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Term Definition
Ankle-brachial index (ABI)

A simple comparison of blood pressure measurements in the arm and leg; used to diagnose peripheral artery disease

Annulus

A ring of fibrous tissue attached to the leaflets of a heart valve that helps to maintain the valve's structural integrity.

Anti-ischemic drugs

Drugs that widen blood vessels and increase blood flow to the heart. See Nitrates.

Antiarrhythmics

Drugs that control irregular heartbeats. Examples include amiodarone, lidocaine, and propafenone.

Anticardiolipin antibody (aCL)

a protein found in your blood that, at high levels, can make your blood more likely to clot

Anticoagulants

A group of medications used to keep new blood clots from forming and existing clots from growing; also known as blood thinners. The most common blood thinners include heparin, low-molecular weight heparin (LMWH), and warfarin (Coumadin).

Antihypertensives

Drugs used to lower high blood pressure.

Antiplatelets

Drugs that make the blood less sticky by preventing platelets from binding together, which helps prevent blood clots from forming. Aspirin, clopidogrel, and dipyridamole are the most common antiplatelets.

Antithrombins

A type of blood thinner that helps prevent blood clots from forming.

Anxiety

A state of fear, worry or uneasiness, sometimes about future events. When a specific fear triggers the anxiety, the condition is called phobic anxiety.

Aorta

The largest artery in the body. Oxygen-rich blood enters the aorta from the left ventricle of the heart and is then distributed to all parts of the body.

aortic aneurysm

A bulging out of the wall of the aorta caused by a weakened or diseased artery wall that stretches like a balloon under the pressure of blood pumped from the heart. Without treatment, an aortic aneurysm can rupture, causing massive internal bleeding that usually results in death.

aortic disease

A form of peripheral artery disease that affects the aorta, the largest artery in the body that runs through your chest and abdomen. The most common problem in the aorta is called an aortic aneurysm.

Aortic regurgitation (insufficiency)

Failure of the aortic valve to close properly, permitting some blood to flow backwards into the left ventricle instead of forward with each heartbeat.

Aortic stenosis

A narrowing or stiffness of the aortic valve causing blood flow to be obstructed. The heart must then work harder to pump blood.

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