noun

A heart failure condition that occurs when pressure in the lung’s capillary beds increases rapidly, due to either fluid volume overload or the left ventricle’s failure to contract efficiently

afterload

af·ter·load

af´ter-lōd

Noun

The static pressure within the vascular system itself that keeps the aortic valve shut

American Heart Association

A·mer·i·can Heart As·so·ci·a·tion

/əˈmerikən härt əˌsōsēˈāSHən/

Noun

The American Heart Association is a non-profit organization that fosters appropriate cardiac care to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke. It was founded by six cardiologists in 1924 and is headquartered in Dallas.

aneurysm

an·eu·rysm

/ˈanyəˌrizəm

Noun

An out-pouching of the arterial wall, which is usually due to weakening of the arteries due to cardiovascular disease

angina

an·gi·na

/anˈjīnə/

Noun

A symptom of localized pain often caused by gradual narrowing of one or more coronary arteries

aortic dissection

a·or·tic dis·sec·tion

/āˈôrdik dəˈsekSH(ə)n/

Noun

A separation of the arterial layers of the ascending and descending aorta

arteriosclerosis

ar·ter·ri·o·scle·ro·sis

/ärˌti(ə)rēōskləˈrōsis/

Noun

A condition in which the inner lining of large and medium arteries becomes narrow and thick.

asystole

a·sys·to·le

/asys·to·le/

Noun

When the heart has no contractions due to a lack of electrical impulses. Characterized by the lack of a heartbeat, which creates a flat line on a heart monitor. Colloquially called a flatline.

atherosclerosis

ath·er·o·scle·ro·sis

/ˌaTHərōskləˈrōsəs/

Noun

A condition in which the inner lining of large and medium arteries becomes narrow and thick

atrial fibrillation

a·tri·al fi·bril·la·tion

/ey tree əl \ˌfi-brə-ˈlā-shən/

Noun

An irregularly irregular heart rhythm

automated external defibrillator

au·to·mat·ed ex·ter·nal de·fib·ril·la·tor

/ˈôdəˌmādəd ikˈstərnl dēˈfibrəˌlādər/

Noun

A device that can be used to analyze the patient’s heart rhythm and deliver a counter-shock

automaticity

au·to·ma·ti·ci·ty

/ôtəma'tiˈsitē/

Noun

The ability to produce an electrical impulse without being stimulated.

baroreceptor

bar·o·re·cep·tor

/ˌbarōriˈseptəf/

Noun

A receptor that measures pressure within the artery.

blood

blood

/bləd/

Noun

Blood consists mostly of water containing nutrients, wastes, and specialized blood cells. Blood travels through the vascular system, carrying oxygen toward and carbon dioxide away from the tissues of the body.

blood pressure

blood pres·sure

/bləd ˈpreSHər/

Noun

The pressure of the blood in the circulatory system

bradycardia

brad·y·car·di·a

/ˌbradiˈkärdēə/

Noun

A heart rate that is too slow to maintain perfusion

capillary bed

cap·il·lar·y bed

/ˈkapəˌlerē bed/

Noun

An immense network of capillaries whose walls are one cell thin, allowing oxygen and carbon dioxide to diffuse easily across the membrane between the blood and cell. Capillary beds regroup and eventually become veins.

cardiac arrest

car·di·ac ar·rest

/kahr dee ak uh rest/

Noun

When the heart beats poorly or not at all

cardiopulmonary resuscitation

car·di·o·pul·mo·nar·y re·sus·ci·tate

/ˌkärdēōˈpo͝olməˌnerē,-ˈpəl- rəˈsəsəˌtāt/

Noun

A procedure for treatment of sudden cardiac arrest that consists of compressing the chest and providing artificial ventilation.

cardiovascular system

car·di·o·vas·cu·lar sys·tem

/ˌkärdēōˈvaskyələr ˈsistəm/

Noun

A complex system of organs that work together to transport and supply oxygen and nutrients to the tissues and remove wastes.

