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Anemia Reduced oxygen-carrying ability of blood resulting from too few erythrocytes or abnormal hemoglobin.
Anastomosis A union or joining of nerves, blood vessels, or lymphatics.
Albumin The most abundant plasma protein.
Angina pectoris Severe suffocating chest pain caused by brief lack of oxygen supply to heart muscle.
Aneurysm Blood-filled sac in an artery wall caused by dilation or weakening of the wall.
Aorta Major systemic artery; arises from the left ventricle of the heart.
Arrhythmia Irregular heart rhythm, often caused by defects in the intrinsic conduction system.
Atherosclerosis Changes in the walls of large arteries consisting of lipid deposits on the artery walls; one form of arteriosclerosis.
Arteriosclerosis Any of a number of proliferative and degenerative changes in the arteries leading to their decreased elasticity.
Arteriole A minute artery
Arteries Blood vessels that conduct blood away from the heart and into the circulation.
Atrioventricular (AV) valve Valve that prevents backflow into the atrium when the connected ventricle is contracting.
Atrioventricular (AV) node Specialized mass of conducting cells located at the atrioventricular junction in the heart.
Atrioventricular (AV) bundle Bundle of specialized fibers that conduct impulses from the AV node to the right and left ventricles; also called bundle of His.
Atria The two superior receiving chambers of the heart.
Autoregulation The automatic local adjustment of blood flow to a particular body area in response to its current requirements.
Baroreceptor A sensory nerve ending in the wall of the carotid sinus or aortic arch sensitive to vessel stretching.
Basophil White blood cell whose granules stain purplish-black and nucleus purple with basic dye.
Bilirubin Yellow pigment of bile.
Blood pressure (BP) Force exerted by blood against a unit area of the blood vessel walls; differences in blood pressure between different areas of the circulation provide the driving force for blood circulation.
Capillaries The smallest of the blood vessels and the sites of exchange between the blood and tissue cells.
Cardiac cycle Sequence of events encompassing one complete contraction and relaxation of the atria and ventricles of the heart.
Bradycardia A heart rate below 60 beats per minute.
Cardiac reserve The difference between resting and maximal cardiac output.
Cardiac output (CO) Amount of blood pumped out of a ventricle in one minute.
Carotid body A receptor in the common carotid artery sensitive to changing oxygen, carbon dioxide, and pH levels of the blood.
Cardiogenic shock Pump failure; the heart is so inefficient that it cannot sustain adequate circulation.
Carotid sinus A dilation of a common carotid artery; involved in regulation of systemic blood pressure.
Cerebral arterial circle (circle of Willis) An arterial anastomosis at the base of the brain.
Coagulation Process in which blood is transformed from a liquid to a gel; blood clotting.
Colloid osmotic pressure Pressure created in a fluid by large nondiffusible molecules, such as plasma proteins that are prevented from moving through a (capillary) membrane. Such substances tend to draw water to them.
Congenital Existing at birth.
Complete blood count (CBC) Clinical test that includes counts of all formed elements, a hematocrit, and measurements of erythrocyte size and hemoglobin content.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) Condition in which the pumping efficiency of the heart is depressed so that circulation is inadequate to meet tissue needs.
Coronary circulation The functional blood supply of teh heart; shortest circulation in the body.
Diapedesis Passage of white blood cells through intact vessel walls into tissue.
Diastole Period of the cardiac cycle when either the ventricles or the atria are relaxing.
Diastolic pressure Arterial blood pressure reached during or as a result of diastole; lowest level of any given cardiac cycle.
Differential white blood cell count Diagnostic test to determine relative proportion of individual leukocyte types.
Diuretics Chemicals that enhance urinary output.
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) Graphic record of the electrical activity of the heart.
Embolism Obstruction of a blood vessel by an embolus (blood clot, fatty mass, bubble of air, or other debris) floating in the blood.
Endocardium Endothelial membrane that lines the interior of the heart.
Eosinophil Granular white blood cell whose granules readily take up an acid stain called eosin.
Erythrocytes Red blood cells.
Erythropoiesis Process of erythrocyte formation.
Extrasystole Premature heart contraction.
Fenestrated Pierced with one or more small openings.
Fibrillation Condition of rapid and irregular or out-of-phase heart contractions.
Fibrin Fibrous insoluble protein formed during blood clotting.
Fibrinogen A soluble blood protein that is converted to insoluble fibrin during blood clotting.
Formed elements Cellular portion of blood.
Fibrinolysis Process that removes unneeded blood clots when healing has occurred.
Heart attack (coronary) Condition characterized by dead tissue areas in the myocardium; caused by interruption of blood supply to the area. See Myocardial Infarction.
Heart block Impaired transmission of impulses from atrium to ventricle resulting in abnormally slow heart rhythms.
Heart murmur Abnormal heart sound (usually resulting from valve problems).
Hematocrit The percentage of total blood volume occupied by erythrocytes.
Hematoma Mass of clotted blood that forms at an injured site.
Hematopoiesis Blood cell formation; hemopoiesis.
Heme Iron-containing pigment that is essential to oxygen transport by hemoglobin.
Hemocytoblast Bone marrow cell that gives rise to all the formed elements of blood; hematopoietic stem cell.
Hemoglobin Oxygen-transporting protein of erythrocytes.
Hemolysis Rupture of erythrocytes.
Hemophilia A term loosely applied to several different hereditary bleeding disorders that exhibit similar signs and symptoms.
Hemopoiesis Blood cell formation; hematopoiesis
Hemorrhage Loss of blood from the vessels by flow through ruptured walls; bleeding.
Hemostasis Stoppage of bleeding.
