Heart Disease Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Heart Disease article.

Abdomen: The belly, that part of the body that contains all of the structures between the...

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Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of ...

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Abdominal pain: Pain in the belly. Abdominal pain can be acute or chronic. It may reflect ...

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

Adenosine: A nucleoside containing adenine as its base. Adenosine acts to dilate the coron...

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Alcohol abuse: Use of alcoholic beverages to excess, either on individual occasions (binge...

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

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Angiogram: An X-ray image of blood vessels. The vessels can be seen because a contrast dye...

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Angiography: A procedure performed to view blood vessels after injecting them with a radio...

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Angioplasty: Procedure with a balloon-tipped catheter to enlarge a narrowing in a coronary...

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Anterior: The front, as opposed to the posterior. The anterior surface of the heart is tow...

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Arms: An appendage in anatomy and in clinical trials. See: Arm.

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

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

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Atherectomy: A procedure to remove plaque (atheroma) from the inside of a blood vessel. At...

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

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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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Back pain: Pain felt in the low or upper back. Causes of pain in the low and upper back in...

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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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Blood sugar: Blood glucose. See also: High blood sugar; Low blood sugar.

Breathing: The process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through ...

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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.

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

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Calorie: A unit of food energy. The word calorie is ordinarily used instead of the more pr...

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Cardiac: Having to do with the heart.

Cardiologist: A physician who specializes in treating heart disorders.

Cardiovascular: Relating to the circulatory system, which comprises the heart and blood ve...

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Catheter: A thin, flexible tube.

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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Chewing tobacco: Tobacco that is chewed, not smoked. A form of smokeless tobacco.

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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Circumflex: Curved like a bow. In anatomy, circumflex describes a structure that bends aro...

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

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Clinical trials: Trials to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of medications or medical...

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Computed tomography: An x-ray procedure that uses the help of a computer to produce a deta...

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Congestion: An abnormal or excessive accumulation of a body fluid. The term is used broadl...

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Contraction: The tightening and shortening of a muscle.

Coronary angiography: The most accurate method (the "gold standard") for evaluating and de...

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Coronary arteries: The vessels that supply the heart muscle with blood rich in oxygen. The...

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

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Coronary bypass: A bypass of a plaque within a coronary artery using part of a vein as a g...

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CT scan: Computed tomography scan. Detailed images of internal organs are obtained by this...

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Cure: 1. To heal, to make well, to restore to good health. 2. A time withou...

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Diabetes: Usually refers to diabetes mellitus or, less often, to diabetes insipidus. Diabe...

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

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Dilate: To stretch or enlarge. Also known as dilatate.

Dilating: The widening and opening of an opening, such as the cervix or esophagus. For exa...

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Dizziness: Painless head discomfort with many possible causes including disturbances of ...

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Dysfunction: Difficult function or abnormal function.

ECG: Electrocardiogram.

Echocardiography: Echocardiography is a diagnostic test which uses ultrasound waves to mak...

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

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

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Enzyme: Proteins that speeds up the rate of a chemical reaction in a living organism. An e...

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

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Erectile dysfunction: A consistent inability to sustain an erection sufficient for sexual ...

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Essential: In medicine, of unknown cause, as in essential hypertension (high blood pressur...

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Family history: The family structure and relationships within the family, including inform...

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Fats: Plural of the word "fat". See the definition of fat.

Fatty acids: Molecules that are long chains of lipid-carboxylic acid found in fats and oil...

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Femoral: Having to do with the femur.

Femoral artery: The continuation of the external iliac artery after it passes under the in...

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Garlic: A perennial herb of the lily family cultivated for its pungent, edible bulbs. Garl...

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Groin: The area where the thigh meets the hip.

HDL: High density lipoprotein.

HDL cholesterol: High density lipoprotein cholesterol. Lipoproteins, which are combination...

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

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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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Heartburn: An uncomfortable feeling of burning and warmth occurring in waves rising up be...

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Heredity: The genetic transmission of characteristics from parent to child.

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

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Hormone: A chemical substance produced in the body that controls and regulates the activit...

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

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Incision: A cut through skin or other tissue performed by a health care professional.

Infarction: The formation of an infarct, an area of tissue death, due to a local lack of o...

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Iodine: An element in the diet that is essential for the manufacture of hormones by the th...

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

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Jaw: The movable junction of the bones below the mouth (the mandible) and the bone just ab...

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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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Laboratory: A place for doing tests and research procedures, and for preparing chemicals a...

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Laser: A powerful beam of light that is used in some types of surgery to cut or destroy ti...

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Lateral: 1. In anatomy, the side of the body or a body part that is farther from th...

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LDL cholesterol: Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, commonly referred to as 'bad' choles...

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Left atrium: The upper right chamber of the heart. The left atrium receives oxygenated blo...

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

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Leg: In popular usage, the part of the body from the top of the thigh down to the foot, an...