carotid bodies

ca·rot·id bod·ies

/kəˈrätid ˈbädēs/

Noun

Chemoreceptors that measures changes in blood composition.

carotid sinuses

ca·rot·id si·nus·es

/kəˈrätid sīnəs es/

Noun

Receptors that measure pressure within the artery. They are located in the carotid arteries that pass through the neck to the brain and face.

central pulses

cen·tral puls·es

/sen-truhl puhls es/

Noun

These are found toward the body’s core. They include the femoral and carotid arteries.

cerebral perfusion pressure

ce·re·bral per·fu·sion pres·sure

/səˈrēbrəl pərˈfyo͞o shion ˈpreSHər/

Noun

The minimum amount of pressure of 60 mmHg that's needed for the brain to receive enough oxygen and nutrients. It can be calculated as mean arterial pressure minus intracranial pressure.

chemoreceptor

che·mo·re·cep·tor

/ˈkēmōriˌseptər/

Noun

A receptor that measures changes in blood composition by detecting carbon dioxide and oxygen levels

chest compression fraction

chest com·pres·sion frac·tion

/CHest kəmˈpreSHən ˈfrakSHən/

Noun

The proportion of resuscitation time without spontaneous circulation during which chest compressions were administered. (Source: Christenson J, Andrusiek D, Everson-Stewart S, et al. Chest compression fraction determines survival in patients with out-of-hospital ventricular fibrillation. Circulation. 2009;120:1241-7.)

conduction system

con·duc·tion sys·tem

/kənˈdəkSHən ˈsistəm/

Noun

The system that coordinates the timing and distribution of electrical impulses in the heart.

coronary artery disease

co·ro·nar·y ar·ter·y dis·ease

/ˈkôrəˌnerē ˈärtərē diˈzēz/

Noun

A disease that may cause the blood flow through the coronary arteries to slow or stop.

coronary perfusion pressure

cor·o·nar·y per·fu·sion pres·sure

/ˈkôrəˌnerē per fyoo zhuh n ˈpreSHər/

Noun

The difference between the systolic pressure and diastolic pressure

Cushing’s syndrome

Cush·ing·s syn·drome

/ko͝oSH iNGs ˈsinˌdrōm/

Noun

A pattern of significant hypertension, bradycardia and irregular breathing caused by pressure in the brain so high that the pons area is affected.

defibrillation

de·fib·ril·la·tion

/dēˌfibrəˈlāSHən/

Noun

Sending an electric shock through the heart to stop arrhythmia

depolarization

depo·lar·i·za·tion

/de poh ler uh zey shuhn/

Noun

A small amount of electricity

diastolic pressure

dias·tol·ic pres·sure

/dīa stol ik presh er/

Noun

The bottom number of a blood pressure reading, which represents the mean arterial pressure when the ventricles are filled with blood

dissection

dis·sec·tion

/dəˈsekSH(ə)n/

Noun

When blood flows in between the arterial layers, spreading them apart

dysrhythmia

dys·rhyth·mi·a

/disˈriT͟Hmēə/

Noun

An abnormal heart rhythm that may be irregular, too fast, too slow, or cause abnormal heart function

embolus

em·bo·lus

/ˈembələs/

Noun

Blockage resulting from a blood clot formed in the body that travels to the coronary artery and becomes lodged

erythrocyte

e·ryth·ro·cyte

/ih-rith-ruh-sahyt/

Noun

A red blood cells (RBCs) that carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues

heart failure

heart fail·ure

/härt ˈfālyər/

Noun

When the ventricles are damaged, reducing their ability to pump effectively

hemoglobin

he·mo·glo·bin

/hee-muh-gloh-bin/

Noun

The protein responsible for the red blood cell's ability to carry oxygen

hypertension

hy·per·ten·sion

/ˌhīpərˈtenSHən/

Noun

Abnormally high blood pressure

impedance threshold device

im·ped·ance thresh·old de·vice

/im peed ns thresh ohld dih vahys/

Noun

A device inserted between the mask and bag during a cardiac arrest that acts as a “supervalve” that allows air to enter the lungs during bag compression. During cardiac compression, the valve allows air to escape from the lungs, but prevents atmospheric air from entering the chest. A small amount of negative pressure is created, promoting better blood flow through the heart and its coronary arteries.

