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Term Definition
Radioactive tracer

A low-dose radioactive dye or contrast dye injected into a blood vessel as part of an imaging procedure. It can be taken orally or injected.


A radioactive substance. Also known as an isotope.

Radionuclide scan

A test in which a radioisotope is injected and tracked by a gamma camera. It can be used to evaluate blood flow to the heart and the functioning of its chambers and can also detect areas of heart muscle damage.

Red blood cell

See Erythrocyte.

Regurgitation (insufficiency)

Backflow of blood that occurs when a heart valve is damaged and does not close properly.

renal artery stenosis (RAS)

see “kidney (renal) artery disease”


An enzyme mainly secreted by the kidneys that is needed for regulating blood pressure.

Reperfusion therapy

Any therapy or treatment that restores blood flow to any area of the body that was suffering from a lack of oxygen from a decreased blood flow. Examples include angioplasty or clot busters.

Rescue angioplasty

Angioplasty performed after a clot buster treatment has failed.


The closing or narrowing of an artery that was previously widened by a cardiac procedure.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy

A disease in which the heart muscle stiffens and thickens, leading to ineffective pumping. In most cases, it is brought on by other diseases that cause abnormal deposits or inflammation in the heart muscle.

Reynolds risk score

A tool used to estimate a woman's risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years


A potentially fatal condition in which muscle cells break down and release their contents into the bloodstream. It is a rare side effect of some cholesterol drugs (e.g., statins).

right-sided heart failure

heart failure that affects the right side of the heart, which receives deoxygenated blood from the body and pumps it to the lungs to pick up oxygen; usually happens as a result of left-sided heart failure

Risk factor

A condition or behavior that increases the likelihood of a disease or injury, including one's lifestyle choices and family history. When referring to the heart and blood vessels, a risk factor is associated with an increased chance of developing cardiovascular disease.

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