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Term Definition
C-reactive protein (CRP)

A protein that is increased in the blood when there is inflammation somewhere in the body. An elevated CRP level may indicate an increased risk of heart disease.


A process in which tissue becomes hardened due to deposits of calcium. In the blood vessels, it can contribute to atherosclerosis.

Calcium-channel blockers

Drugs that slow heart rate and relax blood vessels by modifying the flow of calcium into the cells of the heart and blood vessels. They are used to treat angina and high blood pressure.


The smallest blood vessels. They connect arteries and veins and are the site where oxygen, nutrients, and wastes are exchanged between the cells and the blood.

Cardiac arrest

When the heartbeat deteriorates, stops, or fibrillates and the heart becomes unable to maintain blood pressure, resulting in a loss of consciousness. Because death will occur within minutes without resuscitation, cardiac arrest is also known as sudden cardiac death.

Cardiac catheterization

The insertion of a catheter, usually through a blood vessel in the groin, into the heart's chambers in order to visualize the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart.

cardiac dyssynchrony

when the two main pumping chambers of the heart (the left and right ventricles) fall out of sync and do not contract together at the same time; common in women with heart failure; it can be treated with Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT)

Cardiac rehabilitation

A medically supervised program to help heart patients recover quickly and improve their overall physical and mental functioning. It involves exercise, nutritional counseling, and stress management.

cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT)

a special pacemaker that coordinates the two sides of the heart so they beat together at the same time; used to treat cardiac dyssynchrony that is common in women with heart failure

Cardioembolic stroke

A stroke caused by a blood clot that formed in the heart and traveled through the bloodstream to the brain.

Cardiogenic shock

A condition that is caused most often by a heart attack that has damaged the heart muscle to the point that it cannot pump blood normally. As a result, the body may go into this shock-like state.


A physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disorders. See also Interventional cardiologist.


The branch of medicine that deals with the functions of the heart and blood vessels.


An enlarged or thickened heart.


heart muscle disease; a common cause of heart failure; can be caused by viral infections, toxic substances, certain chemotherapy drugs, inherited genetic defects, or other unknown cause; see Dilated cardiomyopathy and Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

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