infarct

in·farct

/in fahrkt, in fahrkt/

Noun

An area of tissue that is dying or dead, such as in the heart

inferior vena cava

in·fe·ri·or ve·na ca·va

/inˈfi(ə)rēər ˈvēnə ˈkävə/

Noun

The vein that returns blood to the heart from the lower body

ischemia

i·sche·mi·a

/isˈkēmēə/

Noun

When areas of heart muscle are not receiving oxygen and nutrients.

ischemic angina

is·che·mic an·gi·na

/isˈkēmīk anˈjīnə/

Noun

Substernal chest discomfort characterized by squeezing, heavy, tight, or dull chest sensation and associated with nausea, sweating, or dyspnea. It is often precipitated by emotion or exertion and relieved by rest and/or nitroglycerin

ischemic discomfort

is·che·mic dis·com·fort

/isˈkēmīk disˈkəmfərt/

Noun

A discomfort located in the center of the lower chest that's often described as squeezing, heavy, or tight

jugular venous distention

jug·u·lar ve·nous dis·ten·tion

/ˈjəgyələr ˈvēnəs di-ˈsten(t)-shən/

Noun

Enlargement of the veins leading from the head back to the heart

leukocyte

leu·ko·cyte

/loo kuh sit/

Noun

The white blood cells (WBCs) that defend against infectious cells and microorganisms known as pathogens

metabolism

me·tab·o·lism

/məˈtabəˌlizəm/

Noun

The sum of all the physical and chemical processes by which living organized substance is produced and maintained (anabolism), and also the transformation by which energy is made available for the uses of the organism (catabolism). This is the process by which the body creates adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from oxygen and glucose (O2 + glucose = ATP). The waste of this process is CO2 and H2O.

myocardial infarction

my·o·car·di·al in·farc·tion

/mīəˈkärdēəl inˈfärkSHən/

Noun

Heart cell death caused by poor or stopped blood flow due to blockage of a coronary artery with an embolus or thrombus. This condition is often accompanied by chest discomfort in the center of the chest that is unrelieved by rest. Pain quality often increases or changes, and may be associated with dyspnea, diaphoresis, nausea, weakness, and palpitations.

myocyte

my·o·cy·te

/mī′ō-sīt/

Noun

A cardiac cell that has the ability to produce an electrical impulse without being stimulated.

occlusion

oc·clu·sion

/əˈklo͞oZHən/

Noun

Blockage of the arteries that occurs due to hardening of arterial walls

pericardial sac

per·i·car·di·al sac

/per i kahr dee uhl sac/

Noun

The membrane surrounding the heart

pericardial tamponade

per·i·car·di·al tam·pon·ade

/per i kahr dee uhl tam puh neyd/

Noun

When fluid from infection or blood from trauma builds up in the pericardial sac surrounding the heart, creating a pressure against the heart’s chambers that keeps them from refilling correctly.

peripheral pulses

pe·riph·er·al puls·es

/puh-rif-er-uh l puhls es/

Noun

These are found in the extremities. They include the radial, brachial, and dorsalis pedis pulses

post-resuscitation care

post re·sus·ci·tate care

/pōst ri suhs i teyt ker/

Noun

This involves keeping the patient’s airway patent, maintaining artificial ventilation if necessary and closely monitoring the patient’s pulse and blood pressure.

preload

pre·load

prēˈlōd

Noun

The stretching of the right ventricle to its capacity that happens prior to contraction

public access defibrillation

pub·lic ac·cess de·fib·ril·la·tion

/ˈpəblik ˈakˌses dēˌfibrəˈlāSHən/

Noun

Programs that have trained lay providers in public areas where sudden cardiac arrest is likely to occur

pulse

pulse

/puhls/

Noun

When the heart contracts, a “wave” or bolus of blood is sent out of the left ventricle and into the arterial system. As that bolus passes through a specific area of an artery, it momentarily expands to accommodate the wave. The artery then “snaps” back into its original size, propelling the wave into the next section, where the process repeats itself. You can feel this wave of blood by slightly compressing an artery in several places in the body against a hard surface like a bone.

