Heart Failure: GlossaryTuesday, April 10, 2012 - 09:43
Here are definitions of medical terms related to heart failure.
Angina: A condition in which the heart does not get enough oxygen, resulting in chest pain and a feeling of suffocation.
Arrhythmia: Any rhythm that is not the normal rhythm of the heart; it may mean a slow or fast heart rate or an irregular rhythm.
Cardiomyopathy: Any disease that affects the structure and function of the heart.
Cholesterol: A type of fat normally present in the bloodstream. A high level is directly related to the risk of developing heart disease.
Diastolic heart failure: Heart failure that occurs because the heart is unable to relax normally between each contraction. Diastole is the period in the pumping cycle when the heart rests between contractions.
Echocardiogram: A noninvasive test that uses sound waves to produce images of the heart on a monitor.
Edema: An abnormal accumulation of fluid in the body's tissues.
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): A recording of the electrical activity of the heart.
Ejection fraction: This is the amount of blood pumped out of the heart with each beat. It is expressed as a percent. Normal value is 45-55%. It can be measured by special tests.
Endocarditis: A condition that affects the lining of the heart's chambers and the heart valves.
Orthopnea: A condition in which a person must sit or stand in order to breathe deeply or comfortably.
Palpitations: Awareness of the heart beating; the heartbeat may feel fast, slow, forceful, or irregular.
Plaque: A buildup of fatty substances within the blood vessels that can cause them to narrow, restricting blood flow.
Potassium: An element necessary to the lives of all plants and animals; in humans, one of its roles is to help regulate muscle contraction.
Pulmonary edema: An accumulation of fluid in the tissues of the lungs.
Rheumatic fever: An inflammatory disease that can develop as a delayed reaction to an infection of the upper-respiratory tract.
Right-sided heart failure: Swelling in the body, usually the legs and abdomen, that results from failure of pumping action of the right ventricle.
Sputum: Material coughed up from the lungs and expelled through the mouth.
Systolic heart failure: Heart failure that occurs because the heart is unable to contract as powerfully as it used to. Systole is the period in the pumping cycle when the heart contracts.
Tachycardia: The term used to describe a rapid heartbeat of greater than 100 beats per minute.
Ventricle: One of the two lower chambers of the heart (the left ventricle and the right ventricle), which pump blood out of the heart and into the arteries.