Myocardial infarction See heart attack or

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myocarditis: An inflammation of the heart muscle.

myocardium: The heart muscle.

myxoid degeneration: Degeneration of the middle layer of tissue in blood vessels and heart valves.

necrosis: Death of tissue.

neonate: A newborn child within the first few weeks of life.

nitroglycerin: A drug used to dilate coronary arteries so more oxygenated blood can reach the heart muscle. This drug is generally used by patients with atherosclerotic coronary artery disease.

occlusion: Narrowing or blockage of a blood vessel.

open heart surgery: Heart operations in which the heart-lung machine is used and the heart is opened so various structures can be repaired or replaced. However, many people also use the term to refer to any heart operation in which the heart-lung machine is used, including coronary bypass surgery, in which only the surface of the heart is worked on.

pacemaker: A small, battery-powered device implanted in the chest to send electrical impulses to the heart, causing it to contract in a rhythmic fashion. Electrical pacemakers are used when the body's natural pacemaker, the sinoatrial node, is not functioning properly.

palliative: A treatment that improves a condition but does not cure it. A palliative heart procedure would be one that would improve the patient's condition but not cure the heart disease.

papillary muscles: Tiny muscles located in the left and right ventricles that are attached with stringlike structures called chordae tendineae to the mitral and tricuspid valves. These muscle structures help control the valve function.

patent: Patent means open. Usually it means that a blood vessel is open.

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