Heparin Natural anticoagulent secreted into blood plasma.
Hepatic portal system Circulation in which the hepatic portal vein carries dissolved nutrients to the liver tissues for processing.
Hydrostatic pressure Pressure of fluid in a system.
Hypertension High blood pressure.
Hypotension Low blood pressure
Hypovolemic shock Most common form of shock; results from extreme blood loss.
Incompetent vavle Valve which does not close properly.
Infarct Region of dead, deteriorating tissue resulting from a lack of blood supply.
Infectious mononucleosis Highly contagious viral disease; marked by excessive agranulocytes.
Intercalated discs Specialized connections between myocardial cells containing gap junctions and desmosomes.
Intrinsic factor Substance produced by the stomach that is required for vitamin B12 absorption.
Inferior vena cava Vein that returns blood from body areas below the diaphragm.
Leukemia Refers to a group of cancerous conditions of white blood cells.
Leukocytes White blood cells; formed elements involved in body protection that take part in inflammatory and immune responses.
Leukocytosis An increase in the number of leukocytes (white blood cells); usually the result of a microbiological attack on the body.
Leukopenia Abnormally low white blood cell count.
Leukopoiesis The production of white blood cells.
Lumen Cavity inside a tube, blood vessel, or hollow organ.
Lymphocyte Agranular white blood cell that arises from bone marrow and becomes functionally mature in the lymphoid organs of the body.
Mediastinum The medial cavity of the thorax containing the heart, great vessels, and trachea.
Mitral (bicupspid) valve (mitral) The left atrioventricular valve.
Monocyte Large single-nucleus white blood cell; agranular leukocyte.
Myocardial infarction (MI) Condition characterized by dead tissue areas in the myocardium; caused by interruption of blood supply to the area. Commonly called heart attack.
Myocardium Layer of the heart wall composed of cardiac muscle.
Neutrophil Most abundant type of white blood cell.
Nitric oxide (NO) A gaseous chemical messenger; diverse functions include participation in memory formation in the brain, and causing vasodilation throughout the body.
Oxyhemoglobin Oxygen-bound form of hemoglobin.
Pericardium Double-layered sac enclosing the heart and forming its superficial layer; has fibrous and serous layers.
Peripheral congestion Condition caused by failure of the right side of the heart; results in edema in the extremities.
Peripheral resistance A measure of the amount of friction encountered by blood as it flows through the blood vessels.
Plasma The nonliving fluid component of blood within which formed elements and various solutes are suspended and circulation.
Platelet Cell fragment found in blood; involved in clotting.
Polycythemia An abnormally high number of erythrocytes.
Prothrombin time Diagnostic test to determine status hemostasis system.
Pulmonary arteries Vessels that deliver blood to the lungs to be oxygenated.
Pulmonary circuit System of blood vessels that serves gas exchange in the lungs; i.e., pulmonary arteries, capillaries, and veins.
Pulmonary veins Vessels that deliver freshly oxygenated blood from the respiratory zones of the lungs to the heart.
Pulse Rhythmic expansion and recoil of arteries resulting from heart contraction; can be felt from outside the body.
Purkinje fibers Modified ventricular muscle fibers of the conduction system of the heart.
Reticulocyte Immature erythrocyte.
Semilunar valves Valves that prevent blood return to the ventricles after contraction; aortic and pulmonary valves.
Sinoatrial (SA) node Specialized myocardial cells in the wall of the right atrium; pacemaker of the heart.
Stenosis Abnormal constriction or narrowing.
Stroke volume (SV) Amount of blood pumped out of a ventricle during one contraction.
Superior vena cava Vein that returns blood from body regions superior to the diaphragm.
Sympathetic (vasomotor) tone State of partial vasoconstriction of the blood vessels maintained by sympathetic fibers.
Systemic circuit System of blood vessels that serves gas exchange in the body tissue.
Systole Period when either the ventricles or the atria are contracting.
Systolic pressure Pressure exerted by blood on the blood vessel walls during ventricular contractions.
Tachycardia A heart rate over 100 beats per minute.
Thorax That portion of the body trunk above the diaphragm and below the neck.
Thrombin Enzyme that induces clotting by converting fibrinogen to fibrin.
Thrombocyte Platelet; cell fragment that participates in blood coagulation.
Thrombocytopenia A reduction in the number of platelets circulating in the blood.
Thrombus A clot that develops and persists in an unbroken blood vessel.
Tissue perfusion Blood flow through body tissues or organs.
Transfusion reaction Agglutination and destruction of red blood cells following transfusion of incompatible blood.
Tricuspid valve The right atrioventricular valve.
Tunica A covering or tissue coat; membrane layer.
Vascular Pertaining to blood vessels or richly supplied with blood vessels.
Vascular spasm Immediate response to blood vessel injury; results in constriction.
Vasoconstriction Narrowing of blood vessels.
Vasodilation Relaxation of the smooth muscles of the blood vessels, producing dilation.
Vasomotion Intermittent contracton or relaxation of the precapillary sphincters, resulting in a staggered blood flow when tissue needs are not extreme.
Vasomotor center Brain area concerned with regulation of blood vessel resistance.
Vasomotor fibers Sympathetic nerve fibers that cause the contraction of smooth muscle in the walls of blood vessels, thereby regulating blood vessel diameter.
Veins Blood vessels that return blood toward the heart from the circulation.
Ventricles (1) Paired, inferiorly located heart chambers that function as the major blood pumps; (2) cavities in the brain.
Venule A small vein.
Visscosity State of being sticky or thick.
Vital signs Includes pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and body temperature measurements.
Created by: RoxWolf



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