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Acquired Heart Disease -
Disease of the heart that develops after birth, due to an infection
or other disease affecting the heart muscle, heart valves or
coronary arteries (compare with 'Congenital Heart Disease').
Antibiotics - A medicine, which may be
taken by mouth as a syrup, tablet or capsule, or may be given
through a drip into a vein, to prevent or treat a bacterial
- A drug used to reduce blood clotting, e.g.
Aorta - The main artery which takes blood from
the heart into the circulation around the body (systemic
Aortic Atresia - Complete obstruction to the
aortic valve or the aorta (usually associated with Hypoplastic
Left Heart Syndrome)
Stenosis - Narrowing of the aortic valve
resulting from a congenital defect of the valve leaflets or disease
of the valve.
Aortic Valve - The valve at the origin of the
aorta, which controls flow of blood out of the heart and prevents
Arrhythmia - A disturbance in the normal heart
Aterial Valve- One of the valves which control flow from the
ventricles into the circulation, during each heart beat, and
prevent backflow. (see 'Aortic Valve' and 'Pulmonary Valve').
Artery - A blood vessel which carries blood
away from the heart. Usually the blood is oxygenated, except in the
pulmonary arteries which carry deoxygenated blood to the lungs.
Artificial Valves - These are man made
substitutes for heart valves, used to replace a defective
ASD - See 'Atrial Septal Defect'.
Atresia - Complete obstruction to a valve or
blood vessel, so that blood cannot get past this point in the
circulation and has to take an alternative route.
(ASD) - A defect
(hole) in the atrial septum which allows blood to shunt from one
atrium to the other.
Septum - The septum (partition or wall) between the
Atrioventricular - Relating to the junction
between the atriums and the ventricles of the heart.
Atrioventricular Septal Defect (AV Canal
Defect) - A defect (hole) involving both the atrial and
ventricular septums. The mitral and tricuspid valves are also
Valve - One of the valves which control blood
flowfrom the atriums to the ventricles, and prevent backflow. (see
'Mitral Valve' and 'Tricuspid Valve').
Atrium - One of
the two bloodcollecting (reservoir) chambers at the top of the
heart; (plural = atria or atriums).
AV Canal Defect - See 'Atrioventricular
Banding - An operation
which involves placing a band of narrow tape around the main
pulmonary artery to reduce blood flow and pressure in the lungs.
This is a temporary operation used to alleviate the effects of some
heart problems . The banding delays the need for further heart
surgery until a more appropriate time, e.g. allowing time for the
baby to grow.
Blood Tests - Many blood tests may be needed
before and after heart surgery, or at other times. They may include
blood counts to detect anaemia or infection, or chemical analysis
to detect an imbalance in the blood or build up of harmful acid or
waste products. During the early days after surgery and while
patients are having drug treatment for congestive heart failure,
chemical imbalances in the blood are frequent and may require
medications to be altered. Some medicines need to be checked to see
how much of it is in the child's blood in order to assess whether
the dose needs to be increased or decreased. Other tests may
measure the effectiveness of a medication (e.g. anticoagulants).
The presence of fever or other indications of possible infection
will also need investigation with blood counts or blood
Blood Pressure - A measure of the pressure with
which the heart pumps blood into the circulation, usually referred
to by two numbers. The 'systolic' pressure refers to the maximum
pressure in the artery during each heart beat, while the
'diastolic' pressure is the minimum pressure between heart beats.
The left side of the heart and the arteries are operating as a high
pressure system, while the veins, the right side of the heart and
the pulmonary circulation operate at a much lower pressure.
Brady - Prefix meaning 'slow'.
Bypass Operation - An operation needing
'Heart Lung Bypass'. This refers to the use of the heart lung
bypass machine, which takes over the function of the heart and the
lungs, pumping blood round the body and supplying oxygen to the
blood. (When people refer to a 'double bypass' or 'triple bypass'
operation, etc., they are usually referring to an operation to
provide a bypass for blocked coronary arteries, usually in adults
with Coronary Heart Disease. This is not the same as a Bypass
Operation, although most operations for Coronary Heart Disease do
use 'Heart Lung Bypass').
Cannula - A very
small tube introduced into a vein to provide access for a
Capillary - A microscopic blood vessel
connecting arteries to veins. The blood constituents seep through
these tiny vessels in the systemic (body) circulation and pulmonary
(lung) circulation. Their walls are extremely thin and allow
oxygen, carbon dioxide, glucose and other chemicals to pass to and
fro between the blood and the surrounding cells in the body organs,
or air sacs in the lungs.
Cardiac - A term for anything to do
with the heart (e.g. cardiac muscle, cardiac specialist, cardiac
Cardiomyopathy - Damaged or
diseased heart muscle.
Catheter (Cardiac) - A 'tube' used
to perform heart tests, by introducing it through an artery or vein
into the heart (
Catheter - (Urinary) A 'tube' used
to drain urine from the bladder (often used after heart
Closed Heart Surgery - Heart
surgery which does not involve operating on the heart's interior
and does not need 'heartlung bypass'.
