Medical glossary of terms
Explore our glossary of medical terminology, designed to help you understand complex terms that you may hear from your heart team.
A procedure to open blocked arteries and restore normal blood flow to the heart muscle. Angioplasty uses an inflated balloon to dilate the blockage; however no material, such as a stent, is left remaining in the patient.
One of four heart valves in the heart that opens to allow blood to flow into the aorta—the main artery that carries blood out of the heart to the rest of the body.
Aortic Valve Stenosis
The narrowing of the aortic valve opening, caused by the valve leaflets becoming stiff, reducing their flexibility and ability to fully open and close properly.
Aortic Valve Replacement
When the native (original) diseased valve is replaced with a new valve, either a mechanical or biological heart valve.
A blood vessel that supplies oxygen-rich blood to other parts of the body.
Bicuspid Aortic Valve
An aortic valve that only has two leaflets, instead of three.
Made of either human or animal tissue, an artificial valve that imitates the open and close functioning of the natural valve.
A thin, hollow tube, that enables instruments to reach the heart during minimally-invasive procedures.
Cerebral Embolic Protection
Using a special device to filter, capture and remove potentially dangerous debris that has broken away from an artery or valve, before it can reach the brain.
A diagnostic test that uses sound waves to produce video images of the heart in motion. This helps to evaluate the four heart chambers, the aortic valve, and the blood flow through the heart.
A diagnostic test that utilizes small electrodes (pads with wires) placed on different parts of the body to check if there is any irregular heart rhythm.
Plaque that breaks away from an artery or valve and floats in the bloodstream. As these small particles travel through the bloodstream, they may block blood flow to the brain which can cause a stroke.
A large blood vessel in the thigh that supplies blood to the leg. It is often used to introduce interventional equipment into the bloodstream for delivery to the heart.
A machine used to temporarily take over the circulatory function of the heart and lungs, especially during open-heart surgery.
When the heart is unable to pump blood to the body’s organs as well as it should.
A group of specially trained cardiologists, cardiothoracic surgeons, nurse practitioners, and other health professionals that work together to determine the best course of treatment for each patient.
Mechanical Heart Valve
A replacement heart valve made from a special type of carbon or titanium and other non-biologic materials.
Non-Invasive Procedure (Also called a minimally-invasive procedure)
A medical procedure performed through a small incision, typically in an artery, utilizing specialized equipment. This typically leads to a faster recovery when compared to an open-heart surgical procedure.
PVL (Paravalvular Leak)
When blood leaks back into the heart around the perimeter of an artificial valve, potentially leading to future complications such as heart failure.
Severe Aortic Stenosis
When the body’s aortic valve leaflets become stiff, reducing their flexibility and ability to fully open and close properly. This results in a narrowing (stenosis) of the valve opening which reduces and restricts blood flow, requiring the heart to work harder.
When a blood vessel(s) that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is blocked. Permanent neurologic damage that occurs when part of the brain loses its blood supply.
Surgical Aortic Valve Replacement (SAVR)
An open-heart surgery performed to replace the diseased aortic valve. The heart is stopped and a heart-lung machine temporarily takes over the function of pumping blood.
Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR)
A non- invasive, non-surgical procedure that replaces the diseased aortic valve without opening your chest to reach your heart. The doctor enters your artery through a small incision, most often in the groin. A compressed artificial valve that has been attached to a catheter is guided through the blood vessels and positioned in the heart. The replacement valve is expanded, pushing the diseased aortic valve out of the way. X-ray is used to guide positioning and placement of the new valve..
A narrowing of the heart valve which restricts blood flow.