A Glossary of Heart Failure Terms
Edema: Swelling; the accumulation of fluids, usually in the hands, feet, or abdomen.
Ejection Fraction (EF): The amount of blood -- given as a percentage -- pumped out of a ventricle during each heartbeat. The ejection fraction evaluates how well the heart is pumping. Normal ejection fractions range from 55% to 65%.
Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG): The ECG records on graph paper the electrical activity of the heart using small electrode patches attached to the skin.
Electrolyte: One of the substances in the blood that helps to regulate the proper balance of body fluids. Examples of electrolytes include sodium and potassium.
Electrophysiology (EP) Study: An EP study is a test that evaluates the electrical activity within your heart. This test is used to help your doctor find out the cause of your rhythm disturbance and the best treatment for you. During the test, your doctor may safely reproduce your abnormal heart rhythm, then give you medications to see which one controls it best.
Embolus: A blood clot that moves through the blood stream.
Endocarditis: An infection of the inner lining of the heart or its valves. It is usually caused by bacteria and is more likely to occur in people who have heart valve defects or have had heart surgery to treat valve disease.
Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP): A treatment for those with symptomatic coronary artery disease (also called refractory angina), not eligible for standard treatments of revascularization (such as bypass surgery.) During EECP, cuffs wrapped around the calves, thighs, and buttocks are inflated and deflated, gently but firmly compressing the blood vessels in the lower limbs, increasing blood flow to the heart. EECP may stimulate the openings or formation of collateral vessels to create a "natural bypass" around narrowed or blocked arteries.
Event Monitor (Loop recorder): A small recorder (monitor) that monitors your heartbeat and is used to record potential abnormalities. It is attached to electrodes on your chest and is worn continuously for a period of time, or it can be implanted just under the skin. If symptoms, such as palpitations, are felt, an event button can be depressed and the heart's rhythm is recorded and saved in the recorder. The rhythm can be saved and transmitted over the phone line. Recordings can also be taken automatically without the oatient knowing.