Med Term Ch. 5 Cardiovascular System

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blood or lymph vessel






plaque, fatty substance






a mixture or blending


blood, blood condition



hem/o, hemat/o

blood, relating to the blood






fast, rapid





ACE inhibitor

blocks the action of the enzyme that causes the blood vessels to contract, resulting in hypertension. When this enzyme is blocked, the blood vessels are able to dilate (enlarge), and this reduces the blood pressure. These medications are used primarily to treat hypertension and heart failure


a lower-than-normal number of erythrocytes (red blood cells) in the blood; The severity of this condition is usually measured by a decrease in the amount of hemoglobin in the blood. When inadequate hemoglobin is present, all parts of the body receive less oxygen and have less energy than is needed to function properly.


A localized weak sport or balloon-like enlargement of the wall of an artery; the rupture of an aneurysm can be fatal because of the rapid loss of blood


also known as angina pectoris, is a condition in which severe episodes of chest pain occur due to an inadequate blood flow to the myocardium. These episodes are due to ischemia of the heart muscle and often progressively worsen as the blood flow continues to be compromised, until a myocardial infarction occurs.


the technique of mechanically widening a narrowed or obstructed blood vessel; narrowing typically caused by athrosclerosis


slows coagulation and prevents new clots from forming.

aplastic anemia

characterized by an absence of all formed blood elements caused by the failure of blood cell production in the bone marrow


The loss of the normal rhythm of the heartbeat; can be a minor, temporary episode, or it can be fatal; severity depends on the heart’s ability to pump blood; usually caused by an abnormality in the electrical conduction system of the heart


the surgical removal of plaque buildup from the interior of an artery


a characteristic of atherosclerosis; a deposit of plaque on or within the arterial wall


hardening and narrowing of the arteries caused by a buildup of cholesterol plaque on the interior walls of the arteries

atrial fibrillation

(aka A-fib) occurs when the normal rhythmic contractions of the atria are replaced by rapid, irregular twitching of the muscular heart wall; causes an irregular and quivering action of the atria

automated external defibrillator

(AED) designed for use by nonprofessionals in emergency situations when defibrillation is required. This piece of equipment automatically samples the electrical rhythms of the heart and if necessary, externally shocks the heart to restore a normal cardiac rhythm.


reduces the workload of the heart by slowing the rate of the heartbeat. They are commonly prescribed to lower blood pressure, relieve angina, or to treat heart failure.

blood dyscrasia

any pathologic condition of the cellular elements of the blood


An abnormally slow resting heart rate

cardiac arrest

An event in which the heart abruptly stops beating or develops an arrhythmia that prevents it from pumping blood effectively

cardiac catherterization

a diagnostic procedure in which a catheter is passed into a vein or artery and then guided into the heart; when the catheter is in place, a contrast medium is introduced to produce an angiogram


The term used to describe all disease of the heart muscle

carotid endarterectomy

the surgical removal of the lining of a portion of a clogged carotid artery leading to the brain. This procedure is performed to reduce the risk of a stroke caused by a disruption of the blood flow to the brain


a fatty substance that travels through the blood and is found in all parts of the body. It aids in the production of cell membranes, some hormones, and vitamin D. Some cholesterol comes from dietary sources, and some is created by the liver. Excessively high levels of certain types of cholesterol can lead to heart disease

chronic venous insufficiency

(aka venous insufficiency) a condition in which venous circulation is inadequate due to partial vein blockage or to the leakage of venous valves; primarily affects the feet and ankles, and the leakage of venous blood into the tissues causes discoloration of the skin

coronary thrombosis

Damage to the heart muscle caused by a thrombus blocking a coronary artery


the use of electrical shock to restore the heart’s normal rhythm


administered to stimulate the kidneys to increase the secretion of urine to rid the body of excess sodium and water. These medications are administered to treat hypertension and heart failure by reducing the amount of fluid circulating in the blood.


