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Term Definition
Aortic valve

One of four heart valves that maintains the one-way flow of blood from the heart into the aorta. This valve works like a trap door that opens when blood is ejected from the left ventricle and shuts as blood pressure falls.

Aphasia

difficulty speaking, writing, or comprehending language; often a result of brain damage caused by a stroke

Apo-B

Apolipoprotein B, the protein part of LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Arrhythmia

Irregular heartbeat.

Arterial lumen

The channel through which blood flows in the artery.

Arterial pressure line

A catheter placed in an artery of the arm that is used to monitor blood pressure after heart surgery.

Arteries

Strong, elastic blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart to the rest of the body.

Arterioles

The smallest branches of the arteries.

Arteriosclerosis

A general term that describes the inflammation, thickening, and hardening of the arteries.

Arteriovenous malformation (AVM)

An inborn defect in blood vessels in which arteries and veins are abnormally tangled, causing them to expand and, eventually, burst and leak blood. When this happens in the brain, it can cause a bleeding (hemorrhagic) stroke.

ascites

swelling in the abdomen; a sign of fluid buildup caused by heart failure

Aspirin

A combination pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, and antiplatelet that is used to prevent heart attacks.

Asymptomatic

Not displaying any symptoms of a disease.

Ataxia

Problems coordinating movements

Atherectomy

A procedure that uses tiny devices attached to the tip of a catheter to shave off and remove plaque in order to widen blocked coronary arteries. See also Directional atherectomy, Rotational atherectomy and Transluminal extraction catheters.

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