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Heart Terms

Angina
- Angina is a pain or discomfort in the chest, arm, or jaw that occurs when narrowed or blocked coronary arteries (the vessels that supply blood to the heart) do not allow enough blood flow to the heart muscle. Click here for a complete description of the problem, medications to control, and more.

Angina Pectoris - A heavy feeling in the chest or throat which may be associated with a feeling of suffocation and impending death.

Arrhythmia
- Irregular heart beats.

Atherosclerosis
- A common form of arteriosclerosis in which deposits of plaque containing cholesterol are formed on the inside of the arteries.

Cardiomyopathy
- A general diagnostic term for diseases of the heart muscle often of unknown origin.

Catheter
- Small plastic tubes that can be inserted into the body for a variety of procedures and uses.

Coronary Angioplasty
- A procedure using a catheter and a tiny balloon to open blocked arteries.

Coronary Artery Disease - Atherosclerosis that affects the arteries supplying blood to the heart.

EKG - Electrocardiogram. A graphic tracking of the variations in the electrical activity of the heart muscle.

Echocardiography
- A procedure using sound waves allowing a physician to "see" the heart.

Electrophysiology (EP) Test - A study of the heart's electrical activity.

Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction) - Death of part of the heart muscle due to prolonged obstruction of the blood flow.

Non-invasive
- Not penetrating the body. Usually refers to tests or procedures done externally rather than internally.

Pacemaker - Either the body's natural impulses that regulate the heartbeat or an artificial device that can also serve this function.

Stenosis - A narrowing or closing of a blood vessel or valve.