Palpitations Glossary of Terms

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

Ablate: To remove. A tumor may be ablated. To ablate the thyroid gland is to remove it. Th...

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

Acetylcholine: A neurotransmitter released by nerves that is essential for communication b...

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

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

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Amphetamine: A drug that has a stimulant effect on the central nervous system that can be ...

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

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Anesthesia: Loss of feeling or awareness, as when an anesthetic is administered before sur...

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

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Asthma: A common lung disorder in which inflammation causes the bronchi to swell and narro...

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Asymptomatic: Without symptoms. For example, an asymptomatic infection is an infection wit...

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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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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 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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Bowel: The small and large intestine.

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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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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Circulation: In medicine, the movement of fluid through the body in a regular or circuitou...

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

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Contraction: The tightening and shortening of a muscle.

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

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

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

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ECG: Electrocardiogram.

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

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Electrolyte: A substance that dissociates into ions in solution and acquires the capacity ...

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Enlarged thyroid: see goiter.

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

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

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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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Gland: A group of cells that secrete a substance for use in the body. For example, the thy...

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Goiter: A noncancerous enlargement of the thyroid gland. With a goiter, the levels of thyr...

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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 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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Hemoglobin: The oxygen-carrying pigment and predominant protein in the red blood cells. He...

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

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

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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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Lightheadedness: A feeling you are "going to faint." Lightheadedness is medically distinc...

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Longevity: Lifespan. Increased longevity means a longer life.

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

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Magnesium: A mineral involved in many processes in the body including nerve signaling, the...

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Marijuana: A common street and recreational drug that comes from the marijuana plant: the ...

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

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

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Mitral valve: A valve in the heart that is situated between the left atrium and the left v...

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Mitral valve prolapse: A common heart valve anomaly affecting 5'10 percent of people that ...

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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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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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Nerve: A bundle of fibers that uses electrical and chemical signals to transmit sensory an...

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

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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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PCP: Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia.

Physiologic: Something that is normal, that is due neither to anything pathologic nor sign...

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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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Pregnant: The state of carrying a developing fetus within the body.

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Prescription: A physician's order for the preparation and administration of a drug or dev...

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

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

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PVC: Premature ventricular contraction.

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

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

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Stage: As regards cancer, the extent of a cancer, especially whether the disease has spre...

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

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

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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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Syncope: Partial or complete loss of consciousness with interruption of awareness of one...

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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.

Throat: The throat is the anterior (front) portion of the neck beginning at the back of th...

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

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Thyroid gland: A gland that makes and stores hormones that help regulate the heart rate, b...

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

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Trauma: A physical or emotional injury.

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

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Uterus: A hollow, pear-shaped organ that is located in a woman's lower abdomen, between th...

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Vagus nerve: A nerve that supplies nerve fibers to the pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box...

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

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Vital: Necessary to maintain life. For example, breathing is a vital function.

WPW syndrome: Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.

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Medical Dictionary