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Heart Failure Health Center

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A Glossary of Heart Failure Terms

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Exercise Stress Echocardiogram (Stress Echo): A procedure that combines echocardiography with exercise to evaluate the heart's function at rest and with exertion. Echocardiography is an imaging procedure that creates a picture of the heart's movement, valves, and chambers using high-frequency sound waves that come from a hand held wand placed on your chest. Echo may be combined with Doppler ultrasound and color Doppler to evaluate blood flow across the heart's valves.

Exercise Stress Test: A test used to provide information about how the heart responds to stress. It usually involves walking on a treadmill or pedaling a stationary bike at increasing levels of difficulty, while the electrocardiogram, heart rate, and blood pressure are monitored.

Fat: A high-energy fuel source.

Fiber: An indigestible carbohydrate found in foods such as fruits and vegetables; aids in digestion.

Fibrillation: Abnormally rapid, inefficient contractions of the atria or ventricles. Ventricular fibrillation is life-threatening.

Flutter: One form of rapid heartbeat.

Free Mammary Artery Graft: When the surgeon removes the mammary artery from its origin to use it as a bypass graft.

Free Radical: A destructive fragment of oxygen produced as a by-product. Increased free radicals are thought to trigger atherosclerosis.

Glucose: Blood sugar.

Head Upright Tilt Test (HUT, tilt table test, head-up tilt test): A test used to determine the cause of fainting spells. The test involves being tilted at different angles for a period of time. Heart rhythm, blood pressure, and other measurements are evaluated with changes in position.

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 due to a blockage in a coronary artery.

Heart Block: An arrhythmia where the electrical current is slowed between the atria and ventricles. In more severe cases, conduction is blocked completely and a pacemaker is usually required..

Heart Failure (congestive heart failure, CHF): A condition where the heart muscle weakens and cannot pump blood efficiently, causing the body to retain salt and fluids. Fluid accumulates in the lungs, hands, ankles, or other parts of the body.

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