Atrial Fibrillation (A Fib) Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Atrial Fibrillation (A Fib) article.

Ablation: Removal or excision. Ablation is usually carried out surgically. For example, su...

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Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.

Adjacent: Lying nearby. Related terms include superjacent, subjacent, and circumjacent. Fr...

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Ambulatory: Able to walk about, not bedridden or immobile.

Anesthetic: A substance that causes lack of feeling or awareness, dulling pain to permit s...

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Angina: Chest pain due to an inadequate supply of oxygen to the heart muscle. The pain is ...

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Anticoagulant: An agent that is used to prevent the formation of blood clots. Anticoagulan...

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Arrhythmia: An abnormal heart rhythm.

Artery: A vessel that carries blood high in oxygen content away from the heart to the far...

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Artificial pacemaker: A device that uses electrical impulses to regulate the heart rhythm ...

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Aspirin: Once the Bayer trademark for acetylsalicylic acid, now the common name for this a...

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Atherosclerosis: A process of progressive thickening and hardening of the walls of medium-...

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Atria: The plural of atrium.

Atrial: Pertaining to the atria, the upper chambers of the heart, as in atrial fibrillatio...

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Atrial fibrillation: An abnormal and irregular heart rhythm in which electrical signals ar...

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Atrial flutter: Well-organized but overly rapid contractions of the atrium of the heart (u...

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Atrioventricular node: The electrical relay station between the upper and lower chambers o...

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Atrium: An entry chamber. On both sides of the heart, the atrium is the chamber that leads...

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AV node: Atrioventricular node.

Blood clot: A mass of coagulated blood. A blood clot can block a major blood vessel, causi...

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Blood clots: Blood that has been converted from a liquid to a solid state. Also called a t...

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Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is...

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Bradycardia: A slow heart rate, usually defined as less than 60 beats per minute.

Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It func...

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Bypass: An operation in which a new pathway is created for the transport of substances in ...

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CABG: Coronary artery bypass graft; and Coronary artery bypass grafting.

Caffeine: A stimulant compound found naturally in coffee, tea, cocoa (chocolate), and kola...

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Calcium: A mineral found mainly in the hard part of bones, where it is stored. Calcium is ...

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Cardiac: Having to do with the heart.

Cardiologist: A physician who specializes in treating heart disorders.

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Cardiomyopathy: Disease of the heart muscle (myocardium).

Cardioversion: The conversion of a cardiac rhythm or electrical pattern to another, genera...

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Catheter: A thin, flexible tube.

CBC: A commonly used abbreviation in medicine that stands for complete blood count, a set...

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Cell: The basic structural and functional unit of any living thing. Each cell is a small c...

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Chest: The area of the body located between the neck and the abdomen. The chest contains t...

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Chest pain: Pain in the chest that can be a result of many things, including angina, heart...

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Chest X-ray: A type of X-ray commonly used to detect abnormalities in the lungs. A chest X...

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Cholesterol: The most common type of steroid in the body. Cholesterol has a reputation for...

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Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months ...

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Clinical trial: A study that is intended to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of medic...

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Complication: In medicine, an unanticipated problem that arises following, and is a result...

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Congestive heart failure: Inability of the heart to keep up with the demands on it, with f...

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Contraction: The tightening and shortening of a muscle.

Coronary artery bypass graft: Abbreviated CABG. A form of bypass surgery that can create n...

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Coronary artery disease: Impedance or blockage of one or more arteries that supply blood t...

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Creatine: A compound the body synthesizes (makes) and then utilizes to store energy. The s...

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Creatinine: A chemical waste molecule that is generated from muscle metabolism. Creatinine...

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Defibrillation: The use of a carefully controlled electric shock, administered either thro...

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Defibrillator: A device that corrects an abnormal heart rhythm by delivering electrical sh...

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Diabetes: Refers to diabetes mellitus or, less often, to diabetes insipidus. Diabetes mell...

