Abdominal Aorta Repair – surgery to fix a widened part (or aneurysm) in the aorta, the large artery that carries blood to the belly, pelvis, and legs.
Angina – symptoms that occur when the heart muscle can’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. Often appears as pressure, tightness, aching, or pain in the chest, arm, neck, or jaw.
Angiogram – a test that produces images of a blood vessel – can be done by an X-ray, CT scan or MRI.
Angioplasty – a nonsurgical technique for treating diseased arteries by temporarily inflating a tiny balloon inside an artery.
Aorta – the body’s largest artery. It carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
Arrhythmia – an abnormal heartbeat.
Arteriogram – an imaging test that uses X-rays and a special dye to see inside the arteries.
Arteriosclerosis – when artery walls thicken and lose elasticity (sometimes called “hardening of the arteries”).
Artery – a blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the body.
Atherectomy – a minimally invasive procedure used to remove blockage from the coronary arteries and allow more blood to flow to the heart muscle.
Atherosclerosis – the buildup of plaque within artery walls.
Atria (singular: atrium) – the heart’s two upper chambers. They receive blood from the lungs and body.
Automated Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (AICD) – a device that is implanted in the chest to monitor and, if necessary, corrects episodes of rapid heartbeat.
Blood (serum) cholesterol – a fatty substance produced by the body and carried in the blood. Can build up within artery walls as plaque.
Blood clot – a jelly-like mass of blood tissue formed by clotting factors in the blood. Clots stop the flow of blood from an injury. Clots can also form inside an artery when the artery's walls are damaged by atherosclerotic buildup, possibly causing a heart attack or stroke.
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 the 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 catheterization – a procedure that involves inserting a fine, hollow tube (catheter) into an artery, usually in the groin area, and passing the tube into the heart. Often used along with angiography and other procedures, cardiac catheterization has become a primary tool for visualizing the heart and blood vessels and diagnosing and treating heart disease.
Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Defibrillator (CRTD) – protects patients with heart disease from sudden cardiac death from abnormal heart beats while improving the pumping action of the heart for patients with heart damage.
Cardiomyopathy – weakening of, or structural change in, the heart muscle that reduces the heart’s ability to pump.
Carotid artery – a major artery (right and left) in the neck supplying blood to the brain.
Catheter – a long, thin, flexible plastic tube.
Cerebral embolism – a blood clot formed in one part of the body and then carried by the bloodstream to the brain, where it blocks an artery.
Cerebral hemorrhage – bleeding within the brain resulting from a ruptured blood vessel, aneurysm, or head injury.
Cerebral thrombosis – formation of a blood clot in an artery that supplies part of the brain.
Cerebrovascular – pertaining to the blood vessels of the brain.
Cerebrovascular accident – also called cerebral vascular accident, apoplexy, or stroke. Blood supply to some part of the brain is slowed or stopped, resulting in injury to brain tissue.
Cerebrovascular occlusion – the blocking or closing of a blood vessel in the brain.
Claudication – a tiredness or pain in the arms and legs caused by an inadequate supply of oxygen to the muscles, usually due to narrowed arteries.
Congestive heart failure – a condition in which the heart cannot pump all the blood returning to it, leading to a backup of blood in the vessels and an accumulation of fluid in the body's tissues, including the lungs.
Coronary arteries – blood vessels that wrap around the heart and supply the heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) – a narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. The condition results from a buildup of plaque and greatly increases the risk of a heart attack.
Deep vein thrombosis – 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.
Dialysis Catheter/Port – Dialysis catheters have an opening (arterial port) for blood flow out of the body and another opening (venous port) for blood return after it flows through the dialysis machine. These catheters are usually inserted in the chest or neck, and a port is accessible on the skin surface to access the catheter.
Diastolic pressure – the pressure of blood against the inside of artery walls between heartbeats. Appears as the bottom number in a blood pressure measurement.
Diabetes mellitus – a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from defects in the body's ability to produce and/or use insulin. Symptoms of diabetes vary depending on the type of diabetes you have.
