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Cardiac

Cardiac terminology

TermDefinition
action potential an electrical impulse that is created by a change in polarity of cells
afterload the peripheral resistance against which the left ventricle must pump
arterial BP a measure of the pressure exerted by blood against the walls of the arterial system
cardiac output (CO) the amount of blood pumped by each ventricle in one minute; calculated as the stroke volume multiplied by the heart rate for one minute
cardiac reserve the ability to respond to demands (exercise, stress, hypovolemia) by altering cardiac output threefold or fourfold
diastole ventricular relaxation
diastolic BP the residual pressure of the arterial system during ventricular relaxation
mean arterial pressure (MAP) a calculated average of systolic and diastolic blood pressures; calculated by adding the diastolic pressure to one third of the pulse pressure
murmurs sounds produced by turbulent blood flow through the heart or the walls of large arteries
preload the volume of blood in the ventricles at the end of diastole before the next contraction
pulse pressure the difference between the systolic and diastolic pressures
systole contraction of myocardium
systolic BP the peak pressure exerted against the arteries when the heart contracts
cardiomegaly enlargement of the heart
cardiomyopathy term used to describe a group of heart muscle diseases that primarily affect the structural or functional ability of the myocardium
congestive heart failure (CHF) cardiovascular condition in which the heart is unable to pump an adequate amount of blood to meet the metabolic needs of the body's tissues
diastolic failure impaired ability of the ventricles to fill during diastole
dilated cardiomyopathy a condition in which poor systolic function (weakened muscle function) is further compromised by dilated left ventricular walls that are unable to relax
hypertrophic cardiomyopathy disease of the myocardium that produces asymmetric myocardial hypertrophy without ventricular dilation
paroxysman nocturnal dyspnea difficulty breathing that occurs when the patient is asleep; probably caused by reabsorption of fluid from dependent body areas when patient is recumbent, resulting in fluid accumulation in the lung tissues
pulmonary edema an acute, life-threatening situation in which the lung alveoli become filled with serous or serosanguineous fluid
systolic failure a type of ventricular failure caused by impaired contractile function (e.g., myocardial infarction), increased afterload (e.g., hypertension), or mechanical abnormalities (e.g., valvular heart disease); characterized by low forward blood flow
arrythmias abnormal cardiac rhythms
asystole represents the total absence of ventricular electrical activity
atrial fibrillation characterized by a total disorganization of atrial electrical activity without effective atrial contraction
atrial flutter an atrial tachyarrhythmia identified by recurring, regular, sawtooth-shaped flutter waves
complete heart block third-degree atrioventricular heart block in which no impulses from the atria are conducted to the ventricles
electrocardiogram a graphic tracing of the electrical impulses produced in the heart
first-degree AV block a type of atrioventricular block in which every impulse is conducted to the ventricles but the duration of atrioventricular conduction is prolonged
premature ventricular contraction (PVC) contraction a contraction originating in an ectopic focus in the ventricles
ventricular fibrillation a severe derangement of the heart rhythm characterized on ECG by irregular undulations of varying contour and amplitude
aortic stenosis narrowing of the aortic valve resulting in obstruction of the flow from the left ventricle to the aorta during systole
aortic valve regurgitation incomplete closure of the aortic valve resulting in retrograde blood flow from the ascending aorta into the left ventricle and volume overload
cardiac tamponade compression of the heart produced by fluid accumulation in the pericardial sac
mitral valve prolapse a structural abnormality of the mitral valve leaflets and the papillary muscles or chordae that allows the leaflets to prolapse, or buckle, back into the left atrium during systole
pericardial effusion an accumulation of excess fluid in the pericardial sac
pericardial friction rub a scratching, grating, high-pitched sound believed to arise from friction between the roughened pericardial and epicardial surfaces
vegetation the primary lesions of infective endocarditis; the lesions consist of fibrin, leukocytes, platelets, and microbes that adhere to the valve surface or endocardium
endocardium The inner lining of the wall of the heart
myocardium the middle muscle wall of the heart.
epicardium the membrane surrounding the outside of the heart
tricuspid valve One of the four heart valves, the tricuspid valve is the first one that blood encounters as it enters the heart.
