Angiogenesis :

the development of new blood vessels

Angiography :
see Coronary Angiography

Angioplasty :

a procedure in which a special catheter with an inflatable balloon at one end is used to open blocked coronary arteries; technically termed percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) (also called balloon angioplasty)

Antianginal Agents :

the drugs that help reduce the number and severity of anginal attacks, by either dilating or widening the arteries so that more blood can flow to the heart, or by reducing the heart's demand for oxygen

Aorta :

the main artery in the body

Arrhythmia :

An irregularity of the heartbeat

Arteries :

the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body

Arteriosclerosis :

the buildup of fatty deposits (plaque) in blood vessels, leading to the gradual narrowing of those vessels and restricted blood flow

Atherectomy :

a procedure in which special cutting or grinding tools scrape plaque buildup around the artery walls

Atherosclerosis :

a type of arteriosclerosis in which the vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the heart become clogged with plaque, a fatty substance, and calcium, depriving the heart muscle of the oxygen it needs for normal functioning

Autologous transplant :

Transplanted tissue derived from the intended recipient of the transplant. Such a transplant helps avoid complications of immune rejection.

Biologics :

A classification of products derived from lining sources, such as humans, animals, bacteria and viruses. Vaccines, immune globulin and anti-toxins are biologics.

Canadian Heart Association Classification of Angina (CCS) :

an internationally-recognized system to classify severity of angina by class
The classification of angina pain using the CCS is:

  • No angina: no symptoms, even with strenuous exertion
  • Class I: angina pain results from strenuous exertion; normal activity does not cause pain
  • Class II: slight limitation of normal activity
  • Class III: marked limitation of normal activity
  • Class IV: any physical activity accompanied by pain; pain may be present at rest
Cardiac Catheterization :

a procedure using special tubing (catheters) to study the heart's chambers and vessels

Cardiomyocytes :

mature, differientiated heart muscle cells

Cholesterol :

a fatty substance that can accumulate in arteries leading to arthrosclerosis

Chondrocytes :

mature, differentiated cartilage cells

Chromosomes :

composed chiefly of DNA, they are the carrier of genes, the hereditary information

Congestive Heart Failure :

a common form of heart failure that causes fluid retention leading to congestion in the lungs and edema, especially in the legs and feet

Coronary Angiography, or Coronary Catheterization :

a diagnostic test in which contrast dye is injected into the coronary arteries to visualize and measure the degree of coronary artery disease and vessel blockage

Coronary Arteries :

arteries supplying blood to the muscular walls of the heart

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery (CABG) :

surgery to repair or replace blocked arteries and improve blood supply to the heart muscle; commonly known as bypass surgery, it involves the use of a vein (usually from the leg), or a chest artery to form a bridge to bring blood beyond the obstruction of the affected coronary artery

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) or coronary artery disease (CHD) :

the narrowing of the coronary arteries sufficiently to prevent adequate blood supply to the heart muscle; usually caused by atherosclerosis, and may progress to the point where the heart muscle is damaged due to lack of blood supply

Differentiate :

to undergo a cellular progression to a more specialized type

Diffuse Disease :

denotes blockage throughout several sites in a coronary artery

Diuretics :

Medications that help the kidneys eliminate salt and water from the bloodstream and increase the rate of urine formation. Commonly referred to as water pills, these medications reduce the amount of fluid patients retain

Drug Eluting Stent :

a stent coated with medication to help prevent reclosure of the coronary arteries (see stent)

Echocardiogram :

video or still frame recording of ultrasound waves that depict some of the structures of the heart or some of the blood flow within the heart

Electrocardiogram :

recording of the electrical impulses of the heart (also called ECG or EKG)

Embryo :

the early stages of development in an organism

Embryogenesis :

the process of embryo formation

End-Stage Coronary Artery Disease :

coronary artery disease for which drugs remain the only treatment option; characterized by unrelenting angina pain,severely restricted lifestyle; see also coronary artery disease

Feeder Layers of Irradiated Mouse Fibroblasts :

mouse cells which have been treated to prevent their division, but which produce important growth factors allowing ES cells to repopulate

Fibroblast Cells :

the cells that give rise to connective tissue

Gene Targeting :

the insertion of DNA into specific sites or genes within the genome of selected cells to alter gene expression for therapeutic applications

Genome :

the genetic material (complete set of chromosomes) of an organism

Genomic Technology :

the sequencing genes and their expression products

Growth Factors :

a group of substances produced by the body that stimulates the survival, proliferation, differentiation and function of specific cells or tissues in the body

