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    Glossary and Definitions

    • Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor--A drug used to decrease pressure inside blood vessels.

    • Arrhythmia--An irregular heartbeat.

    • Cardiomyoplasty--A surgical procedure that involves detaching one end of a back muscle and attaching it to the heart. An electric stimulator causes the muscle to contract to pump blood from the heart.

    • Congestive heart failure--A heart disease condition that involves loss of pumping ability by the heart, generally accompanied by fluid accumulation in body tissues, especially the lungs.

    • Destination Therapy--Destination Therapy is a permanent support for some end-stage heart failure (ESHF) patients who are not eligible for heart transplants.

    • Diastolic heart failure--Inability of the heart to relax properly and fill with blood as a result of stiffening of the heart muscle.

    • Dyspnea--Shortness of breath.

    • Echocardiography--Recording sound waves bounced off the heart to produce images of the heart.

    • Edema--Abnormal fluid accumulation in body tissues.

    • Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG)--Measurement of electrical activity associated with heartbeats.

    • Electrophysiology--Restores the heart’s mechanical sequence by stimulating the heart walls to work rhythmically. Using implantable cardiac devices (ICD), such as pacemakers.

    • Heart failure--Loss of blood-pumping ability by the heart.

    • Left ventricular assist device--A mechanical device used to increase the heart's pumping ability.

    • Pulmonary congestion (or edema)--Fluid accumulation in the lungs.

    • Sudden cardiac death--Cardiac arrest caused by an irregular heartbeat.

    • Systolic heart failure--Inability of the heart to contract with enough force to pump adequate amounts of blood through the body.

    • Valves--Flap-like structures that control the direction of blood flow through the heart.

    This information is adapted from the NHLBI Information Center, a service of the NHLBI and the National Institutes of Health. The Information Center provides information to health professionals, patients, and the public about the treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of heart, lung and blood diseases.

    NHLBI Information Center
    P.O. Box 30105
    Bethesda, MD 20824-0105
    Telephone: (301) 592-8573
    Fax: (301) 592-8563