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Term Definition
Amino acid

The basic component of proteins.


a last-resource treatment for severe peripheral artery disease; performed when other treatments have failed and there is not enough blood flow to support limb tissue


a life-threatening allergic reaction that some women have to specific medications; symptoms include abdominal pain or cramping, confusion, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, dizziness/fainting, hives, nausea/vomiting, a rapid pulse, and a sensation of feeling the heart beat (palpitations); requires immediate medical treatment


A reduction in the normal amount of hemoglobin or red blood cells in the blood. It may be a consequence of iron deficiency or chronic bleeding.


A thin or weak spot in the wall of a blood vessel that balloons out and can burst, leaking blood into surrounding tissue. An aneurysm can occur in any artery or heart chamber. When it happens in the brain, it can result in a bleeding (hemorrhagic) stroke.

aneurysm repair

a procedure to treat an aortic aneurysm and prevent it from bursting; may be performed as a surgical procedure (“open” aneurysm repair) or an endovascular procedure (using a fabric tube with a wire mesh skeleton to strengthen the aorta from the inside)


A sense of suffocation or suffocating pain.

Angina pectoris

Chest pain that results when blood flow through the coronary arteries is insufficient to meet the oxygen needs of the heart. Often simply called angina. It is marked by pressure, squeezing, or general discomfort in the heart, breast, and neck, and can also spread to the back, shoulders, jaw, arm, and fingers. People experiencing angina may also feel light-headed and have an abnormally fast or irregular heartbeat. See Stable angina, Unstable angina, and Variant angina.


swelling of the lips and throat caused by fluid buildup underneath the deep layers of skin that requires immediate treatment; a side effect of some medications, particularly ACE inhibitors


The spontaneous or drug-induced growth of new blood vessels which may help to alleviate coronary artery disease by rerouting blood flow around clogged arteries.


An imaging procedure in which a contrast dye, visible on X-rays, is injected through catheters into blood vessels (such as the coronary arteries) to show abnormalities in vessel shape. The resulting X-ray image is called an angiogram.


A procedure in which a tiny balloon at the end of a catheter is inflated temporarily to push back plaque that has narrowed or blocked a blood vessel. Angioplasty is sometimes done before permanently implanting a tiny wire-mesh tube (stent) in a blood vessel to prop it open.


A chemical produced by the kidneys that circulates in the blood and constricts blood vessels, resulting in raised blood pressure.

Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)

Drugs that lower blood pressure by blocking the action of angiotensin II, a chemical that causes blood vessels to constrict. They are used to treat heart failure and high blood pressure.

Angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors

Drugs that block the production of angiotensin (a hormone involved in blood vessel constriction). They are used to treat congestive heart failure and high blood pressure.

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