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Glossary

Glossary


A
Abdominal obesity
Presence of excess fat in the abdominal area, measured by waist circumference; a measurement of 40 inches or more in men and 35 inches or more in women.

Ablation
Procedure that is performed to correct a disturbance in heart rhythm.

ALT (Alanine aminotransferase) test
Blood test to screen for liver damage.

Aneurysm
An abnormal blood-filled dilatation of a blood vessel and especially an artery resulting from disease of the vessel wall.

Angioplasty or percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)
Procedure in which a balloon is used to open a blockage in a coronary (heart) artery narrowed by atherosclerosis.

Angiotensin II receptor blockers
Drugs controlling high blood pressure, treating heart failure, and preventing kidney failure in people with diabetes or high blood pressure.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
Drugs used for controlling blood pressure, treating heart failure, preventing strokes, and preventing kidney damage in people with hypertension or diabetes.

Anticoagulants (blood-thinners)
Drugs that prevent clotting (coagulation) of blood.

Arrhythmia
An alteration in rhythm of the heartbeat either in time or force.

Artery
Any of the tubular branching muscular- and elastic-walled vessels that carry blood from the heart through the body.

Artificial Pacemaker (pacer)
An electrical device for stimulating or steadying the heartbeat or reestablishing the rhythm of an arrested heart.

AST (Aspartate aminotransferase) test
Blood test to screen for liver damage.

Atherosclerosis
Condition in which a material called plaque builds up on the inner walls of the arteries.

Auscultation
The act of listening to sounds arising within organs (as the lungs or heart) as an aid to diagnosis and treatment .

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B
Beta blockers
Drugs used to treat hypertension, angina pectoris, and ventricular and supraventricular arrhythmias that block the effects of adrenaline on the heart and make the heart beat slower and with less force.

Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) test
Blood test used to assess kidney function.

Body Mass Index (BMI)
Measure of body fat that is the ratio of the weight of the body in kilograms to the square of its height in meter.

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C
Calcium channel blockers
Drugs used to treat hypertension that interrupt the movement of calcium into heart and vessel cells.

Cardiac catheterization
Medical procedure used to diagnose and treat certain heart conditions.

Carotid artery
Large blood artery in the neck.

Cholesterol
Fat-like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body.

Complete Blood Count (CBC)
Blood count that includes separate counts for red and white blood cells.

Congenital
Existing at or dating from birth.

Congestive Heart failure (CHF)
Condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood throughout the body.

Coronary angiography
X-ray examination of the blood vessels or chambers of the heart.

Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABG)
Type of heart surgery in which one or more blocked coronary arteries are bypassed by a blood vessel graft to restore normal blood flow to the heart.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) or Heart Disease
Condition in which plaque builds up inside the coronary arteries.

C-reactive protein (CRP)
A protein produced by the liver that is elevated during episodes of acute inflammation (as those associated with chronic infection or coronary artery disease).

Creatinine test
Blood test used to assess kidney function.

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D
Diabetes mellitus
Diabetes mellitus is a disorder in which blood sugar (glucose) levels are abnormally high because the body does not produce enough insulin to meet its needs.

Diuretics
An agent that increases the excretion of urine.

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E
Echocardiogram
Ultrasound of the heart.

Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)
Graphic measure of the electrical activity in the heart.

Electrophysiology study (EP)
Recording of the electrical activity of the heart.

Event Recorder
Device worn for a long period of time to increase the chances of recording the patient’s rhythm when he/she has symptoms.

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F
Fasting glucose (blood sugar) test
Blood test to determine if blood glucose level is within healthy ranges; to screen for, diagnose, and monitor diabetes, and pre-diabetes.

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G

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H
HDL (also known as “good”) cholesterol
High density lipoprotein that removes cholesterol from the arteries and takes it to the liver where it can be passed out of the body.

Heart attack (Myocardial Infarction or MI)
The death of heart muscle from the sudden blockage of a coronary artery by a blood clot.

Holter Monitor
Device that records the heart rhythm continuously for 24 hours.

Homocysteine
Amino acid in the blood. High level is related to a higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease (fatty deposits in peripheral arteries).

Hypertension (High Blood Pressure or HBP)
High pressure in the arteries.

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I
Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD)
Device for people who are prone to life-threatening rapid heart rhythms.

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J

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K

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L
LDL (also known as “bad”) cholesterol
Low density lipoprotein that contributes to the artery blockages (plaques).

Lipid profile
Group of tests that are often ordered together to determine risk of coronary heart disease.

Lipoprotein (a)
Molecules made of proteins and fat that carry cholesterol and similar substances through the blood.

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M
Metabolic Syndrome

A cluster of abnormalities that occur together, increasing your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Modifiable risk factors
Conditions that increase risk of developing disease and can be changed or treated.

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N
Non modifiable risk factors
Conditions that increase risk of developing disease and cannot be changed or treated.

Nuclear Stress test
Test that measures blood flow to the heart muscle both at rest and during stress on the heart.

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O
Obesity
Having an excessive amount of body fat.

Open Heart Surgery
Any surgery where the chest is opened and surgery is performed on the heart muscle, valves, arteries, or other heart structures.

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P
Peripheral Artery Disease
Circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to the limbs.

Physical activity
Any body movement that works your muscles and uses more energy than you use when you’re resting.

Prediabetes
State that occurs when a person’s blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes.

Plaque
Fatty deposit inside an arterial wall.

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Q

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R

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S
Second hand smoke
The smoke from the end of a lit cigarette and the smoke exhaled by smokers.

Statins
Drugs that lower the level of cholesterol in the blood.

Stent
A small, latticed, metal tube which is used to hold the coronary artery open.

Stress
Physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.

Stroke
Sudden diminution or loss of consciousness, sensation, and voluntary motion caused by rupture or obstruction of a blood vessel of the brain.

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T
Total cholesterol
The sum of all the cholesterol in blood.

Triglycerides
Type of fat in the bloodstream and fat tissue.

TSH (thyroid – stimulating hormone test
Blood test used to detect problems affecting the thyroid.

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U
Ultrasound examination (sonography)
Method that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce precise images of structures within your body.

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V

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W
Waist circumference
Measure of the distance around the abdomen.

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X

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Y

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Z

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535 Mission Bay Blvd. South
San Francisco, CA 94158
Main Line: (415) 353-2873
FAX: (415) 353-2528
Open Monday - Friday
8AM - 5PM
Current Patients: (415) 514-6620
New Patients: Cardio-NewReferrals@ucsf.edu
 
   
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