(EKG or ECG) is a record of the electrical activity of the myocardium


The sudden blockage of a blood vessel by an embolus


a foreign object, such as a blood clot, a quantity of air or gas, or a bit of tissue or tumor that is circulating in the blood


An inflammation of the inner lining of the heart


also known as red blood cells (RBC), are mature red blood cells produced by the red bone marrow; the primary role of these cells is to transport oxygen to the tissues.


oxygen-carrying blood protein pigment of the erythrocytes

hemolytic anemia

characterized by an inadequate number of circulating red blood cells due to the premature destruction of red blood cells by the spleen


to stop or control bleeding

ischemic heart disease

a group of cardiac disabilities resulting from an insufficient supply of oxygenated blood to the heart. These diseases are usually associated with coronary artery disease.


a type of cancer characterized by a progressive increase in the number of abnormal leukocytes (white blood cells) found in blood-forming tissues, other organs, and in the circulating blood


also known as white blood cells (WBC), are the blood cells involved in defending the body against infective organisms and foreign substances


a decrease in the number of disease-fighting white blood cells circulating in the blood; places the patient at an increased of risk of developing or having difficulty fighting infections.

megaloblastic anemia

a blood disorder characterized by anemia in which the red blood cells are larger than normal

myelodysplastic syndrome

a group of bone marrow disorders that are characterized by the insufficient production of one or more types of blood cells due to dysfunction of the bone marrow.

myocardial infarction

(aka heart attack) the occlusion (blockage) of one or more coronary arteries caused by plaque buildup

orthostatic hypotension

low blood pressure that occurs upon standing up


the double-walled membranous sac that encloses the heart

pernicious anemia

caused by a lack of the protein intrinsic factor (IF) that helps the body absorb vitamin B12 from the gastrointestinal tract. Vitamin B12 is necessary for the formation of red blood cells.


The inflammation of a vein

Raynaud’s disease

a peripheral arterial occlusive disease in which intermittent attacks are triggered by cold or stress. The symptoms, which are due to constricted circulation, include pallor (paleness), cyanosis (blue color), and redness of the fingers and toes.


often associated with severe infections caused by the presence of bacteria in the blood; this condition can begin with a sudden on set of symptoms that include a spiking fever, chills, rapid breathing, and rapid heart rate. Septicemia can lead to sepsis, which is a systemic bacterial infection in the bloodstream.

sickle cell anemia

an inherited blood disorder that causes mild or severe anemia due to reduced hemoglobin and fewer red blood cells than normal


An abnormally rapid resting heart rate

temporal arteritis

(aka giant cell arteritis) a form of vasculitis that can cause headaches, visual impairment, jaw pain, and other symptoms; diagnosed when a biopsy shows the presence of abnormally large cells

thallium stress test

performed to evaluate how well blood flows through the coronary arteries of the heart muscle during exercise by injecting a small amount of thallium into the bloodstream. If it is not taken up equally by all heart muscle cells, it shows a decrease in blood flow to part of the heart.


a condition in which there is an abnormally small number of platelets circulating in the blood; Because these cells help the blood to clot, this condition is sometimes associated with abnormal bleeding.


dissolves or causes a thrombus to break up


The abnormal condition of having a thrombus

thrombotic occlusion

The blocking of an artery by a thrombus


a blood clot attached to the interior wall of an artery or vein

transfusion reaciton

a serious and potentially fatal complication of a blood transfusion in which a severe immune response occurs because the patient’s blood and the donated blood do not match.


An inflammation of a heart valve

varicose veins

Abnormally swollen veins that usually occur in the superficial veins do not function properly, so blood pools in the veins, causing them to enlarge

ventricular fibrillation

(aka V-fib) consists of rapid, irregular, and useless contractions of the ventricles; the heart muscle quivers ineffectively; cause of many sudden cardiac deaths

ventricular tachycardia

(aka V-tach) a very rapid heartbeat that begins within the ventricles; potentially fatal because the heart is beating so rapidly that it is ubale to adequately pump blood through the body

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