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

Build-up of calcium, eg in vessels

Cardiac arrhythmias

Deviation from normal rhythm or heart rate distinction between tachycardic CA (rapid CA) and bradycardic CA (slow CA)

Cardiac catheter examination

Diagnostic procedure in which a thin plastic tube (catheter) is inserted into an arm or leg vessel (usually in the area of the groin; left heart catheter in an artery, right heart catheter in a vein). Used to measure pressure in the cardiac chambers, as contrast medium imaging of the coronary vessels and cardiac chambers and for measuring oxygen content

Cardiac hypertrophy

Thickening of the cardiac muscle

Cardiac output

The volume of blood being pumped by the heart per minute Normal: 5 - 6 liter per minute in adults

Cardiac surgery

- off-pump surgery: procedure carried out on a beating heart, e.g. closure of a ductus arteriosus or placement of an aortopulmonary shunt
- open-heart surgery: cardiac surgery using a heart-lung machine

Cardiac valve defect

Insufficiency or stenosis of a cardiac valve; can slowly lead to cardiac insufficiency and myocardial hypertrophy

Cardiac valve prothesis

Substitute for a heart valve  
1. biological heart valves (porcine valves, bovine/patient pericard)
2. mechanical valves (from metal, plastic or carbon fibres)
3. human valves (from the deceased (homograft))

Cardiac valves

One-way valve at the entrance to and exit from the right and left heart
1. tricuspid valve (between the right atrium and the right ventricle)
2. pulmonary valve (between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery)
3. mitral valve (between the left atrium and the left ventricle)
4. aortic valve (between the left ventricle and the aorta)

Cardiogenic shock

Collapse of the circulatory system due to inadequate cardiac function, e.g. following a heart attack


Abnormal enlargement of the heart


(Usually) chronic disease of the heart muscle without cardiac circulatory disorders; the heart muscle loses the ability to pump blood effectively. There are different types:
1. hypertrophic (obstructive) C., with enlargement of the muscle mass of the heart
2. dilated C., the heart cavity is enlarged
3. restrictive C., reduction in the size of the heart cavity due to deposits on the myocardium


Artificially induced cardiac arrest during open-heart surgery brought about with the infusion of a cold special compound


Relating to the heart and blood vessels


See defibrillation


Myocarditis, inflammation of the heart

Carotic artery
arteria carotis

Great artery supplying the head and neck


Opacity/clouding of the lens of the eye


Thin plastic tube for insertion into cavities or vessels, e.g. cardiac catheter examination


E.g. insertion of a cardiac catheter


See vena cava

Cava catheter
central venous catheter

Cardiac catheter that can be inserted at various positions along the vena cava. Serves the measurement of pressure ratios and the administration of certain drugs (e.g. antibiotics, drip-feed)

Caval vein
cava, vena cava

The superior caval vein transports deoxygenated blood from the upper body (head, arms, thoracic aorgans), the inferior caval vein from the lower body (legs, visceral organs) to the right atrium.

Cavopulmonary anastomosis

Surgical connection created between the upper caval vein and the pulmonary artery to improve pulmonary circulation in congenital heart defect

Central venous catheter

A needle or short catheter is inserted via a vein (usually in the neck) and pushed through a great vessel toward the heart. This is done e.g. prior to surgery, to allow any necessary blood samples to be taken afterwards.


Congenital heart defect

Chorionic villus biopsy

Removal of tissue from the part of the uterus from which the placenta develops

Chromosome aberration

Deviation or mutation of chromosome


Means by which hereditary information is carried


Effusion of chyle (lymph) in the pleural cavity caused by traumatic injury to the thoracic duct

circulatory system

The left ventricle pumps oxygenated blood with high pressure via the aorta into the circulatory system

Clubbing/finger C./digital C.

