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What does it mean?

The following is a list of explanations of the words used to discuss or describe heart illness:

 

Click on a letter to jump down the page

A B C D H I M O P R S T V


A

ACS Acute Coronary Syndrome

Medical term for conditions associated with possible or actual heart damage due to restricted Blood supply to the Myocardium.

Includes unstable Angina and Heart Attack

Angina

Chest pain or Dyspnoea caused by lack of Blood flow to the Heart

Angiogram

X-ray examination of the Heart which is used to assess blockages in the Coronary Arteries

Angioplasty

Procedure which involves stretching narrowed areas of Coronary Arteries to improve the Blood flow, also called PCI or PTCA. Can be performed at the same time as Angiogram

ACE Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitor

Drugs that reduce Blood Pressure and improve the efficiency of the Heart

Anti-arrhythmic

Drugs given to treat Arrhythmias

Anticoagulant

Blood thinning drug

Antiplatelet

Blood thinning drug

Arrhythmia

Medical term for all irregular Heart Rhythms

Atheroma

Build-up of fatty deposits in the Blood Vessels which restricts Blood flow

Atherosclerosis

The process of the Arteries hardening and narrowing due to the build-up of Atheroma

Atria

Two atria are the top chambers of the Heart

AF Atrial Fibrillation

Irregular Heart Rhythm

ASD Atrial Septal Defect

Small hole in the top part of the Heart

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B

B-B Beta-Blocker

Drugs that reduce Blood Pressure and control the Heart Rate and Rhythm

BP Blood Pressure

Measurement of the pressure within the Arteries

Bradycardia

When the Heart Rate (HR) is slow (< 60 beats per minute)

BNP Brain Natriuretic Peptide

Blood enzyme which can be measured to diagnose Heart Failure (HF)

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C

Cardiac

Medical term for all things to do with the Heart

Cardiac Arrest

Emergency where the Heart stops beating

Cardiac Enzymes

A Blood test to diagnose a Heart Attack

Cardiology

Branch of medicine which deals with the treatment of Heart disease

Cardiomyopathy

Disease of the Heart muscle which affects the Heart’s ability to pump Blood around the body

CVD Cardiovascular Disease

Disease affecting the Heart and Blood vessels

CVS Cardiovascular System

Describes the Heart and all the Blood Vessels in the body

CVP Central Venous Pressure

A measure of the pressure in the right Atrium

Cholesterol

Fat which leads to fatty deposits in the Arteries

CHF Chronic Heart Failure

Medical term used when the Heart muscle is weakened and less efficient at pumping Blood around the body

CA Coronary Artery

Blood vessel which supplies Blood to the tissues of the Heart

CABG Coronary Artery Bypass Graft

Surgical treatment for severe Coronary Artery Disease

CAD Coronary Artery Disease

Narrowing of the Coronary Arteries which supply Blood to the Heart

CCU Coronary Care Unit

Specialist unit of a hospital where you would be taken with an emergency Heart problem

CHD Coronary Heart Disease

Narrowing of the Coronary Arteries which supply Blood to the Heart

CK Creatinine Kinase

A Cardiac Enzyme used to diagnose a Heart Attack

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D

Defibrillator

Machine used to deliver an electric shock to the Heart to correct abnormal fast Heart Rhythm

Diuretic

Drugs that remove excess fluid from the body by increasing urine volume. Used to lower Blood Pressure and ease the workload of the Heart

ECHO Echocardiography

Ultrasound scan which looks at the structure and movement of the Heart muscle

ECG Electrocardiogram

Test which gives a recording of the electrical activity of the Heart in the form of a graph

ETT Electrocardiogram Treadmill Test

A type of ECG, which records the activity of the Heart as you make it work harder i.e. by walking and talking on a treadmill.

Also called ‘Exercise ECG’

EP Studies Electrophysiological Studies

A detailed look at the Heart Rhythm

Embolism

Blockage in a Blood Vessel due to a Blood clot or an air bubble Heart Muscular organ which pumps Blood around the body, its Rate and Rhythm are controlled by electrical conduction

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H

Heart Attack

Blockage in a Coronary Artery, requires emergency treatment in hospital

HB Heart Block

Interruption of the electrical pathway causing a slowing of the Heart Rate

HF Heart Failure

Condition when the Heart muscle is weakened and less efficient at pumping Blood around the body

HM Heart Manual

A manual given to some patients which details their rehabilitation programme after Heart illness

HR Heart Rate

The speed at which the Heart is beating per minute

Heart Rhythm

The pattern of the heartbeats. The Heart should beat regularly with an even space between each heartbeat

Heart Transplant

Operation which involves replacing diseased Heart with the healthy Heart of a donor

HBP High Blood Pressure

When the pressure within the Arteries is too high

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I

ICD Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator

A device which is put inside the chest to deliver an electric shock to the Heart to correct Ventricular Tachycardia (VT) or Ventricular Fibrillation (VF)

Infarct

Area of tissue damaged by lack of Blood and Oxygen IHD Ischaemic Heart Disease Narrowing of the Coronary Arteries which supply Blood to the Heart. Also called Coronary Heart Disease

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M

MI Myocardial Infarction

Medical term for a Heart Attack

Myocardium

The Heart muscle

NSTEMI Non-ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction

A classification of a Heart Attack according to ECG readings. Requires early Angiogram to decide on appropriate treatment pathway

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O

ORS Optimal Reperfusion Service

A service which ensures that suitable Heart Attack patients are admitted directly to a specialist centre that provides Percutaneous Coronary Intervention

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P

Pacemaker

Small electrical device implanted surgically to correct an abnormal Heart Rhythm

Palpitation

Short bursts of a fast Heart Rhythm

PCI Percutaneous Coronary Intervention

Procedure which involves stretching narrowed areas of Coronary Arteries to improve the Blood flow, also called Angioplasty or Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA)

PTCA Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty

Procedure which involves stretching narrowed areas of Coronary Arteries to improve the Blood flow, also called PCI or Angioplasty

PHT Pre-Hospital Thrombolysis

Thrombolysis which is given by the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) en route to hospital

Primary Angioplasty

When Angioplasty is undertaken as the first treatment for a Heart Attack

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R

RACP(s) Rapid Access Chest Pain Service

System of referral from Primary Care to Secondary Care for the assessment of chest pain

Reperfusion

Term used to describe restoration of Blood flow to an organ or tissue

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S

Septum

The area of the Heart which divides the Atria and Ventricles

Statin

Generic name for Cholesterol lowering drug

STEMI S-T Elevation Myocardial Infarction

A classification of a Heart Attack according to ECG readings. Requires immediate emergency treatment to minimise damage to Heart muscle

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T

Tachycardia

When the Heart Rate (HR) is fast (>100 beats per minute)

Thrombolysis

A ‘clot busting’ drug used to dissolve a clot which is causing a Heart Attack

Thrombosis

Medical term for a blockage in a Blood Vessel due to a clot

TOE Transoesophageal Echocardiography

A type of ultrasound which produces pictures of the Heart viewed from the oesophagus (gullet)

Tn I/T Troponin I/T

A Cardiac Enzyme used to diagnose a Heart Attack

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V

Valve

Four Heart Valves control the flow of Blood into and out of the Heart

VF Ventricular Fibrillation

Life threatening irregular Heart Rhythm

VSD Ventricular Septal Defect

Small hole in the bottom part of the Heart

VT Ventricular Tachycardia

Irregular Heart Rhythm (can be life threatening)

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