red blood cell

red blood cell

/red bləd sel/

Noun

Red blood cells contain the pigment hemoglobin, which gives blood its red color, and is designed to carry oxygen. Each cell is shaped in a biconcave disc, and does not have a nucleus.

resting potential

rest·ing po·ten·tial

/rest ing pəˈziSHən/

Noun

An electrical charge, or polarity, across the cell membrane

return of spontaneous circulation

re·turn of spon·ta·ne·ous cir·cu·la·tion

/rəˈtərn of spänˈtānēəs ˌsərkyəˈlāSH(ə)n/

Noun

Sustained cardiac perfusion obtained after cardiac arrest (with or without ventilatory effort).

sinoartial node

si·no·ar·ti·al·node

/ˌsīnōˈātrēəl/

Noun

Also called the SA node, this is the heart’s primary pacemaker and sets the rate for most of the heart’s function.

sinus arrhythmia

si·nus ar·rhyth·mi·a

/ˈsīnəs āˈriT͟Hmēə/

Noun

A heart rhythm that slows down with each inspiration, then returns to normal

sudden cardiac arrest

sud·den car·di·ac ar·rest

/ˈsədn ˈkärdēˌak əˈrest/

Noun

Death from a cardiac event that occurs very quickly and within one hour from the onset of symptoms.

superior vena cava

su·pe·ri·or ve·na ca·va

/səˈpi(ə)rēər ˈvēnə ˈkävə/

Noun

The vein that returns blood to the heart from the head, chest and upper body. It empties into the right atrium.

systolic pressure

sys·tol·ic pres·sure

/si stol ik presh er/

Noun

The top number of a blood pressure reading, which represents the end of the ventricles’ contracting

tachycardia

tach·y·car·di·a

/ˌtakiˈkärdēə/

Noun

A heart rate above normal

therapeutic hypothermia

ther·a·peu·tic hy·po·ther·mi·a

/ˌTHerəˈpyo͞odik ˌhīpəˈTHərmēə/

Noun

A treatment that lowers the patient’s body temperature to 89.6°F (32°C) within 15 minutes of resuscitation. Lowering the body temperature reduces cerebral swelling and the metabolic demands of the brain

thrombus

throm·bus

/ˈTHrämbəs/

Noun

Blockage that is a result of a developing plaque in the artery

tributary

trib·u·tar·y

/trib yuh ter ee/

Noun

The smallest type of vein.

unstable angina

un·sta·ble an·gi·na

/ˌənˈstābəl anˈjīnə/

Noun

Acute pain that is characterized by an unpredictable or increasingly worse nature. These prolonged symptoms may occur at rest or with minimal exertion and may be a sign of impending occlusion of a coronary artery.

vagal response

va·gal re·sponse

/vey guhl ri-spons/

Noun

When the heart rate slows and blood pressure falls

vein

vein

/vān/

Noun

Any of the tubes in the vascular system that carry, in most cases, deoxygenated blood from the body to the heart. Additionally, valves inside the veins direct the blood flow in one direction, even when standing.

ventricular fibrillation

ven·tric·u·lar fi·bril·la·tion

/ven ˈtri kyə lər ˌfi brə ˈlā shən/

Noun

A type of dysrhythmia that produces a very rapid, disorganized firing of the myocardial cells

ventricular tachycardia

ven·tric·u·lar tachy·car·dia

/ven ˈtri kyə lər ˌta ki ˈkär dē ə/

Noun

A rapid and regular dysrhythmia that can result in poor cardiac output

white blood cell

white blood cell

/(h)wīt bləd sel/

Noun

White blood cells are colorless, and bring infection-fighting chemicals to sites of foreign substance and disease. There are several types of white blood cells, all ameboid with a nucleus, including lymphocytes, granulocytes, monocytes, and macrophages.