Glossary of terms

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angiogram

An x-ray test that uses a special dye and camera to take pictures of the blood flow in an artery or vein. An angiogram can look at the arteries or veins in your heart, head, arms, legs or belly.

A test that takes x-ray pictures of the coronary arteries and the vessels that supply blood to the heart. During an angiogram, a special dye is released into the coronary arteries from a catheter (special tube) inserted in a blood vessel. This dye makes the blood vessels visible when an X-ray is taken. Angiography allows doctors to clearly see how blood flows into the heart. This allows them to pinpoint problems with the coronary arteries.

Angiography may be recommended for patients with angina (chest pain) or those with suspected coronary artery disease (CAD). The test gives doctors valuable information on the condition of the coronary arteries, such as atherosclerosis, regurgitation (blood flowing backwards through the heart valves) or pooling of blood in a chamber because of a valve malfunction.

angioplasty

Angioplasty opens blocked arteries so that blood can flow to your heart. It is done by putting a thin tube (catheter) in through a small puncture in your arm or leg artery up to your heart. A balloon is inflated and then removed. This opens the artery.

Angioplasty is a procedure to widen narrowed or obstructed arteries or veins. An empty, collapsed balloon, known as a balloon catheter, is passed over a wire into the narrowed locations and then inflated. The balloon forces expansion of the narrowed area within the vessel and the surrounding muscular wall, opening up the blood vessel for improved flow, and the balloon is then deflated and withdrawn.