Clubbing - Swelling of the tips of
the fingers and toes, producing 'finger clubbing' often seen in
children who are cyanosed for many years.
- An area of stenosis (narrowing) in an artery (usually the
Collaterals - Alternative pathways
taken by blood when the normal route through an artery or vein is
blocked or has not developed properly. Because of the obstruction
the alternative pathways (collateral's) may increase in size and
eventually may become nearly as large as the original artery or
vein, which is blocked. In some conditions (e.g. Pulmonary Atresia)
large collateral's may form before birth, carrying blood to the
lung circulation from the aorta (sometimes referred to as MAPCAs
Major Aorto Pulmonary Collateral Arteries).
Conducting Tissue - Specialised cells or
pathways in the heart, which transfer the electrical stimulus from
the heart's natural pacemaker to the heart muscle of the atriums
and ventricles to signal the heart muscle to contract, for each
Conduit - A term referring to a tube
used to connect one part of the circulation to another surgically
(e.g. to bypass an obstructed valve or blocked artery).
Congenital - Describes a condition which
develops during formation, before birth, and so already exists when
a baby is born.
Congenital Heart Disease - A defect
or disease affecting the heart from birth (compare with 'Acquired
Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great
Arteries - In this complex malformation,
the ventricles are on the opposite side of the heart to usual. The
atria are connected to the incorrect ventricles and the great
arteries also come from the wrong ventricles (transposition).
Despite these problems, blood from the lungs passes to the aorta,
so the child is not cyanosed. Other heart defects are commonly
present (e.g. VSD, valve abnormalities, coarctation, pulmonary
Congestive Heart Failure - A
condition which occurs when there is a buildup of fluid (i.e.
congestion) in the lungs or other organs such as the liver. This
congestion usually results when the heart is unable to work
efficiently. Children with heart failure may have symptoms such as
marked shortness of breath and difficulty with feeding. The term
'heart failure' does not mean that the heart will suddenly stop
Contraction - When the muscle in
the heart wall works (squeezes) to push the blood through the heart
and out into the arteries.
Coronary Arteries - These small
arteries carry the blood supply to the heart muscle itself, and are
the first arteries to branch off the aorta.
Coronary Heart Disease - Disease of
the coronary arteries usually in adults.
Cross Match - The test to ensure
that blood, for transfusion, is compatible with the patient and
will not cause an unwanted reaction.
Cyanosis - The condition of the
skin and nails looking a purplish blue colour due to lowered oxygen
level in the blood. A child with this condition may be described as
Defect - A
physical abnormality, e.g. of the position or structure of the
heart or main blood vessels.
Dextrocardia - A condition in which
the heart lies in the right side (instead of the left) of the
chest. The heart may be normal or have other defects.
Diastole - The time during which
the ventricular heart muscle relaxes after each contraction,
between each heart beat.
Diastolic Pressure - The lowest
point of blood pressure in the arteries.
Digoxin - A medicine given to
strengthen the heart contraction or reduce the heart rate.
DILV - See 'Double Inlet Left
Disease - This term may be used by
the doctors to describe either a congenital defect or an acquired
condition, and their effects.
Diuretics - Medicine to help the
body to get rid of the excess fluid which may build up in the lungs
or elsewhere in the body in congestive heart failure, e.g.
aldactone, lasix. It does this by causing the kidneys to increase
their production of urine. Other medicine, e.g. potassium, may be
given at the same time to maintain the balance of salts in the
body, which may tend to be affected adversely by the diuretic.
Donor Valves (Homograft or Cadaver
Valves) - A heart valve (usually the aortic or
pulmonary valve), taken from the heart of a child or adult soon
after death, which can be kept sterile and frozen to preserve its
structure. It can be used as a replacement for a defective or
missing valve in a child or adult having heart surgery.
Inlet Left Ventricle (Dilv) - A condition
in which both atria are connected to the left ventricle. The right
ventricle is usually very small.
DORV - See 'Double Outlet Right
Double Outlet Right Ventricle (DORV)
- A condition
where both the aorta and pulmonary artery are connected to the
right ventricle. Blood from the left ventricle passes through a VSD
to the right ventricle to reach the great
Drip - See 'Lntravenous DRIP'.
- The blood vessel connecting the aorta with the pulmonary
artery before birth. The full name is 'Ductus Arteriosus'. It
usually closes within the early days or weeks after birth. If it
remains open after this time it is called a Patent (or Persistent)
Ductus Arteriosus (PDA).
ECG - See
Echocardiogram (Echo) - An ultrasound scan of
the heart. Very high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) are used to
create a moving picture of the heart and of blood flowing through
it, using a sophisticated computer. This test detects most heart
defects and can provide detailed information about the nature and
severity of heart problems of many kinds. The test is not painful,
but requires that the child remain still for 10 to 20 minutes
(sometimes longer). Some children may benefit from mild sedation to
help them cooperate during the scan.
Effusion - A collection of fluid in an area
such as the pericardium or the pleural cavity. Such a collection,
if it is large, may lead to buildup of pressure on the heart or
lungs, and often results in deterioration in their function, and so
it may need to be drained.
