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A Glossary of Heart Failure Terms

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Platelets: Components of blood that aid in clotting.

Positron Emission Tomography (PET or cardiac viability study): An imaging procedure that uses radioactive tracers to create 3-dimensional pictures of the tissues inside of the body and can monitor metabolic processes.

Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs): An irregular heartbeat in which the lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles) beat before they are supposed to.

Prophylaxis: The prevention of disease.

Pulmonary Edema: An abnormal swelling of tissue in the lungs due to fluid build-up. This condition often causes shortness of breath.

Pulmonary Hypertension: Pulmonary hypertension is high blood pressure of the pulmonary arteries.

Pulmonic Valve: The last valve through which the blood passes before it enters pulmonary artery from the right ventricle.

Pulse Rate: The number of heartbeats per minute. The resting pulse rate for an average adult is between 60 and 80 beats per minute.

Radial Artery: The radial artery is a blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood in the forearm. You can feel the pulse of the radial artery by feeling the inside of the wrist underneath the base of the thumb.

Radionuclide Study (MUGA): See MUGA above.

Regurgitation: Leaking or backward flow.

Restenosis: The closing or narrowing of an artery that was previously opened by a cardiac procedure such as angioplasty.

Rheumatic Fever: Rheumatic fever is an inflammatory reaction that can involve the heart as a consequence of streptococcal infection.

Rheumatic Heart Disease: Rheumatic fever can lead to a condition known as rheumatic heart disease. This is usually a thickening and stenosis of one or more of the heart valves and often requires surgery to repair or replace the involved valve(s).

Rheumatic Valve Disease: Rheumatic valve disease is a consequence of rheumatic fever. Rheumatic valve disease is a thickening and stenosis of one or more of the heart valves and often requires surgery to repair or replace the affected valve(s). The valve could become leaky instead of stenotic as well.

Right Ventricular Biopsy: The removal of a small piece of heart tissue from your right ventricle. This tissue sample is studied under a microscope to help your doctor assess your heart muscle.

Risk Factor (for heart disease): Traits people have that are linked to the development and progression of coronary artery disease. There are modifiable risk factors -- related to lifestyle and may be changed or controlled -- and non-modifiable risk factors -- related to aging and genetics and cannot be changed.

Rotoblation (Percutaneous Transluminal Rotational Atherectomy or PCRA): A special catheter, with an acorn-shaped diamond-coated tip, is guided to the point of narrowing in the coronary artery. The tip spins around at a high speed and grinds away the plaque on the artery walls. The microscopic particles are washed safely away in your blood stream and filtered out by the liver and spleen. This process is repeated as needed to allow better blood flow. PCRA is rarely performed now.

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