Glossary

0-9 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Ablation
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The destruction of conduction paths caused by cardiac arrhythmia during a cardiac catheter examination

Accessory pathway
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Additional electrical pathways (conduction system) between the atria and ventricles (e.g. Kent bundle); malfunction can lead to tachycardia

Accidental cardiac murmur
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Haemic murmurs with no pathological significance

ACE inhibitor
angiotensin-converting enzyme

A drug that regulates blood pressure, used to treat cardiac insufficiency

Acyanotic cardiac defect
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Heart defect without cyanosis e.g. atrial septum defect, patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), pulmonary stenosis

Adam-Stokes attack
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Transient state of unconsciousness occurring with extremely low pulse rate

Afterload
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The force against which the cardiac muscle has to shorten; blood flow resistance against which the heart has to pump, e.g. with stenosis

Agenesis
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Absence or incomplete development of an organ, e.g. leaflet of the mitral valve

AICD
automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator

Special pacemaker aggregate that recognises and treats tachycardia

Allograft (griech. allo = made differently)
-

Valve-bearing vascular implant (conduit) taken from another person, as opposed to xenograft

Anastomosis
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Congenital or surgical connection between two hollow organs or blood vessels e.g. Glenn Anastomosis

Anencephaly
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Essential parts of the brain, skull and scalp fail to develop

Aneurysm
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Dilation of a section of wall of a blood vessel e.g. aorta

Angina pectoris
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Paroxysmal pain in the chest, caused by insufficient supply of oxygen to the heart muscle. It can be a symptom of a heart defect.

Angiocardiography
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Depiction of the heart cavities, great vessels, cardiac valves and coronary vessels with an X-ray contrast medium during cardiac catheter examination

Angioplasty
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Procedure to widen narrowed vessels using a special catheter technique (balloon dilation)

Anomaly
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Deviance from normal

Antiarrhythmic agents
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Drugs used to treat various types of cardiac arrhythmia

Anticoagulation
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Prevention of coagulation of the blood (with anticoagulant drugs used to prevent clots)

Aorta
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Large trunk artery leading from the left ventricle of the heart

Aortic arch
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Upper part of the aorta where the vessels branch off to the head and arms

Aortic isthmus
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Constriction of the aorta, 3rd section of the aortic arch; transition from the aortic arch to the descending aorta (thoracic and abdominal aorta)

Aortic isthmus stenosis
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Congenital narrowing of the transition from the aortic arch to the descending aorta

Aortic root
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The part of the aorta that is attached to the heart

Aortic stenosis
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Constriction of the aortic valve (= usually valvular, 80%) or the aorta above or below (supra- / subvalvular) the aortic valve

Aortic valve
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Cardiac valve between left ventricle and aorta; a semilunar valve with three cusps, prevents the backflow of blood to the left ventricle during the relaxation phase of the cardiac muscle

Aortic valve atresia
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Congenital closure of the aortic valve; a membrane blocks the flow of blood from the left ventricle to the aorta

Aortic valve insufficiency
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Occurs when the valve leaks or does not close properly; results in a backflow of blood from the aorta to the left ventricle

Aortic valve stenosis
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Aortic stenosis

Aorto-pulmonary window
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Congenital cardiac malformation of the connection between the aorta and the pulmonary artery immediately above the valve

Apgar score
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A system of assessing the physical condition of a newborn baby at birth (including heart rate)

Aplasia
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Failure to develop tissue or an organ

Apnoe
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Respiratory arrest

Apoplexy
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Stroke, sudden impairment of neurological function; cerebral haemorrhage

Arrhythmia
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Irregular rate or mode of muscle contractions in the heart, cardiac arrhythmia

Arterial blood
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Oxygenated blood; flows from the lungs via the pulmonary veins into the left half of the heart, then via the aorta to the body

Arterial switch
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Modern and complicated surgical correction operation, TGA. The switched vessels are detached from the heart and reattached in the correct positions, the coronary vessels also have to be transposed.