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Lipid: Another word for "fat." (Please see the various meanings of fat.) A lipid is chemic...

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Lipids: Another word for "fats." (Please see the various meanings of Fat.) Lipids can be m...

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Lipitor: See: Atorvastatin.

Lipoprotein: A molecule that is a combination of lipid and protein. Lipids do not travel i...

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Liver: The largest solid organ in the body, situated in the upper part of the abdomen on t...

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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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Menopause: The time in a woman's life when menstrual periods permanently stop; it is also ...

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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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Myocardial infarction: A heart attack. Abbreviated MI.

Myocardium: The heart muscle.

National Cholesterol Education Program: NCEP. A program designed to reduce illness and dea...

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Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, in...

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NCEP: The National Cholesterol Education Program. See: National Cholesterol Education Prog...

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NHLBI: Stands for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, one of the National Insti...

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Obesity: The state of being well above one's normal weight.

Obstruction: Blockage of a passageway. See, for example: Airway obstruction; Intestinal o...

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Off-pump: Not on the pump, usually meaning not on the heart-lung machine. See also: Off-pu...

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Omega-3 fatty acids: A class of essential fatty acids found in fish oils, especially from ...

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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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Operation: In medicine, a surgical procedure. Many operations are named after persons. The...

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Outpatient: A patient who is not hospitalized, but instead comes to a physician?s office, ...

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Overweight: The term "overweight" is used in two different ways. In one sense it is a way ...

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

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Oxygenation: The addition of oxygen to any system, including the human body. Oxygenation m...

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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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Passive smoking: Inhalation of smoke that comes from someone else smoking. Passive smoking...

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Percutaneous: Through the skin. For example, a percutaneous biopsy is a biopsy that is obt...

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Plaque:1. An semi-hardened accumulation of substances from fluids that bathe an are...

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Primary care: A patient's main source for regular medical care, ideally providing continui...

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Primary care provider: In insurance parlance, a physician who is chosen by or assigned to ...

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Progressive: Increasing in scope or severity, advancing, or going forward. For example, a ...

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PTCA: Percutaneous transluminal coronary 'angioplasty.

Radial: A word with diverse meanings in medicine and the biomedical sciences:

  1. Pe...

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Radioactive: Emitting energy waves due to decaying atomic nuclei. Radioactive substances a...

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Radioactive tracer: A radioactive molecule that can be sent through the body's circulatory...

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Radionuclide: An unstable form of a chemical element that radioactively decays, resulting ...

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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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Risk factor: Something that increases a person's chances of developing a disease. For exam...

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

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Saphenous vein: The saphenous veins -- there are two, the great and the small saphenous ve...

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Scaffold: 1. In genetics, the chromosome structure consisting entirely of nonhiston...

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Scan: As a noun, the data or image obtained from the examination of organs or regions of...

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

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

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Shoulder: A structure made up of two main bones: the scapula (shoulder blade) and the hume...

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Sore: 1. (adjective) A popular term for painful, such as a sore throat. 2. (...

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SPECT: An acronym that stands for Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography, a nuclear me...

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Statins: A class of drugs that lower cholesterol.

Stenosis: A narrowing. For example, aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aortic valve in ...

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Stent: A tube designed to be inserted into a vessel or passageway to keep it open. Stents ...

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Strain: 1. An injury to a tendon or muscle resulting from overuse or trauma. 2. A heredita...

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

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Stress echocardiography: A supplement to the routine exercise cardiac stress test. During ...

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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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Substance: 1. Material with particular features.
2. The material that...

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Sudden cardiac arrest: A medical emergency with absent or inadequate contraction of the le...

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Surgeon: A physician who treats disease, injury, or deformity via operative or manual meth...

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

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Sweating: The act of secreting fluid from the skin by the sweat (sudoriferous) glands. The...

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

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Therapeutic: Relating to therapeutics, the branch of medicine that is concerned specifical...

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

TMR: Stands for transmyocardial laser revascularization, a procedure by which a physician ...

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Tobacco: A South American herb (Nicotiana tabacum) whose leaves contain 2 to 8 percent nic...

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Tomography: The process for generating a tomogram, a two-dimensional image of a slice or s...

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Tongue: A strong muscle that is anchored to the floor of the mouth. The tongue is covered ...

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Tooth: One of the structures within the mouth that allow for biting and chewing. Teeth hav...

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Transmyocardial laser revascularization: A procedure by which a physician uses a laser to...

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Treadmill: A machine with a moving strip on which one walks without moving forward. A trea...

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Triglycerides: The major form of fat stored by the body. A triglyceride consists of three ...

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Vein: A blood vessel that carries blood that is low in oxygen content from the body back t...

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

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

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

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Vitamins: The word "vitamin" was coined in 1911 by the Warsaw-born biochemist Casimir Funk...

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Weight loss: Weight loss is a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary (die...

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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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Yogurt: A dairy product made by fermented milk with one or more bacterial cultures. It has...

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