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Glossary

Here are the definitions of words you may have come across in your reading.

Acute coronary syndrome (ACS)

Chest pain and other symptoms that occur when the heart is not getting enough blood. The two types of acute coronary syndrome are unstable angina and heart attack.

Acute myocardial infarction (MI)

Also called heart attack. A sudden interruption of or insufficient blood supply to the heart due to a blockage in a coronary artery often characterized by severe chest pain and resulting in damage to or death of the heart muscle.

Angioplasty

A procedure to open a narrowed or blocked coronary artery. Also known as percutaneous coronary intervention.

Antiplatelet medication

Medication that helps keep blood platelets from sticking together (clotting) and causing blood clots in an artery or a stent. Also known as anticlotting medicine.

Arteries

Arteries are vessels within the body that carry blood full of oxygen from the heart to different parts of your body.

Cardiologist

A cardiologist is a doctor who specializes in treating heart disorders.

Coronary arteries

The coronary arteries supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart.

Heart attack

Also called acute myocardial infarction. A sudden interruption of or insufficient blood supply to the heart due to a blockage in a coronary artery often characterized by severe chest pain and resulting in damage to or death of the heart muscle.

Heart condition

Heart condition and heart disease are general terms used to describe any disorder affecting normal heart function. Acute coronary syndrome (ACS) is an example of a heart condition.

Heart disease

A broad term used to describe any disorder affecting normal heart function. ACS is an example of heart disease.

Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI)

A procedure to open a narrowed or blocked coronary artery. Also known as angioplasty.

Platelets

Platelets are blood cells that help with normal blood clotting.

Plaque

A buildup in the arteries of cholesterol, fatty deposits, calcium and other substances carried in the blood.

Stent

A stent is a tiny structure made of wire mesh. When the balloon is inflated within your artery during an angioplasty, the stent expands, locks in place, and holds the artery open.

Stent procedure

Many patients who have had a heart attack or chest pain will undergo percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), also known as an angioplasty, which usually includes a stent placement. When the balloon is inflated during an angioplasty, the stent expands, locks in place and holds the artery open.

Unstable angina

Chest pain or discomfort that is unexpected and usually occurs while at rest, when your heart does not get enough oxygen.