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Discharge: 1.The flow of fluid from part of the body, such as from the nose or vag...

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ECG: Electrocardiogram.

Electrocardiogram: A recording of the electrical activity of the heart. Abbreviated ECG an...

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Embolism: The obstruction of a blood vessel by a foreign substance or a blood clot that tr...

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Emergency department: The department of a hospital responsible for the provision of medica...

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Enoxaparin: A low-molecular-weight version of heparin that acts like heparin as an anticoa...

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Enzymes: Proteins that act as a catalysts in mediating and speeding a specific chemical re...

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Fatigue: A condition characterized by a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency ...

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FDA: Food and Drug Administration.

Fetus: An unborn offspring, from the embryo stage (the end of the eighth week after concep...

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Fiber: The parts of fruits and vegetables that cannot be digested. Fiber is of vital impor...

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Fibrillation: In cardiology, an abnormal and erratic twitching of the heart muscle.

Flutter: Flutter is a rapid vibration or pulsation. The difference between flutter and fib...

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Graft: Healthy skin, bone, kidney, liver, or other tissue that is taken from one part of t...

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Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. ...

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Heart attack: The death of heart muscle due to the loss of blood supply. The loss of bloo...

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Heart block: A blockage in the conduction of the normal electrical impulses in the heart. ...

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Heart disease: Any disorder that affects the heart. Sometimes the term "heart disease" is ...

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Heart failure: Inability of the heart to keep up with the demands on it and, specifically...

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Heart muscle: A type of muscle with unique features only found in the heart. The heart mus...

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Heart rate: The number of heartbeats per unit of time, usually per minute. The heart rate ...

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Heart rhythm disorders: Abnormal rhythm of the heartbeat due to irregularities in transmis...

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Heart valves: There are four heart valves. All are one-way valves. Blood entering the ...

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Heparin: An anticoagulant (anti-clotting) medication. Heparin is useful in preventing thro...

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Herbal: 1. An adjective, referring to herbs, as in an herbal tea.
2. A...

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High blood pressure: A repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg. Chro...

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Holter monitor: A type of portable heart monitor that is a small electrocardiogram (EKG) d...

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Hypertension: High blood pressure, defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceedi...

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Hypertrophy: Enlargement or overgrowth of an organ or part of the body due to the increase...

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Hypotension: Any blood pressure that is below the normal expected for an individual in a ...

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Implantation: The act of setting in firmly.

Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, an...

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Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a ...

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Injury: Harm or hurt. To harm, hurt, or wound. The word injure may be in physical or emot...

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International normalized ratio: A system established by the World Health Organization (WHO...

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Intervention: The act of intervening, interfering or interceding with the intent of modify...

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Ischemia: Inadequate blood supply to a local area due to blockage of blood vessels leading...

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Kidney: One of a pair of organs located in the right and left side of the abdomen. The kid...

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Left ventricle: The left lower chamber of the heart that receives blood from the left atri...

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Low blood pressure: Any blood pressure that is below the normal expected for an individua...

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Lungs: The lungs are a pair of breathing organs located with the chest which remove carbon...

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Medical history: 1. In clinical medicine, the patient's past and present which may ...

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Mouth: 1. The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and con...

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Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. T...

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Myocarditis: Inflammation of the myocardium, the heart muscle.

Natural pacemaker: The natural pacemaker of the heart is the sinus node, one of the major ...

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Node: Literally a knot, a node is a collection of tissue. For example a lymph node, is a ...

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Normal range: Characteristic of 95 percent of values from a normal population. The remaini...

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Onset: In medicine, the first appearance of the signs or symptoms of an illness as, for ex...

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Open heart surgery: Surgery in which the chest is opened and surgery is performed on the h...

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Oxygen: The odorless gas that is present in the air and necessary to maintain life. Oxygen...

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Pacemaker: A system that sends electrical impulses to the heart in order to set the hear...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Palpitations: Unpleasant sensations of irregular and/or forceful beating of the heart. In ...