mitral valve the valve that lies between the left atrium and left ventricle (main pumping chamber of the heart)
chordae tendinae The thin, fibrous chords that lead from the valve leaflets to the small papillary muscles within the heart muscle wall, contributes to the support of the tricuspid and mitral valves.
papillary muscles Small muscles that are part of the inside walls of the ventricles and attach to the chordae tendineae
pulmonic valve A semilunar valve; The valve that lies between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery (to the lungs)
aortic valve A semilunar valve; The aortic valve is the last valve through which the blood passes before it enters the aorta or main blood vessel of the body. The valve prevents blood from leaking back into the left ventricle from the aorta after it has been ejected f
ischemia Reduced blood flow to an area of the body due to an obstructed vessel.
infarction Tissue death due to lack of oxygen-rich blood.
collateral circulation Small capillary-like branches of the artery that form over time in response to narrowed coronary arteries. The collaterals "bypass" the area of narrowing and help to restore blood flow. However, during times of increased exertion, the collaterals may not
P wave atrial depolarization
P-Q segment slowdown of conduction impulse in the AV node
QRS complex ventricular depolarization
S-T segment refractory period
T wave ventricular repolarization
stroke volume The volume of blood ejected by both ventricles of the heart with each contraction in ml
heart rate the rate at which the heart beats per minute
beta adrenergic receptors Any of various cell membrane receptors that can bind with epinephrine and related substances that activate or block the actions of cells containing such receptors. These cells initiate physiological responses such as increasing the rate and force of contr
alpha adrenergic receptors Any of various cell membrane receptors that can bind with norepinephrine and related substances that activate or block the actions of the cells containing such receptors; these cells initiate physiological responses such as vasoconstriction, pupil dilatio
baroreceptor A sensory nerve ending in the walls of the auricles of the heart, vena cava, carotid sinus, and aortic arch, sensitive to stretching of the wall due to increased pressure from within, and functioning as the receptor of central reflex mechanisms that tend
chemoreceptor a specialized sensory end organ adapted for excitation by chemical substances (e.g., olfactory and gustatory receptors) or specialized sense organs of the carotid body that are sensitive to chemical changes in the bloodstream.
Starling's law The more heart muscles are stretched, the stronger the contraction. However, there is an absolute limit where the force of contraction will decrease if muscles are over-stretched.
thrill The vibration accompanying a cardiac or vascular murmur, detectible on palpation.
bruit A sound, especially an abnormal one, heard in auscultation
S3 (ventricular gallop) an accentuated third heart sound in patients with cardiac disease characterized by pathological alterations in ventricular filling in early diastole
S4 (atrial gallop) an accentuated, audible fourth heart sound usually associated with cardiac disease, often that with altered ventricular compliance
clubbing A condition affecting the fingers and toes in which the extremities are broadened and the nails are shiny and abnormally curved.
arcus senilis an opaque, grayish-white ring at the periphery of the cornea occurring in older adults, associated with hyperlipidemia in younger people
xanthomas A yellowish-orange, lipid-filled nodule or plaque in the skin, often on an eyelid or over a joint.
splinter hemorrhages linear hemorrhages beneath the nail
creatinine kinase (CK) An enzyme present in muscle, brain, and other tissues of vertebrates that catalyzes the reversible conversion of ADP and phosphocreatine into ATP and creatine.
CK-MB In AMI, plasma level typically rises some 4-6 hours after the onset of chest pains, peaks within 12-24 hours, and returns to baseline levels within 24-48 hours. The pattern of serial determinations is more informative than a single determination.
troponin a protein of muscle that together with tropomyosin forms a regulatory protein complex controlling the interaction of actin and myosin and that when combined with calcium ions permits muscular contraction
myoglobin The oxygen-transporting protein of muscle, resembling blood hemoglobin in function but with only one heme as part of the molecule and with one-fourth the molecular weight. Also called muscle hemoglobin.
