I had my first heart attack 26 years ago, when I was 52. I was very active
then, sometimes jogging and often walking long distances. But I was also on the
congressional staff in Washington, and the day leading up to the attack was
even more hectic than usual. My boss was introducing major legislation, and I
had crafted an important floor speech. I didn’t have time for regular meals and
ate a huge cheeseburger for dinner, then smoked three or four cigarettes.
It happened about 3 in the morning...
Calcium-channel blocker -- A drug that lowers blood pressure and and may slow heart rate to control chest pain. The drug works by blocking the uptake of calcium in the cells.
Cardiac Catheterization (angiogram) -- A test used to diagnose heart disease. During the procedure a catheter is inserted into an artery, usually in the leg or arm, and contrast dye is injected into the arteries and heart. X-rays of the arteries and heart are taken.
Catheter -- A slender, hollow, flexible tube.
Coronary artery disease -- A buildup of fatty material in the wall of the coronary artery that causes narrowing of the artery.
Dyspnea -- Shortness of breath.
Electrocardiogram(ECG, EKG) -- The EKG records on graph paper the electrical activity of the heart detected through small electrode patches attached to the skin.
Heart attack (myocardial infarction) -- Permanent damage to the heart muscle caused by a lack of blood supply to the heart for an extended time period. The severity of damage varies from mild to severe.
Heart-lung (cardiopulmonary) bypass machine -- A machine that oxygenates the blood and circulates it throughout the body during heart bypass surgery.
Heart surgery -- Heart surgery is any surgery that involves the heart or heart valves.
Ischemia -- Condition in which not enough oxygen-rich blood is supplied to the heart muscle to meet the heart's needs.
Off-pump heart surgery -- Heart surgery done without the use of the cardiopulmonary bypass machine.
Plaque -- Deposits of fats, inflammatory cells, proteins, and calcium along the lining of arteries, caused by atherosclerosis. The plaque builds up and narrows the artery.