Ejection fraction (EF) – a measurement of blood that is pumped out of a filled ventricle. The normal rate is 50% or more.
Electrocardiogram – a test that records the way electrical signals move through the heart. Often called an ECG or EKG.
Endarterectomy – a surgical procedure used to remove plaque from the carotid arteries.
Endovascular Aneurysm Repair (EVAR) – a minimally invasive procedure where small incisions are made in the groin area and small catheters are threaded through in order to reach and repair an aneurysm.
Endovascular Therapy – any procedure performed by working inside a blood vessel. The most common are angioplasty, stenting and endovascular aneurysm repair.
Endovenous Ablation – using ultrasound to “see” the vein, a small catheter is inserted through a small needle puncture into one of the superficial veins of the leg. Subsequently, either laser (laser ablation) or radiofrequency is applied to the vein, which results in closing of the vein.
Femoral Popliteal Bypass Surgery (Fem Pop) – reroutes the blood supply around a blocked artery in one of the legs.
Heart attack – an event that occurs when oxygen-rich blood can’t get to part of the heart muscle. Can cause permanent damage.
High blood pressure – a chronic increase in blood pressure above its normal range.
High cholesterol – cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the body. Having high "bad" cholesterol means there is too much LDL cholesterol in the blood. LDL cholesterol can build up in the arteries and prevent blood from getting to the heart.
Holter Monitor – a machine that continuously records the heart's rhythms.
Hypertension – another word for “high blood pressure.”
Infarct – the area of heart tissue permanently damaged by an inadequate supply of oxygen.
Ischemia – decreased blood flow to an organ, usually due to constriction or obstruction of an artery.
Lumen – the hollow area within a tube, such as a blood vessel.
Myocardial infarction – death of heart muscle tissue (also known as a heart attack).
Open (conventional) aneurysm repair – the surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen or chest and then replaces the diseased aorta (the aneurysm) with an artificial graft that is sewn in place.
Pacemaker – a small device that's placed in the chest or abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms.
Plaque – a deposit of fatty material (including cholesterol) within artery walls.
Pulmonary artery – the large artery that carries blood from the heart to the lungs to get oxygen.
Restenosis – the re-closing or re-narrowing of an artery after an interventional procedure such as angioplasty or stent placement.
Risk factor – an element or condition involving a certain hazard or danger. When referring to heart and blood vessels, a risk factor is associated with an increased chance of developing cardiovascular disease, including stroke.
Sheath – a catheter-like tube that is placed inside a patient's vessel during an interventional procedure to help the doctor with insertion and proper placement of the actual catheter. Also called an introducer sheath.
Stenosis – the narrowing of an artery, often caused by plaque buildup.
Stent – an expandable metal tube that supports the vessel wall and maintains blood flow through the opened vessel.
Stress Test – a test that records the heart’s electrical activity while the patient exercises. May show whether parts of the heart muscle have been damaged due to insufficient oxygen flow to the heart.
Stroke – a sudden disruption of blood flow to the brain, either by a clot or a leak in a blood vessel.
Surgical vein stripping – a small groin incision is made through which a catheter is inserted into the vein. The catheter is then pulled out, resulting in “stripping” of the vein. This is usually combined with removal of the varicose veins through small incisions.
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.
Tachycardia – accelerated beating of the heart. Paroxysmal tachycardia is a particular form of rapid heart action, occurring in seizures that may last from a few seconds to several days.
Thrombectomy – surgery used to remove a clot that blocks blood flow in one of two veins through which blood leaves the intestine.
Thrombolytic therapy – injection of a clot-dissolving drug into the artery at the point of the clot to break it up.
Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs) – “warning strokes” that produce stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. TIAs are strong predictors of stroke.
Ultrasound – a test that uses sound waves to create images of structures inside the body.
Valves – “doorways” that open and close to let blood move and prevent backflow of blood. There are valves between the heart’s chambers.
Vascular Ultrasound – uses sound waves to provide pictures of the body’s veins and arteries.
Vein – a blood vessel that carries blood from the body back to the heart.
Ventricles – the heart’s two lower chambers. They pump blood to the body and lungs.