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Glossary

  • ACE inhibitor: A type of heart failure drug that lowers the amount of work the heart has to do. It helps to lower blood pressure and reduce shortness of breath.
  • Aldosterone Antagonists: A type of diuretic medicine that helps your body get rid of excess fluid but keep potassium.
  • Angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibitors: A type of heart failure drug that improves blood flow, reduces the buildup of fluid in your body, and decreases strain on the heart.
  • Angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB): A type of heart failure drug that is often prescribed for people who can't take ACE inhibitors. It provides many of the same benefits.
  • Arrhythmia: An abnormal heart rhythm.
  • Atherosclerosis: The steady buildup of a fatty substance (plaque) on the inside walls of your arteries.
  • Atrium: One of the heart's two upper chambers. The atria work with the ventricles to pump blood throughout the body.
  • Beta blocker: A type of heart failure drug that slows the heart rate and reduces blood pressure.
  • Cardiac catheterization: A procedure in which a long, thin tube called a catheter is inserted through the groin or arm into the arteries to see if there are blockages in the arteries near the heart.
  • Congenital heart disease: A heart defect that you are born with.
  • Coronary artery disease: A disease of the arteries that bring blood to the heart and that become clogged with plaque.
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery: A procedure in which a piece of blood vessel is removed from the arm, chest, or leg and is used to go around a blockage so the blood can flow more easily to the heart.
  • Diabetes: A condition that causes sugar to build up in the blood. If the sugar stays high, it can slowly damage the heart, kidneys, eyes, and feet.
  • Digitalis: A heart failure drug that is used most often for systolic heart failure. It strengthens the heart and may reduce your risk of being hospitalized.
  • Diuretic: A heart failure drug that helps remove fluid from the body by causing you to urinate more often. It helps prevent edema (swelling from fluid buildup) and other symptoms of heart failure.
  • Echocardiogram (ECHO): A test that uses sound waves to create a video image of your heart.
  • Edema: Swelling of the body caused by fluid buildup.
  • Ejection fraction: A measure of how much blood is leaving your heart each time it pumps.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): A test that uses electrodes to record your heart's rhythm.
  • Heart attack: A condition in which blood is blocked in the coronary arteries leading to the heart, causing damage to the heart's muscle.
  • Heart failure: A condition in which the heart doesn't pump enough blood for the body's needs.
  • Heart valves: The valves that control blood flow to, through, and from the heart.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure): A condition where the pressure in your arteries is higher than it is supposed to be, causing the vessel walls to become stiff and the heart muscle to work harder.
  • Implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD): A device implanted under the skin near the heart that works like a pacemaker, speeding up your heart if it's beating too slowly. It can also correct an abnormal heart rhythm by shocking the heart back to normal.
  • Inotropes: A type of medicine that helps increase the force of your heart's pumping.
  • Left ventricle assistive device (LVAD): A battery-operated pump that helps the left ventricle pump normally.
  • Pacemaker: A device that is implanted directly into your heart and helps your heart pump properly. It can help keep your heart rate closer to normal and also speed up your heart if it's beating too slow.
  • Sinoatrial node modulator: A type of heart failure drug that is used with beta blockers when they cannot lower heart rate enough. It helps reduce the amount of oxygen your heart needs and the amount of work your heart has to do to pump blood through the body.
  • Ventricle: One of the heart's two lower chambers. The ventricles work with the atria to pump blood throughout the body.