Heart Attack :

see Myocardial Infarction

Heart-Lung Machine :

a mechanical pump that maintains circulation during heart surgery by shunting blood away from the heart, oxygenating it, and returning it to the body

Heart Failure :

a syndrome in which the heart isn't able to pump enough blood to meet the demands of the body

Hematopoietic :

pertaining to the formation of blood cells

HES Cells :

human embryonic stem cells; they are immortal (self-renewing), telomerase positive, and pluripotent

Homologous Recombination :

a process whereby a specific gene sequence within the genome is replaced with a related gene sequence using the cellular recombination enzymes

Hypertension :

high blood pressure

In Vitro :

performed in an artificial environment such as a test tube

In Vivo :

performed in a living organism

Infarction :

death of living cells because of insufficient blood supply

Inner Cell Mass :

performed in an artificial environment such as a test tube

Ischemia :

deficiency of oxygen in a tissue due to obstruction of a blood vessel, temporary damage to living cells due to insufficient blood supply

Ischemic Heart Disease :

Another name for coronary artery disease or coronary hear disease caused by narrowing of the coronary arteries and decreased blood flow to the heart

Islet Cells :

cells of the pancreas that produce and secrete insulin; degeneration of islet cells is the cause of Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus

Karyotype :

the chromosomal characteristics of a cell

Keratinocytes :

cells that synthesize keratin as in the skin, hair, and nails

Myocardial Infarction :

death of the heart muscle due to insufficient blood supply, usually due to clot obstructing blood flow (lay term: heart attack)

Myocardial Ischemia :

decreased blood flow to the heart caused by constriction or obstruction of an artery

Myocardium :

the muscle of the heart

Neovascularization :

the creation of new pathways for blood supply

Nitrates :

A form of vasodilator. Nitroglycerin is a commonly prescribed nitrate.

Nitroglycerin :

medication used to treat angina pain

Non-Invasive Procedure :

a procedure in which instruments do not enter the body (e.g. an electrocardiogram or echocardiogram)

Patent :

open and unobstructed, often in reference to flow through a blood vessel


an ancronym for Port Enabled Angina Relief with Laser, the PEARL products allow the use of minimally invasive heart surgery for TMR therapy

Percutaneous :

pertains to any medical procedure where access to inner organs or other tissue is done via needle-puncture of the skin, rather than by using an "open" approach where inner organs or tissue are exposed

Percutaneous Myocardial Channeling (PMC) :

A percutaneous version of TMR performed under local anesthesia by a cardiologist in a cardiac catheterization laboratory. Under investigation in the US, it is hoped PMC will provide the same degree of angina pain relief as the surgical versions of TMR.

Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA or balloon angioplasty) :

a non-invasive procedure in which a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) with a deflated balloon at the tip is maneuvered into a narrow artery and inflated to open a blocked artery and allow more blood to reach the heart muscle

Perfusion :

delivery of blood to the heart

Plaque :

fatty deposits that build up on the inner walls of blood vessels, leading to the gradual narrowing of these vessels throughout life

Pluripotent :

ability to develop into multiple cell types including all three embryonic lineages forming the body organs, nervous system, skin, muscle, and skeleton

Port-Access :

a method of entering the chest cavity through small incisions or ports

Prinzmetal's angina :

an unusual and uncommon form of angina caused by total blockage of coronary arteries due to spasm in which pain is experienced at rest rather than during activity

R Wave :

the point at which the heart is most electrically insensitive

Refractory :

a medical term referring to a patient who is unresponsive to a certain medicine or treatment

Revascularization :

establishes blood flow again to previously restricted regions of the heart

Severe Combined Immunodeficient (SCID) Mice :

mice with the majority of their immune defenses not functioning

Small-Vessel Disease :

denotes blockage in arteries which are unusually small; frequently seen in women, persons of small stature and diabetics

Stent :

a tube inserted into an abnormally narrowed or closed artery that serves to keep the artery open and maintain flow

Telomerase :

enzyme composed of a protein and an RNA template which synthesizes telomeric DNA at the ends of chromosomes and confers replicative immortality to cells

Telomeres :

the ends of chromosomes

Teratoma :

non-malignant tumor consisting of diffferent types of tissue caused by the growth of embryonic stem cells at an abnormal site in the body

Thoracoscopic :

minimally invasive surgery using an instrument fitted with a lighting system and camera, designed to access the chest cavity and allow treatment under visual control through ssmall puncture in the chest wall between the ribs