BNP polypeptide secreted by the ventricles of the heart in response to excessive stretching of myocytes (heart muscles cells) in the ventricles.
catheter embolus A coiled worm-shaped aggregate of platelets and fibrin that develops on the catheter or the guide wire used in vascular catheterization
central venous catheter A catheter passed through a peripheral vein and ending in the thoracic vena cava; it is used to measure venous pressure or to infuse concentrated solutions
pulmonary artery catheter (Swan Ganz) A soft catheter with an expandable balloon tip that is used for measuring blood pressure in the pulmonary artery.
coronary artery disease Atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries associated with genetic predisposition or other risk factors, including hyperlipidemia, hypertension, smoking, and diabetes mellitus.
myocardial ischemia decrease in the blood supply to the heart caused by constriction or obstruction of the blood vessels
myocardial infarction Sudden interruption or insufficiency of the supply of blood to the heart, typically resulting from occlusion or obstruction of a coronary artery and often characterized by severe chest pain
arteriosclerosis A chronic disease in which thickening, hardening, and loss of elasticity of the arterial walls result in impaired blood circulation. It develops with aging, and in hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and other conditions.
atherosclerosis A form of arteriosclerosis characterized by the deposition of atheromatous plaques containing cholesterol and lipids on the innermost layer of the walls of large and medium-sized arteries.
acute coronary syndrome cardiac symptoms such as chest pain caused by abrupt interruption in blood flow to the heart caused by atherosclerosis
homocysteine an intermediary compound in the metabolism of the amino acid methionine. High levels in the blood can cause athero­sclerosis
angina pectoris Pain or discomfort due to lack of oxygen to the heart muscle. May manifest as pain or discomfort, heaviness, tightness, pressure or burning
sudden cardiac death A sudden, unexpected death caused by loss of heart function. Most sudden cardiac deaths are caused by arrhythmias, such as ventricular fibrillation
stable angina Chest pain that occurs with activity
unstable angina Chest pain of myocardial ischemia that occurs at rest, new onset of pain with exertion, or pain that has accelerated (more frequent, longer in duration, or lower in threshold).
Prinzmetal's angina an unusual and uncommon form of angina caused by total blockage of coronary arteries due to spasm in which pain is experienced at rest
nocturnal angina chest pain at night or while asleep
decubitus angina Angina pectoris related to horizontal, usually supine, body position.
atherectomy also known as: Rotorooter. A procedure that uses a catheter and special cutting or grinding tools to remove plaque from artery walls.
transmyocardial revascularization Laser surgery that opens tiny new pathways within the heart. These holes improve blood flow and reduce the severity of chest pain
cardiogenic shock occurs when the heart muscle cannot pump enough blood to meet the needs of the body
ventricular aneurysm a localized dilation or protrusion on the wall of the left ventricle of the heart (occurring after a myocardial infarction)
Dressler's syndrome Pericarditis (inflammation of the pericardium, the sac-like covering of the heart) after a heart attack
pulmonary embolism A blood clot in the lungs
nitrate A form of vasodilator. example: Nitroglycerin
antiarrythmic A drug or procedure that counters or prevents cardiac arrhythmia.
beta blockers A class of blood pressure medications that ease the heart's pumping action and widen the blood vessels
calcium channel blockers A drug that blocks the entry of calcium into the muscle cells of the heart and the arteries. Relax and widen the blood vessels
ACE inhibitor reduce peripheral vascular resistance via blockage of the angiotensin converting enzyme. This action reduces the myocardial oxygen consumption, thereby improving cardiac output and moderating left ventricular and vascular hypertrophy.
sinus bradycardia A regular but unusually slow heart beat (60 beats/minute or less at rest).
sinus tachycardia A fast rhythm (more than 100 beats per minute) originating at the sinus node
neurogenic shock Neurogenic shock is shock caused by the sudden loss of the sympathetic nervous system signals to the smooth muscle in vessel walls
septic shock shock associated with sepsis, usually associated with abdominal and pelvic infection complicating trauma or operations
anaphylactic shock A life-threatening allergic reaction characterized by a swelling of body tissues (including the throat) and a sudden decline in blood pressure
hypovolemic shock A rapid fall in blood pressure as a result of diminished blood volume
inotropic An inotrope (IPA: ) is an agent which increases or decreases the force or energy of muscular contractions. Negatively inotropic agents weaken the force of muscular contractions. Positively inotropic agents increase the strength of muscular contraction
Created by: ebadger