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Pericarditis: Inflammation of the lining around the heart (the pericardium) that causes ch...

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Pharmacist: A professional who fills prescriptions and, in the case of a compounding pharm...

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Pneumonia: Inflammation of one or both lungs, with dense areas of lung inflammation. Pneum...

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Potassium: The major positive ion (cation) found inside cells. The chemical notation for p...

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Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. Thi...

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Prognosis: The forecast of the probable outcome or course of a disease; the patient's chan...

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Prothrombin: A coagulation (clotting) factor that is needed for the normal clotting of blo...

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Prothrombin time: A test that is done to gauge the integrity of part of the blood clotting...

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Pulmonary: Having to do with the lungs.

Pulmonary embolism: Sudden closure of a pulmonary artery or one of its branches, caused by...

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Pulse: The rhythmic dilation of an artery that results from beating of the heart. Pulse is...

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Radiofrequency ablation: The use of electrodes to generate heat and destroy abnormal tissu...

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Rehabilitation: The process of helping a person who has suffered an illness or injury rest...

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Right atrium: The right upper chamber of the heart. The right atrium receives deoxygenated...

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Right ventricle: The lower right chamber of the heart that receives deoxygenated blood fro...

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Rule out: Term used in medicine, meaning to eliminate or exclude something from considera...

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SA node: The SA node (SA stands for sinoatrial) is one of the major elements in the cardi...

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Sensation: In medicine and physiology, sensation refers to the registration of an incoming...

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Serum: The clear liquid that can be separated from clotted blood. Serum differs from plas...

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Shortness of breath: Difficulty in breathing. Medically referred to as dyspnea. Shortness ...

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Sick sinus syndrome: A condition that features symptoms including dizziness, confusion, fa...

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Sinoatrial node: The heart's natural pacemaker, one of the major elements in the cardiac c...

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Sinus: 1. An air-filled cavity in a dense portion of a skull bone. The sinuses decr...

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Sinus node: The sinus node is one of the major elements in the cardiac conduction system, ...

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Sinus rhythm: The normal regular rhythm of the heart set by the natural pacemaker of the h...

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Sinus tachycardia: Fast heartbeat (tachycardia) that occurs because of overly rapid firing...

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Sodium: The major positive ion (cation) in the fluid surrounding cells in the body. The ch...

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Stomach: The digestive organ that is located in the upper abdomen, under the ribs. The upp...

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Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional fact...

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Stroke: The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood...

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Subcutaneous: Under the skin. For example, a subcutaneous injection is an injection in whi...

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Supraventricular tachycardia: Abbreviated SVT. A regular, abnormally fast heart beat (tac...

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Surgery: The branch of medicine that employs operations in the treatment of disease or inj...

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Symptom: Any subjective evidence of disease. In contrast, a sign is objective. Blood comin...

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Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.

Tachycardia: A rapid heart rate, usually defined as greater than 100 beats per minute.

Tenormin: See: Atenolol.

Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.

Thrombin: An enzyme that presides over the conversion of a substance called fibrinogen to ...

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Thrombus: A clot in a blood vessel or within the heart.

Thyroid: 1. The thyroid gland. Also, pertaining to the thyroid gland. 2. A p...

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Ultrasound: High-frequency sound waves. Ultra-sound waves can be bounced off tissues by us...

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Ventricle: A chamber of an organ. For example, the four connected cavities in the central ...

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Ventricles: 1, The right ventricle and the left ventricle, the lower two chambers o...

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Ventricular: Pertaining to the ventricles, the lower chambers of the heart, as in ventricu...

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Ventricular tachycardia: An abnormal heart rhythm that is rapid and regular and that origi...

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Vessel: A tube in the body that carries fluids. Examples of vessels are blood vessels and ...

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Warfarin: An anticoagulant drug (brand names: Coumarin, Panwarfin, Sofarin) taken to prev...

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X-ray: High-energy radiation with waves shorter than those of visible light. X-ray is used...

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