Thoracotomy :

surgical incision in the chest wall

Thrombolysis :

dissolving a blood clot (thrombus) in a blood vessel

Thrombus :

blood clot

Thoracotomy :

surgical incision in the chest wall

Thrombolysis :

dissolving a blood clot (thrombus) in a blood vessel

Thrombus :

blood clot

Totipotent :

ability of a cell to give rise to all cells and tissues in the body including the reproductive organs

Transmyocardial Revascularization (TMR) :

a therapeutic medical laser product in by which cannels are created into oxygen-deprived heart muscle to ease angina pain and stimulate new blood vessel growth

Trap Door :

potentially less invasive CABG method currently under investigation; involves a three-inch incision under the left breast (versus the usual 12-inch incision through the breastbone); trap door style CABG is also performed on a beating heart, eliminating the need for a heart-lung machine

Undifferentiated :

having no limited or specialized function or structure, as in stem cells

Vasodilators :

Medications that widen or relax the walls of blood vessels to allow the heart to work less. ACE inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers, nitrates and calcium channel blockers are vasodilators.

Ventricles :

the pumping chambers of the heart (left and right)

Zygote :

cell formed by union of two gametes male and female germ cells

Treatment Options:
Open Heart Surgery
Open-heart surgery is a surgical procedure that involves making a midline incision in the sternum (breast bone) to access the heart. The sternum is split in half and pulled back with retractors to expose the heart. The heart can then be placed on a bypass machine to keep oxygenated blood moving through the body, and further surgery on the heart can be performed.
Bypass Graft Surgery
Bypass graft surgery creates new pathways around narrowed or blocked arteries so that more blood and oxygen flows to the heart muscle or to the extremities. This surgery uses segments of veins or arteries taken from another part of the body to bypass arteries that are blocked or narrowed. It diverts blood flow past the blockage in the artery allowing more blood and oxygen to flow to the heart or extremities (legs or feet).
PTCA/PTA Procedure
Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) or percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) is a procedure that opens up narrowed or blocked segments of the arteries that supply blood to your heart muscle - the coronary arteries; or your legs and feet the peripheral arteries. A catheter with an empty balloon on its tip is guided into the narrowed part of the artery. The balloon is inflated to open the narrowed artery and flatten the plaque against the artery wall.
Stent Procedure
A stent is a small, self-expanding wire mesh tube that is used to keep an artery that has been narrowed by plaque buildup open. It is used in the procedure called balloon angioplasty. The stent is collapsed to a small diameter and put over a balloon catheter. It's then moved into the area of the blockage. When the balloon is inflated, the stent expands, locks in place and forms a "scaffold" that holds the artery open. The stent stays in the artery permanently, holding it open and improving blood flow through the artery. This relieves symptoms (usually chest pain).
Coronary & Peripheral Artery Disease
Coronary Arteries
The coronary arteries deliver blood from the aorta to the heart muscle. They include the right coronary artery (RCA), the left coronary artery and their branches.

Peripheral Arteries
The peripheral arteries carry blood outside of the heart and include the arteries that go to the legs, arms, feet, kidneys, stomach, and brain.

Atherosclerosis is a disease affecting blood vessels called arteries. Fatty material called plaque builds up within the inner lining of arteries. This reduces the amount of blood and oxygen that is delivered to vital organs. Atherosclerosis can occur anywhere in your body, but it is especially dangerous when it affects the arteries leading to your brain, heart, kidneys and legs.
Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease occurs when the arteries that supply blood to your heart become narrowed or blocked by fatty deposits called plaque. The narrowed arteries decrease the amount of blood and oxygen reaching your heart. If your heart does not receive enough oxygen, you may have chest pain (angina) or a heart attack.
Angina is a pain or discomfort in your chest caused by plaque (deposits of fats, cholesterol and other substances) that narrows the coronary arteries and reduces the amount of oxygen-rich blood that reaches the heart muscle. Source: American Heart Association.

Common Cardiac terms;

  • CABG : Coronary Artery Bypass Graft
  • MIDCAB : Minimal Invasive Direct Coronary Artery Bypass
  • OPCAB : Off Pump Coronary Artery Bypass
  • TMR :Trans Mayocardial Revascularisation.
  • PMR : Percutenous Mayocardial Revascularisation
  • LVAD : Left Ventricular Assist Device
  • RVAD : Right Ventricular Assist Device
  • BIVAD : Bi Ventricular Assist Device
  • VAD : Ventricular Assist Device
  • ASD : Atrial Septal Defect
  • VSD : Ventricular Septal Defect
  • PDA : Patent Ductus Arteriosus
  • PFO : Patent Foramen Ovale
  • IVUS : Intra Vaxular Ultra Sound
  • IABP : Intra Aortic Balloon Pump
  • CO : Cardiac Ouput
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