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Glossary of Terms

Aneurysm - A stretching of a weakened artery, which balloons out, making it likely to burst.

Angioplasty - The use of a small balloon on the tip of a catheter inserted into a blood vessel to open up an area of blockage.

Aortic Aneurysm - A weakened and bulging area in the aorta, the major blood vessel that delivers blood to the body. The aorta extends from the heart through the center of the chest and abdomen. Because the aorta is the body's main supplier of blood, an aortic aneurysm can cause life-threatening bleeding.

Artery - A blood vessel carrying oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body. 

Atherosclerosis - A disease where blood flow in an artery is restricted by a plaque deposit. This build-up means that less oxygen and other nutrients are able to reach the organs supplied by that artery.

Balloon - A small, inflatable balloon-like device on a catheter. The balloon is inflated in order to compress the plaque against the artery wall to create a larger opening.

Capillaries - Tiny blood vessels between arteries and veins that distribute oxygen-rich blood to the body.

Cardiac Catheterization - A diagnostic procedure in which a tiny, hollow tube (catheter) is advanced from a vessel in the groin through the aorta and into the heart to create images of the heart and blood vessels.

Cardiovascular - Pertaining to the heart and blood vessel (circulatory) system.

Carotid Artery - The major arteries in the neck that supply blood to the brain.

Catheter - A thin plastic tube used to provide access to small parts of the body such as arteries and other vessels.

Cerebral Thrombosis - The formation of a blood clot in an artery that supplies blood to the brain.

Cholesterol - A waxy substance that occurs naturally in the human body, animal fats, and in dairy products and is transported in the blood. High-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (HDL) - Good cholesterol. It removes cholesterol from artery walls and protects against heart disease. Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (LDL) - Bad cholesterol. It deposits on the walls of blood vessels, and can lead to atherosclerosis and heart disease.

Circulatory System - Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels, and the circulation of blood.

Computed Tomography Scan (CT or CAT scan) - A diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs.

Embolus - A clot or other obstruction brought by the blood from one vessel and forced into another.

Endarterectomy - A surgical technique whereby an artery is opened in order to facilitate the removal of plaque.

Endovascular Procedure- a percutaneous, minimally invasive procedure using a stent or a balloon or a stent graft.

Fibromuscular Dysplasia - An arterial occlusive disease in children or young adults caused by the abnormal formation of the smooth muscle cells in arteries during development.

Hypertension - Arterial disease in which chronic high blood pressure is the primary symptom. Abnormally high blood pressure .

Ischemia - A deficiency of blood supply to an area of tissue.

Lumen - The inner channel of the artery where blood flows.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

Marfan Syndrome - A hereditary connective tissue disorder causing bone elongation and heart defects.

Occlusion - A complete obstruction of an artery.

Percutaneous - Through the skin.

Peripheral Arterial Disease - A common disorder that occurs in the artery segments of the circulatory system (legs, pelvis, neck, and brain). The artery wall linings slowly become narrowed and clots form due to built-up cholesterol or plaque. Blockages in the heart and brain have the potential for death from heart attack and stroke.

Plaque - An accumulation of calcium, cell debris, fatty deposits, cholestrol and/or collagen in the arteries. This usually leads to a narrowing of the lumen.

Renal Vascular Disease: also called "renovascular disease;" includes problems with blood flow to the kidneys.

Renovascular Hypertension - A narrowing of the arteries that carry blood to the kidneys. Renovascular hypertension is a form of secondary hypertension. Most forms of hypertension are considered "essential," and the cause is unknown. But a small number of high blood pressure patients have "secondary hypertension," which means an underlying disease is identified as the cause.

Restenosis - A recurrent narrowing of the artery due to scar tissue or new plaque build-up after correction of the original narrowing with surgery, angioplasty and/or stent placement.

Revascularization : Procedures to restore blood flow to an organ or an extremity.

Stenosis - Narrowing of the artery.

Stent - An expandable metal or alloy mesh tube that pushes open an artery in order to maintain healthy blood flow through the opened artery.

Stroke - Any disorder of the blood supply to the brain resulting in insufficient oxygen and nutrients with subsequent damage to brain tissue.

Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm - A localized expansion of the wall of the aorta. Thoracic aortic aneurysms are caused by hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), high blood pressure (hypertension), or congenital disorders such as Marfan's syndrome.

Thrombus - A thickening of the blood leading to clot formation.

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) - A stroke-like event that often clears up within 24 hours. Neurological symptoms may appear suddenly and can affect the ability to move or feel on one side of the body. Speech and vision can also be impaired along with sudden confusion and difficulty speaking.

Transluminal - Within the inner channel of the artery.

Ultrasound - A diagnostic technique which uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the internal organs.

Varicose Vein - A vein that has become dilated, bulging and twisted.

Vascular spasm - A vascular spasm is a sudden, brief tightening of a blood vessel. Vascular spasms can temporarily reduce blood flow to tissues supplied by that vessel.

Veins : Blood vessels that carry the blood from the body back to the heart.

Vessels : The tube-like structures in the circulatory system that are responsible for circulating blood within the body. The three kinds of vessels are arteries, veins and lymphatics. Capillaries are the microscopic structures that connect arteries and veins at the tissues.

X-ray - a diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.

 

The Hoffman Heart and Vascular Institute of Connecticut
114 Woodland Street
Hartford, CT 06105
877-783-7262