Most heart patients are on angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. They can help control symptoms and may slow the advance of the disease. ACE inhibitors reduce the heart's workload by make the blood vessels expand, which lowers blood pressure. They also reduce the tendency to retain salt and fluid.
Angiotensin II receptor blockers
Similar to ACE inhibitors, these are used to keep blood pressure from rising. They lower blood pressure without lowering heart rate
An irregular heartbeat that's abnormally slow (bradycardia) or too fast (tachycardia).
One of the two upper chambers of the heart. The left atrium fills with oxygenated blood from the lungs. The right atrium fills with deoxygenated blood returning from the body.
Help control heart rate and reduce the heart's tendency to beat faster. They improve survival in heart failure patients.and are used in combination with diuretics, digoxin, and ACE inhibitors.
Used to reduce risk of blood clots in legs, lungs and heart.
Calcium channel blockers
Sometimes used to help lower blood pressure and improve blood circulation in the heart
A heart procedure used to diagnose heart disease. A catheter (inserted into an artery in your arm or leg) is guided to your heart, contrast dye is injected, and X-rays of the coronary arteries, heart chambers, and valves are taken.
Cardiac resynchronization therapy
Implantable device therapy for people with moderate to severe heart failure who also have ventricular dysynchrony. Helps the lower chambers of the heart (left and right ventricles) beat together again.
Specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases of the heart and blood vessels.
A degenerative disease of the heart's muscle tissue
Conversion of an abnormal cardiac rhythm to a normal one either by the use of medication or by the application of electric shock, as with a defibrillator.
Congestive heart failure
A term often used to describe heart failure
Coronary artery disease
Chronic condition in which a clogged artery prevents the heart from receiving sufficient blood
Diuretics (water pills)
A medication prescribed for fluid buildup and swelling. They cause the kidneys to remove more sodium and water than usual from the bloodstream. With less blood to pump, the heart has to work less. Also decreases fluid buildup in lungs, ankles, legs and other parts of the body.
Digitalis (or digoxin)
A medication that increases the force of the heart's contractions to relieve heart failure symptoms. Slows certain types of arrhythmia.
shortness of breath, one of the classic symptoms of heart failure.
Echocardiogram (or "echo")
A test that provides a measurement of how well your heart is pumping and is a key indicator of your heart's function.
Physician who performs cardiovascular examinations using echocardiograms to produce a picture of a heart and great vessels using high-frequency sound waves.
Abnormal accumulation of excess fluid in the intercellular tissue spaces.
Ejection fraction (EF)
The percentage of blood pumped to the body by the left ventricle during every heartbeat. People with a normal, healthy heart typically have an ejection fraction of 55 percent or greater. An ejection fraction of 40 percent or less indicates a weakened heart.
A test that records the electrical activity of the heart, revealing evidence of previous heart attack, enlargement of the heart and abnormal rhythms.
Electrophysiologist (EP) or heart rhythm specialist
A cardiologist with specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm problems.
A rare but serious infection of the lining of the heart or heart valves, which can cause the heart to work less efficiently.
Heart failure specialist
A cardiologist who focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure.
Infection of the heart's muscle tissue, which inflames the heart and makes it unable to pump as efficiently.
NYHA Class I, II, III, IV
A classification system developed by the New York Heart Association widely used to diagnose the functional class, or severity, of heart failure based on symptoms one experiences with exertion. NYHA Class I, II are "mild," Class III is "moderate to severe," and Class IV is "severe" heart failure.
Helps control heart rhythm and is important to the nervous system and muscles. Diuretics remove potassium, so doctors may advise some patients to increase potassium intake or to take supplements.
Accumulation of fluid in the lungs usually due to heart failure.
Medications that cause the blood vessels to widen or relax so blood can flow more easily. ACE inhibitors are one type of vasodilators. These can help relieve symptoms and improve tolerance for exercise. Can also be used to reduce chest pain.
One of the two lower chambers of the heart, which are responsible for pumping. The right ventricle pumps oxygen-filled blood to the body. The left ventricle pumps blood to the lungs where the blood exchanges carbon dioxide for oxygen.
A condition where the lower chambers of the heart do not beat at the same time due to a delay in the electrical conduction system. It affects about 30% of moderate to severe heart failure patients.
Ventricular fibrillation (VF)
A heart rhythm disorder originating in the ventricles. An abnormally rapid heart rhythm that is unstable and irregular. Electronic signals move through the heart erratically and prevent it from beating properly. Patient may feel faint. If untreated, may cause cardiac arrest.
Ventricular tachycardia (VT)
A heart rhythm disorder originating in the ventricles. Rapid contractions prevent the heart from filling adequately with blood between beats. Patient may feel faint, become dizzy or collapse. Can be life threatening if not treated.
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