catheter that is inserted through the right atrium into the coronary sinus, a vein that drains the heart itself. This catheter is usually used to administer cardioplegia solution.
rheumatic fever: Usually associated with streptococcus infections, although not actually an infection itself. It usually comes on weeks after the infection and may be an allergic reaction to the infection. It can affect the heart, the heart valves, the joints, and the nervous system.
rheumatic heart disease: Specifically referring to the heart's involvement with rheumatic fever.
rubella: Commonly known as the German measles.
saphenous vein: A greater saphenous vein runs from the groin down to about the ankle. A lesser saphenous vein runs behind the leg in the calf area. These veins generally run right under the skin and are not critical veins. They are frequently used for coronary bypass operations and for various other types of blood vessel grafts in the legs and other areas in the body.
septicemia: An infection in the bloodstream.
septum: A wall that separates two chambers, such as two chambers of the heart. The atrial septum separates the right atrium and the left atrium, and the ventricular septum separates the right and the left ventricles.
shock: Refers to a sudden or relatively sudden collapse of the cardiovascular system. Cardiogenic shock refers to a type of shock in which the heart is failing significantly and the blood pressure is usually very low, causing the skin to be cool and clammy. Urine output is low, and the patient may be barely responsive.
shunt: Usually an abnormal communication between two blood vessels or portions of the heart itself so blood is not routed through its normal path. Shunts are sometimes created by surgeons for the treatment of various heart conditions.
sinoatrial node: Also sinus node and S-A node. This is the true pacemaker of the heart, located at the junction of the right atrium and superior vena cava. These cells rhythmically discharge electrical impulses that cause the heart to contract. This impulse also travels to the A-V node, causing the ventricles to contract.
sinus rhythm: The normal rhythm of the heart that is stimulated by the sinoatri-al node.
sphygmomanometer: Also called the blood pressure cuff because it is used to measure blood pressure. The cuff portion of this device is wrapped around the arm and tightened by squeezing a bulb. A column of mercury rises as the pressure increases, and as it slowly falls, the blood pressure is measured through the pulse in the wrist and by listening to the sounds just below the blood pressure cuff in the arm.
stenosis: An abnormal narrowing of a blood vessel, heart valve, or any other orifice or tube-like structure in the body.
stent: A device usually made from metal or other material that is placed in a blood vessel to help keep it open.
sternotomy: An incision usually made from near the neck to the lower portion of the chest through the middle of the sternum (breastbone). The sternum is then opened so the heart is exposed.
stethoscope: A device used for listening to the inner workings of the body, including the chest, intestines, abdomen, and blood vessels.
stress test: See exercise stress test.
stroke: Also referred to as a cerebral vascular accident, or CVA. It can be caused by a blood vessel in the brain becoming blocked or rupturing, a blood clot or other material traveling to the brain and lodging in a blood vessel, or a tumor causing an expansion or pressure in the brain. This will often result in some type of a neurological deficit such as impaired speech, reduced function of an arm or leg, or possible loss of vision, coma, or even death.
subclavian artery: An artery that arises from the aortic arch and supplies the upper chest and left arm with blood. The right subclavian artery arises from the innominate artery and supplies the upper chest and right arm with blood.
superior vena cava: The main vein that drains the unoxygenated blood from the upper portion of the body, head, and neck, and channels blood back into the right atrium.
Swan-Ganz catheter: A catheter that is usually guided through the heart into the pulmonary artery, where it can be used to measure pressures in the heart and pulmonary artery, as well as take blood samples, administer intravenous drugs, and measure cardiac output.
syncope: Temporary loss of consciousness. Also referred to as fainting, blacking out or passing out.
syndrome: A group of signs and symptoms that collectively indicate a certain type of abnormality or disease process.
systemic circulation: The portion of the blood circulating throughout the body except for the blood that's being pumped to the lungs and is returning. This is called the pulmonary circulation.
systole: Means the heart is contracting. It usually means the ventricles are contracting, but it can also refer to atrial contraction.
tachycardia: An abnormally fast heart rate, usually referring to a heart rate of more than one hundred beats per minute.
tachycardia, ventricular: A rapid heart rate originating in the ventricles. It is a regular, fast rhythm that can be life threatening.
tachypnea: Abnormal rapid breathing.
tetralogy of Fallot: A congenital heart defect that consists of four different abnormalities. The four defects are: 1. Abnormal opening between the right and left ventricles, or ventricular septal defect; 2. Abnormal position of the aorta, which partially overrides the right and left ventricular hole or defect; 3. Obstruction of blood flow to the lungs. Sometimes this is a buildup of muscle tissue in the right ventricle, or it can be an obstruction of the pulmonary valve; 4. Abnormal thickening of the right ventricle.
thallium scanning: A type of a nuclear perfusion test using a tiny number of radioactive particles that is injected into the bloodstream. This test is used to determine blood flow to various portions of the heart muscle. It is frequently done with some type of an exercise test so physicians can better determine which areas of the heart muscle are getting adequate amounts of blood.
thoracic: Pertaining to the chest.
Was this article helpful?