Arteria pulmonalis
pulmonary artery

Lung artery that carries deoxygenated venous blood from the right ventricle to the lungs

Arteria subclavia
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Subclavian artery, supplies the arms with oxygenated blood

Arteriotomy
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Surgical opening of an artery e.g. for a cardiac catheter

Artery
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Blood vessel that transports blood away from the heart

Artificial cardiac pacemaker
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Small electronic device that sends an electrical impulse to the heart and regulates the heart muscle in cases of cardiac arrhythmias; is implanted under the pectoral muscle or under the abdominal skin

ASD
Atrial septal defect

Hole in the atrial wall

Asphyxia
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Oxygen deficiency, e.g. due to a shift or blockage of the air passages; can lead to severe cerebral damage in newborns

Aspirin derivates
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Drugs that inhibit the coagulation of blood platelets and reduce the risk of a blood clot

Astrup
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Blood gas analysis (e.g. oxygen) of arterial blood

Asystole
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Cardiac arrest, suspended heartbeat

Atresia
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Absence of a normal body opening

Atrial
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From the atrium, relating to the atrium

Atrial fibrillation
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Arrhythmia, irregular atrial beat with a rate of over 300 times per minute. Excitation is transmitted only in part to the ventricles. Irregular cardiac activity (that can also be felt in the pulse), can be caused by cardiac valve defect, a coronary disease or hyperthyroidism.

Atrial septal defect
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Anomaly of the atrial septum

Atrial septum
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Dividing wall between left and right atria

Atrial septum defect
Type ostium primum defect (ASD I)

Special form of ASD usually in combination with a leaking mitral valve (sometimes also referred to as partial AV canal defect)

Atrial septum defect
ASD

Defect in the septum that normally separates the atria

Atrial septum defect
type ostium secundum defect (ASD II)

The most common form of ASD, no involvement of valves 

Atrial switch
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With TGA, the vessels are still incorrectly connected to the chambers. The surgeon creates a bypass system to the atria so that deoxygenated and oxygenated blood can flow into the correct vessels (palliative operation; Mustard operation; Senning operation).

Atrioseptectomy
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Life-saving surgical enlargement of an interatrial septum defect

Atriotomy
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Surgical opening of an atrium

Atrium
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Pre-chamber of each half of the heart

Atrium septum defect
ASD

Defect of the atrial septum

Auscultation
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The act of listening for sounds made by internal organs (in the area of the heart and surrounding organs)

Autograft
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Tissue or organ grafted into a new position in or on the body of the same individual e.g. pulmonal valve as substitute for a defective aortal valve

Autologous transfusion
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Reinfusion of an individual’s own blood, or reprocessed blood components, into his or her own body. Patients can have their blood collected prior to prospective surgery involving large amounts of blood.  During surgery this is then pumped back into the patient’s body as required.

Autosomal
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Relating to any chromosome other than the sex chromosom

AV block
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Interruption of the conduction path between the atria and the ventricles
First degree - AV block: delay in conduction
Second degree - partial AV block (one or more, but not all the atrial impulses fail to conduct to the ventricles)
Third degree AV block – complete heart block

AV canal
Atrioventricular canal

Canal between atria and ventricles

AV canal defect
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Defect in the atrial and/or ventricular septum at the level of the AV valves, generally accompanied by mutation of the mitral and tricuspid valves. The whole AV canal is cyanosed (coloured blue) and can be seen at birth (frequently in children with Down syndrome).

AV node
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Atrioventricular nodes, part of the electrical conduction system of the heart; lies between the atria and the ventricles

AV septum defect
same as AV canal defect

Defect of the interatrial septum, which extends from the atrial to the ventricular areas, AV valves are involved to differing degrees

AV valves
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Semilunar valves between the atria and the ventricles

-    tricuspid valve (3 flaps) right side of the heart
-    mitral (also bicuspid) valve (2 flaps) left side of the heart

AV valves
Atrioventriculare valves

Valves between atria and ventricles

Author(s): Kinderherzstiftung, Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Sticker, Hermine Nock
Last updated: 2009-04-28