Thickening and widening of the end part of the finger as a possible result of persistent cyanosis (see also hippocratic nails)


Constriction, usually as coarctatio aortae in connection with aortic isthmus stenosis


Metal spiral used to create an angiolysis, on which a blood clot can form

Coil embolisation

Obstruction of a blood vessel or organ (embolisation) with the aid of a metal spiral and the cardiac catheter method (e.g. ductus arteriosus Botalli)


Small subsidiary blood vessels that serve the same area as the main vessels; they maintain the blood supply if the main vessels are interrupted (collateral circulation = bypass circulation)

Colour Doppler

Doppler examination with colour-coding


Line along which the cusps or leaflets of the cardiac valves join when the valve is closed


Surgical separation of cardiac valve commissure in congenital or acquired accretion

Complete atrio-ventricular septal defect (CAVSD)

A hole in the junction of the upper and lower chambers of the heart and (varying) abnormality of the valves between the atria and ventricles

Compound heart defect

Heart defect comprising a number of different cardiac and/or vascular anomalies 

Computed tomography

Non-invasive imaging method (radiological layer imaging), particularly to show the size and structure of the inner organs and skeleton

Conduction system

Controls the rhythmical movement of the heart muscle. The sinus node is referred to as the pacemaker of the heart; it is here that the impulse normally arises. The stimulus reaches the AV node via the atrial muscles, then follows the bundle of His, runs in the right bundle branch to the cardiac apex and is distributed along the Purkinje fibres to the ventricular muscle causing it to contract


Extracardiac artificial vascular implant (stent) that connects a cardiac chamber to a blood vessel. These are non-growing implants. They are available with and without prosthetic valves. 


Flowing together


Link, e.g. between atria and ventricle (= atrio-ventricular/AV) or between ventricle and artery (= ventriculoarterial/V-A)


Relating to the region of the outflow path from the cardiac chambers

Conotruncal heart malformations

A group of heart defects involving the left and right outflow tracts as well as the great arteries, e.g. interrupted aortic arch, truncus arteriosus communis, tetrology of Fallot, DORV, pulmonary atresia with VSD


The ability of the cardiac muscle to contract


Tightening of a muscle, e.g. cardiac muscle

Coronary arteries

Blood vessels that encircle the heart muscle and supply it via capillaries with blood and nutrients

Coronary arteries / coronary vessels

Blood vessels that supply blood to the heart, left and right CA (with branches)

Coronary sinus

Part of the great cardiac vein on the atrial-ventricular border on the posterior cardiac surface into which most of the cardiac veins flow and that empties into the right atrium

Correction/corrective surgery

Operation aimed at achieving a state comparable to that of a healthy heart (as opposed to palliative surgery)

Cor triatriatum

There are effectively three atria; the left atrium is usually subdivided by an incomplete septum into an upper (where the pulmonary veins enter) and lower (with the mitral valve) part

Coumarin treatment

Permanent treatment with the anticoagulant drug coumarin (Marcumar® / Falithrom®). Can cause thrombosis formation, e.g. on an artificial cardiac valve. Monitoring with certain Quick values or INR values.


Tomografía computarizada 


Monitoring of the foetal heart rate and uterine contractions

central venous catheter

See cava catheter


Bluish colouring of the skin owing to oxygen deficiency, usually as a result of a congenital heart defect. Some of the deoxygenated blood flowing back to the heart from the body does not flow into the lung to absorb oxygen but flows instead through a hole in the septum, directly from the right to the left side of the heart and back into the systemic circulation

Cyanotic cardiac defect

E.g. tetralogy of Fallot, tricuspid atresia, TGA, pulmonary atresia. Cyanosis is caused, in particular, by stenoses with subsequent reduction of pulmonary blood supply and mixing of deoxygenated and oxygenated blood


Cytomegaly is an infection caused by the human herpes virus (HHV-5). Following infection, the virus is latent in the human organism for an entire lifetime. In 99% of all cases the initial infection with cytomegalovirus shows few or no symptoms and often goes unnoticed by the person that has been infected.

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