Heart Attack Glossary of Terms

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

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

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Acute: Of abrupt onset, in reference to a disease. Acute often also connotes an illness th...

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Acute myocardial infarction: A heart attack.

Adrenaline: A stress hormone produced within the adrenal gland that quickens the heart bea...

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Analysis: In psychology, a term for conversation-based therapeutic processes used to gain ...

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Anemia: The condition of having a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells or quantity ...

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

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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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Aorta: The largest artery in the body, the aorta arises from the left ventricle of the he...

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Aortic: Pertaining to the aorta, the largest artery in the body.

Aortic dissection: A progressive tear in the aorta. The inner lining (intima) of the aorta...

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

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Atherosclerotic: Pertaining to atherosclerosis, the process of progressive thickening and ...

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Atypical: Unusual, or not fitting a single diagnostic
category.

Automated external defibrillator: A device that automatically analyzes the heart rhythm an...

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Beta blocker: A class of drugs that block the effect of beta-adrenergic substances such as...

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

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

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Brachial artery: The artery that runs from the shoulder down to the elbow.

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

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CAD: Coronary artery disease.

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

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Carbon monoxide poisoning: A potentially deadly condition caused by breathing carbon monox...

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Cardiac: Having to do with the heart.

Cardiopulmonary: Having to do with both the heart and lungs.

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Cardiopulmonary resuscitation: A life-saving emergency procedure that involves breathing f...

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Cerebrovascular: Pertaining to the blood vessels and, especially, the arteries that supply...

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

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Cocaine: A substance derived from the leaves of the coca plant that is a bitter, addictive...

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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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CPR: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Cyanide: Poisoning with cyanide, a rapidly acting, potentially deadly chemical that can ex...

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

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

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Dissection: The process of cutting apart or separating tissue as, for example, in the stud...

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ECG: Electrocardiogram.

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

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Edema: The swelling of soft tissues as a result of excess fluid accumulation. Edema is oft...

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Ejection fraction: The percentage of blood that is pumped out of a filled ventricle as a r...

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Elbow: The juncture of the long bones in the middle portion of the upper extremity. The bo...

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

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Embolus: A blockage or plug that obstructs a blood 'vessel. Examples of emboli are detache...

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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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Esophagitis: Inflammation of the esophagus.

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

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Fasting: : going without food or drink. Patients may be advised to fast for a certain peri...

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

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

Gallbladder: A pear-shaped organ located below the liver that stores the bile secreted by ...

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Gastritis: Inflammation of the stomach.

Genetics: The scientific study of heredity. Genetics pertains to humans and all other orga...

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GERD: Gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Groin: The area where the thigh meets the hip.

HDL: High density lipoprotein.

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

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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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Hypercholesterolemia: High blood cholesterol. This can be sporadic (occurring with no fami...

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

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

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

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Inferior: In anatomy, below or toward the feet. As opposed to superior. The liver is infer...

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

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

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Lipid profile: A pattern of lipids in the blood. A lipid profile usually includes the leve...

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

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Lipoproteins: Complexes of lipid and protein, the way lipids travel in the blood.

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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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Metabolism: The whole range of biochemical processes that occur within a living organism. ...

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Morphine: A powerful narcotic agent that has strong analgesic (pain relief) action and oth...

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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.

Myoglobin: The pigment in muscle that carries oxygen.

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

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Neck: The part of the body joining the head to the shoulders. Also, any narrow or constric...

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

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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Pancreas: A spongy, tube-shaped organ that is about 6 inches long and is located in the ba...

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Peripheral: Situated away from the center, as opposed to centrally located.

Peripheral vascular disease: A disease of blood vessels outside the heart. Peripheral vasc...

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

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

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Poisoning: Taking a substance that is injurious to health or can cause death. Poisoning i...

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Polygenic: Pertaining to two or more genes. As opposed to monogenic.

Prinzmetal angina: See: Angina, Prinzmetal.

Pulmonary: Having to do with the lungs.

Pulmonary embolus: A blood clot or foreign material that has been carried through the bloo...

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

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Radiate: To spread out from a central area. For example, sciatic pain may radiate outward ...

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Radiation: 1. Rays of energy. Gamma rays and X-rays are two of the types of energy ...

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Red blood cells: The blood cells that carry oxygen. Red cells contain hemoglobin and it is...

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Reflux: The term used when liquid backs up into the esophagus from the stomach.

Respiratory: Having to do with respiration.

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Respiratory failure: Inability of the lungs to perform their basic task of gas exchange, t...

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Resuscitation: The procedure of restoring to life, as in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CP...

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

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Rupture: A break or tear in any organ (such as the spleen) or soft tissue (such as the ach...

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Saturated fat: A fat that contains only saturated fatty acids, is solid at room temperatur...

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

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Shock: In medicine, a critical condition that is brought on by a sudden drop in blood flow...

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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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Spasm: A brief, automatic jerking movement. A muscle spasm can be quite painful, with the ...

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Statins: A class of drugs that lower cholesterol.

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

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Stethoscope: An instrument that is used to transmit low-volume sounds such as a heartbeat ...

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

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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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Tear: A drop of the salty secretion of the lacrimal glands which serves to moisten the con...

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

Tissue plasminogen activator: (tPA) An enzyme that helps dissolve clots. tPA is made by th...

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tPA: See: Tissue plasminogen activator.

Trauma: A physical or emotional injury.

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

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Tubes: The "tubes" are medically known as the Fallopian tubes. There are two Fallopian tub...

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Ulcer: A lesion that is eroding away the skin or mucous membrane. Ulcers can have various ...

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Vascular: Relating to blood vessels. For example, the vascular system in the body includes...

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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 fibrillation: An abnormal and irregular heart rhythm in which there are rapid ...

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

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Wasting: 1. Gradual loss (for example, of weight), deterioration, emaciation. As in...

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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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