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Posted by Cyril Grither on May 3, 2023

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  • Antagonist of neprilysin and angiotensin II receptors and neprilysin: Medicine that helps the body eliminate excess sodium and water. Helps you live longer and reduces the risk of hospitalization for heart failure. Example: EntrestoMD (Sacubitril/Valsartan)
  • Arrhythmia: Heart rhythm disorder characterized by irregular heartbeats in the upper chambers (atria) or lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart.
  • Beta blockers : Medicine that inhibits or reduces the effect of certain hormones. A beta blocker may slow the heartbeat in addition to having other beneficial effects on the heart.
  • Cardiomyopathy: General term which designates the various diseases (forms of pathologies) which affect the heart muscle (myocardium). When the cause is known, a more precise term can be added – for example, viral cardiomyopathy (myocardial damage is caused by a virus) or hypertensive cardiomyopathy (lesions are caused by hypertension). There idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy is characterized by an enlarged (dilated) and weakened heart, the cause of which is unknown (idiopathic).
  • Coronary artery disease: A disease characterized by insufficient blood supply to the heart due to blockage or obstruction of the heart's (coronary) arteries.
  • Diastole: Relaxation of the heart muscle (myocardium) as it fills with blood before the next contraction (see Systole).
  • Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea (NPD): Dyspnea corresponds to a feeling of shortness of breath. DNP corresponds to a feeling of sudden (paroxysmal) shortness of breath during the night (nocturnal). People with heart failure accumulate an excessive amount of fluid in certain tissues especially in the feet, legs and abdomen during the day. At night, when the person lies down, this accumulation of fluid can cause congestion as it travels up to the lungs. Typically, DNP occurs 30 to 60 minutes after bedtime. Sometimes the patient wakes up coughing and choking and has to sit up and sit on the edge of the bed to feel better. Echocardiography: Ultrasound examination that evaluates the size, structure and function of the heart.
  • Echocardiography: Ultrasound examination performed using ultrasound to assess the size, structure and function of the heart.
  • Electrolytes (measurement of): Measurement of sodium, potassium and chloride levels. This blood test should be repeated frequently when taking medications that lower potassium levels (eg, furosemide and diuretics) or increase them (eg, spironolactone).
  • Atrial fibrillation : Heart rhythm disorder that occurs when the upper chambers of the heart (atria) fail to beat in rhythm, resulting in irregular, sometimes fast heartbeats.
  • Ejection Fraction (EF): Measurement of the quantity of blood expelled from the ventricles to assess cardiac function. The normal left-sided ejection fraction is approximately 50 to 60 %. If your FE is 30 %, that means it is halved.
  • Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) (level): This test, which does not require fasting, measures the quantity of glucose (sugar) present in red blood cells for 120 days. The HbA1c level is used to diagnose diabetes: normal = HbA1c level equal to or lower than 6 %; prediabetes = HbA1c level between 6.1 and 6.4 %; and diabetes = HbA1c level equal to or greater than 6.5 %.
  • Myocardial infarction (MI): Medical term for heart attack. MI is caused by a blockage in the coronary arteries that prevents blood from reaching the heart muscle (myocardium).
  • Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor: Medicine that blocks the converting enzyme that releases an active hormone, angiotensin II, which causes narrowing (constriction) of the arteries. The name of ACE inhibitors usually ends with "-pril", for example enalapril. Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction: Condition caused by abnormal relaxation of the heart muscle (myocardium) generally associated with hypertension. In this form of heart failure, the ejection fraction is normal.
  • Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction: Condition caused by abnormal relaxation of the heart muscle (myocardium) usually associated with hypertension. In this form of heart failure, the ejection fraction is normal.
  • Congestive heart failure (CHF): Term and diagnosis long used to designate heart failure. Because not all patients with heart failure have congestion, the term “heart failure” is now preferred.
  • Diastolic heart failure: A condition that occurs when the heart is unable to relax between beats because the heart muscle (myocardium) has stiffened. This form of heart failure is usually caused by hypertension.
  • Systolic heart failure: A condition characterized by poor pumping function of the left side of the heart, which does not pump blood powerfully enough to supply other organs. It is caused by weakness of the heart muscle (myocardium).
  • MUGA (test) or isotope angiography: Nuclear imaging test which aims to evaluate the ejection fraction (pumping capacity of the heart).
  • Edema: Infiltration into tissues of fluid that escapes from blood vessels because it is subjected to excessive pressure. Edema is usually seen in the leg area or in the tissues of the lower back and abdomen. If this fluid travels to the lungs, it is usually possible to hear it using a stethoscope; This characteristic sound is called “crackle” or “rattle”. Orthopnea: Sensation of having difficulty breathing when lying down. The doctor may ask you how many pillows you need to lie down comfortably without feeling short of breath.
  • Target weight: “Dry” weight, that is to say in the absence of signs of water retention in the tissues. Weight at the time of hospital discharge is often used as a reference.
  • Systole: Contraction of the heart that aims to expel blood out of the ventricles (the two lower pumping chambers) to irrigate the organs and tissues. 

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