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Heart Failure Health Center

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A Glossary of Heart Failure Terms


Cardiac Output: The amount of blood pumped by the heart each minute.

Cardiac Rehabilitation: A structured program of education and activity guided toward lifestyle modification, increasing functional capabilities and peer support.

Cardiologist: Doctor specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease.

Cardiomyopathy: An abnormal heart condition in which the heart is dilated (poor pumping power), restrictive (impaired ability of the heart to fill) and hypertrophic (thickened).

Cardiopulmonary Resusitation (CPR): A technique designed to temporarily circulate oxygenated blood through the body of a person whose heart has stopped. It involves assessing the airway; if necessary breathing for the person; determining if the person is without a pulse; and if necessary, applying pressure to the chest to circulate blood.

Cardiovascular: Relates to the heart and blood vessels.

Cardioversion: A procedure used to convert an irregular heart rhythm to a normal heart rhythm by applying electric shock or using certain medications.

Carotid Artery: A vessel that supplies the brain with oxygenated blood.

Carotid Artery Disease: A progressive disease that involves the buildup of fatty material and plaque in the carotid arteries; can lead to a stroke.

Catheter: A slender, hollow, flexible tube.

Chest X-ray (CXR, chest film): A very small amount of radiation is used to produce an image of the structures of the chest (heart, lungs, and bones) on film.

Cholesterol: A fatty substance made by the body and found in some foods. Cholesterol is deposited in the arteries in coronary artery disease.

Chordae Tendinae: Thin chords that provide support to the tricuspid and mitral valves of the heart helping them to open and shut properly.

Clubbing: An abnormality where the ends of the fingers and toes enlarge and the nails curve; often it is related to an inadequate oxygen-rich blood supply, however it can be hereditary and completely normal. Often seen with congenital heart defects, but also seen in other conditions.

Coarctation of the Aorta: A severe narrowing of the aorta, causing a decrease in blood flow to the lower part of the body. This narrowing is a congenital defect and can be corrected with surgery and sometimes with balloon dilation.

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