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Cardiovascular Glossary

Angina: Pain or discomfort associated with coronary artery disease. This can be located in the chest, arms, back or shoulders and occurs when the heart muscle doesn't receive enough blood or oxygen.

Artery: A blood vessel that carries oxygen rich blood from the heart to other parts of the body.

Atrial Fibrillation: An abnormal rhythm that occurs when the atria (the upper chambers of the heart) are no longer beating, but are merely quivering ineffectively. Atrial fibrillation is usually the result of some underlying heart disease.

Atherosclerosis: A disease of the blood vessels which occurs when flow of the blood to the heart is restricted due to plaque build-up and damage in the arteries.

Atrium: One of the upper chambers of the heart which blood passes through before going to the ventricles. (plural: atria)

CABG: ("Cabbage") Coronary Artery Bypass Graft. Surgery used to restore blood flow to the heart by "bypassing" the blocked vessel with an artery or vein taken from another part of the body.

Cardiac: Pertaining to the heart.

Cardiac Arrest: When the heart stops.

Cardiac Catheterization or "heart cath": A diagnostic procedure used to view the arteries around the heart through the use of contrast dye injected into the coronary arteries.

Cardiovascular: Pertaining to the heart and the blood vessels in the body.

Cardio  or CVD: A group of diseases including heart disease, stroke and coronary artery disease.

Coronary Arteries: Arteries that feed blood to the heart muscle.

Coronary Artery Disease:  Narrowing of the blood vessels that bring blood and oxygen to the heart muscle.

Heart Attack: Injury to the heart muscle caused by sudden blockage of an artery feeding blood to the heart. Also called "myocardial infarction".

Interventional Procedure: Any cardiac procedure performed in a cath lab to restore blood flow to the heart. Examples: angioplasty, percutaneous coronary intervention, stent placement.

Ischemia: Decreased blood flow to an organ. This usually occurs when an artery becomes narrowed or blocked.

Myocardial Infarction or MI: Medical term used for heart attack.

Plaque: A build up of fat, cholesterol or other materials on the lining of the artery.

Stenosis: Narrowing of a blood vessel.

Vascular: Pertaining to the blood vessels.

Vein:  A blood vessel that carries oxygen poor blood from the body to the heart.

Ventricle: One of the two lower chambers of the heart.

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