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Cardiovascular Areas - Glossary

Anaemia: clinical condition characterised by reduced haemoglobin concentration, reduced erythrocyte count, with typical features such as pallor, asthenia.
Anamnesis: collection by the doctor of all the anagraphic, and normal and pathological, personal and family clinical information of the patient, obtained through a clinical pre-examination discussion in order to reach a more accurate diagnosis.
Angina pectoris: strong constrictive-type chest pain radiating from the shoulder and left arm. Often the result of insufficient blood supply to the coronaries (coronary ischaemia) due to arteriosclerosis, which may or may not be associated with other disorders.
Anoxia: lack of oxygen in the circulating blood or tissues.
Arrhythmia: alteration of heart rate.
Arterial hypertension: abnormally high pressure inside the systemic arterial circulation.
Arterial pressure: blood pressure of the arterial system.
Artery: vessel transporting the generally-oxygenated blood from the heart to the tissues.
Atherosclerosis: vascular disease characterised by deposition on the inner vessel wall of lipid plaques (atheromas) of various sizes which may sometimes lead to the formation of intravascular clots (thrombi).

Beat: heart pulsation.
Blood: red liquid which flows inside the circulatory system and is made up of plasma plus cell elements such as red cells (erythrocytes), white cells (leukocytes) and platelets.
Bradycardia: low heart rate ( less than 60 beats per minute in the adult).

Capillaries: minute peripheral blood vessels which allow the exchange of nutritional substances or oxygen with organs.
Cardiac hypertrophy: increase in heart volume.
Cardiac infarction: process of cell death of the heart tissue, which may be fatal or non-fatal, due to sudden interruption of nutritional blood supply to the heart.
Cardiopathy: any disease involving the heart.
Cholesterol: fatty substance normally present in the blood (cholesterolaemia); high values of cholesterolaemia constitute a cardiovascular risk factor.
Circulation: movement of the blood within the cardiovascular system.
Coronaries: arteries having the function of maintaining the heart nutritional blood flow.
Coronary bypass: surgical procedure which creates an artificial passage by implanting vein or artery segments onto the coronaries, thus allowing the blood to pass through narrowed (stenosed) or occluded sections and an adequate blood supply to the heart to be restored.
Cyanosis: bluish colour of the skin (especially fingers and toes) when it is supplied with non-oxygenated or poorly-oxygenated blood.

Diastole: stage of the heart cycle characterised by relaxation of the heart muscle.
Diuresis: urinary excretion.
Dyspnea: difficulty in breathing, often due to heart disease, which is most commonly manifested during physical exercise.

Ecocardiogram (Doppler): cardiological diagnostic method using ultrasound.
Electrocardiogram (ECG): diagnostic technique based on recording of heart electrical activity.

Haematuria: presence of blood in the urine.
Haemoglobin: substance present in the red cells which is responsible for some cases of serious arterial hypertension.
Haemorrhage: leakage of blood from blood vessels.
Heart failure: incapacity of the damaged heart to maintain adequate circulatory flow.
Heart murmur: continuous, prolonged sound which can be heard on the precordial area at auscultation.
Heart output: the volume of blood expelled by the heart in one minute. It corresponds to approx. 5-5.5 litres and may also be called heart capacity.
Heart rate: regular beating of heart pulsations.
Heart: hollow organ which causes blood to circulate inside the vessels by the contractions of its walls.
Hypertensive nephropathy: disease of the kidneys following prolonged hypertensive disease.

Obesity: condition of excessive accumulation of body fat. Constitutes a cardiovascular risk factor.
Oedema: accumulation of liquids in the tissues; oedema of the ankles is typical of heart disease. all'interno della cavità toracica, il cuore ed i grossi vasi.

Pericarditis: inflammation of the pericardium.
Pericardium: fibroserous sac surrounding the heart and part of the large vessels inside the thoracic cavity.
Pheochromocytoma: tumour of the adrenal gland which is responsible for some cases of serious arterial hypertension
Phlebitis: inflammation of a vein.
Plasma: liquid part of the blood in which the corpuscles are suspended.

Sphygmomanometer: instrument consisting of an inflatable armband which is applied to the lower third of the arm and a manometer, used to measure the blood pressure.
Syncope: temporary loss of consciousness due to sudden reduction of blood supply to the brain.
Systolic output: the volume of blood expelled by the heart at each contraction.

Tachycardia: rapid heart rate, over 100 beats per minute.
Thrombus: semisolid aggregate of blood cells, platelets and fibrin (clot) in intravascular site.

Vein: vessel which transports generally non-oxygenated blood from the peripheral tissues or organs to the heart.
Vessel (arterial or venous): duct transporting arterial or venous blood along the circulation.

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