Glossary of Terms

This glossary of terms has been compiled for your reference. Select the first letter of the word you’re searching for to begin.

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The “natural” pacemaker of the heart is called the sinus node. It’s a small group of specialized cells in the top of the heart’s right atrium. It produces the electrical impulses that travel down to the ventricular muscle, causing the heart to contract. An “artificial pacemaker” is an electrical device that can substitute for a defective natural pacemaker or conduction pathway. The artificial pacemaker controls the heart’s beating by emitting a series of rhythmic electrical discharges.


Blood flow.


Inflammation of the outer membrane surrounding the heart.


The outer fibrous “sac” that surrounds the heart.

Peripheral Artery Disease

A type of peripheral vascular disease that affects blood circulation, primarily in arteries leading to the legs and feet. It’s caused by atherosclerosis.

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Diseases of blood vessels outside the heart and brain or diseases of the lymph vessels. Often a narrowing of vessels carrying blood to leg and arm muscles.


Also called atheroma, this is a deposit of fatty (and other) substances in the inner lining of the artery wall characteristic of atherosclerosis.


An element in blood that aids in blood clotting.

Polyunsaturated Fats

A type of fat found mainly in vegetable oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower and soybean oils. They’re usually liquid at room temperature.


A synthetic form of the female hormone progesterone, used in oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy.


Preventive treatment.


Pertaining to the lungs.

Pulmonary Stenosis (PS)

A congenital heart defect in which the pulmonary or pulmonic valve is defective and doesn’t open properly.

Pulmonic (Pulmonary) Valve

The heart valve between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery. It has three flaps (cusps).