Medical Glossary

Aneurysm
swelling or ballooning of an artery

Angiography
X-ray of arteries or veins to show disease after injection of x-ray opaque dye

Angioplasty
stretching of a narrowing or short occulsion in a diseased artery using a balloon to restore normal blood flow

Aorta
the main artery (hose pipe) from the heart, supplying blood to the whole body

Artery
high pressure blood vessel taking blood from the heart towards the tissues

Atherosclerosis
arterial disease involving deposition of fatty substances that causes narrowing and thrombosis

Capillaries
microscopic blood vessels supplying nutrients to the tissues.

Cardiovascular system
the heart and blood vessels circulating blood to and from the body tissues

Carotid artery
the artery in the neck that supplies blood to the brain and head

Cerebral
pertaining to the brain

Cerebrovascular accident CVA (stroke)
damage to the brain due to impaired circulation or haemorrage

Claudication
cramping pain in the leg or arm muscles on exercise

Clinician
a doctor responsible for providing patient care (eg General Practitioner or Hospital Consultant)

Colourflow Duplex Doppler imaging
a combination of ultrasound and Doppler techniques to image vascular disease

Common femoral artery
artery in the groin supplying the leg with blood

Deep Vein Thrombosis
thrombosis or clotting of blood causing occlusion or partical occlusion of a deep vein

Diabetes Mellitus
insulin deficiency or resistance causing high sugar content in the urine

Doppler ultrasound
ultrasound technique for measuring blood flow

Embolus
a particle usually of thrombus moving in the blood stream blocking an artery

Gangrene
tissue death caused by impair blood supply (ischemia)

Graft – arterial or venous
a tube used to bypass a blocked artery or vein (either vein or prosthetic)

Jugular vein
the main vein in the neck draining blood from the brain

Middle cerebral artery
an important artery in the vein often involved in stroke

Mini-stroke
transient impairment of the blood supply to part of the brain causing symptoms (see transient ischaemic attack (TIA))

Minimally invasive
treatment or diagnostic technique involving minimal risk or pain for the patient (eg angioplasty rather than open surgery)

Non-invasive
treatment or diagnostic technique involving no risk and no penetration of the body (eg ultrasound techniques for vascular diagnosis)

Peripheral arteries
arteries suppling the arms and legs

Popliteal artery
an artery behind the knee supplying the lower leg which may develop anuerysm

Pulmonary embolus
an embolus arising from the leg veins or pelvis which blocks the artery to the lungs (may be fatal)

Stent
a tubular metal mesh often inserted during angioplasty (see angioplasty above)

Stroke
impaired neurological function causing paralysis or loss of speech caused by cerebral vascular accident (CVA – see above)

Subclavian artery
the artery in the shoulder suppying blood to the arm

Subclavian vein
the vein in the shoulder draining blood from the arm

Thrombophillia
an increased tendency of the blood to clot causing DVT, pulmonary embolism, stroke and other arterial thrombosis

Thrombosis
the co-agulation or clotting of blood in arteries or veins, usually causing occlusion or embolism

Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA)
transient impairment (less than 24 hours) of the blood supply to the brain causing symptoms similar to stroke

Ulceration
an open wound, frequently on the leg which may be difficult to heal

Varicose vein
swollen and torqutous veins on the leg which may be unsightly, cause symptoms and even ulcers

Vascular
an all-encompassing term describing arteries and veins in the “vascular system”

Vein
a blood vessel that returns blood to the heart from the body tissues

Vena Cava
the largest veins in the chest and abdomen returning blood to the heart from the body

Venous Reflux
incompetence in a superficial vein causing varicose veins, or in a deep vein causing venous insuffiency, aching, swelling and discolouration of the leg.

 

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