Electrocardiogram (ECG) - A test to measure the
heart's electrical activity with each heart beat. Wires are
attached to the skin of the arms, legs and chest, using soft,
stickon discs (called 'electrodes'). A tracing is printed on paper
and gives information about the heart rate and regularity, as well
as providing data about enlargement of the heart chambers and
thickening of heart muscle, which may provide useful information
about the nature and severity of heart problems.
Endocarditis - An infection of the endocardium,
which occurs as Acute (rapid onset) or Sub acute (more gradual
onset) Infective Endocarditis. Such infections are much more likely
to develop in patients with existing abnormalities of heart valves
or other cardiac defects (e.g. VSD or PDA) than in people with
entirely healthy hearts, who are regarded as being "
at risk" , though they occasionally occur in individuals with
no preexisting heart problem.
Endocarditis Prophylaxis - Use of antibiotics
to prevent endocarditis at times when bacteria may be expected to
enter the bloodstream (e.g. dental extractions or surgery on nose,
throat, mouth or bowel). See
Protocol for prevention.
Endocardium - The smooth membrane which lines
the inner surface of the heart, the surface of the four heart
valves and the inside of the great vessels (aorta and main
Fallots Tetralogy - A
common heart defect associated with cyanosis. There are four parts
to the defect (Tetra = four). The name 'Fallot' refers to the
French doctor who described the features of the defect.
Finger Clubbing - See 'Clubbing'.
Fontan Operation -
An operation to connect the main veins from the systemic
circulation (SVC and IVC) to the lung arteries. Blood then flows
directly into the lung circulation, after returning from the body,
without going through the right ventricle as would happen in a
normal heart. This operation is named after a French surgeon
Foramen Ovale - The hole between the two
atriums present at birth.
(GP) - Your family doctor. It is helpful to first visit
your GP when your heart child is reasonably well. Then, when your
child is ill, the doctor can see how skin colour, breathing, heart
sounds, etc. have changed.
Haemoglobin - The red
blood pigment which carries oxygen in the red blood cells.
Heart Block - A condition in which there is
damage to, or a defect or disease affecting the conducting tissue
which carries the electrical stimulation for the contractions of
the heart. If the condition is 'partial', the heart rhythm may be
normal for much of the time, but in more severe forms, especially
when 'complete', the heart may beat very slowly and become
seriously ineffective. A patient with this problem may need an
Heart Failure - See 'Congestive Heart
Heartlung Bypass - A technique
employed for nearly all open heart operations by which the
circulation is supported by a machine. The machine takes over the
function of both the heart and the lungs (the 'heartlung bypass
machine'), while the surgeon opens the heart to perform an
operation inside it (see 'Open Heart Operation' And 'Bypass
Heart Sounds - The sounds (heard normally with
the doctor's stethoscope) which result from closure of the heart
valves with each heart beat. The two atrioventricular valves
(mitral valve and tricuspid valve) close at the beginning of each
beat, producing the 'first heart sound'. The two arterial valves
(pulmonary valve and aortic valve) close at the end of each heart
beat, producing the 'second heart sound'.
Homograft - Usually refers to
a replacement heart valve which comes from the heart of a 'donor'.
The valve is not subject to rejection and does not require
anti-rejection drugs. Such valves may function better than an
artificial valve and do not necessitate anti-coagulant medications - but they do not
last as well as artificial valves.
Hypo - Prefix meaning smaller or less than
Hypoplastic - Smaller than normal or
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome- A
condition in which the left side of the heart is poorly developed
and unable to pump blood into the systemic circulation
Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome - A condition
in which the right side of the heart is poorly developed and unable
to pump blood into the pulmonary circulation effectively.
Hypotension - Low blood pressure (in the
systemic circulation) a problem quite often encountered after heart
surgery and may need treatment with medications to raise the blood
Hyper - Prefix meaning larger or more than
Hypertension - High blood pressure. The
term usually refers to high pressure in the systemic circulation.
However 'pulmonary hypertension' means elevation of pressure in the
Hypertrophy - Thickening or enlargement of a
structure. (Left ventricular hypertrophy means thickening of the
wall of the left ventricle).
ICU - See 'Intensive
Incompetent - A term used to refer to 'leakage'
at a heart valve. The valve is incompetent if it fails to close
effectively and does not prevent 'backflow'. The flow of blood
backwards through a valve, which should be closed, is referred to
as 'regurgitation' or 'incompetence'.
Infection - Occurs when a microorganism which
can produce disease invades a living tissue. Inflammation is one of
the body's reactions to infection.
Cava (IVC) - The main vein from the lower part of the
body which returns deoxygenated blood to the heart.
Inflammation - Occurs when a living tissue is
reacting to an injury or an infection. Swelling, pain or redness in
the tissue are signs of inflammation.
Murmur - A murmur heard in healthy
children, which does not signify any underlying heart disease or
defect. These soft heart murmurs are very common and are of no
Intensive Care Unit (ICU) - The special medical
and nursing unit to which patients go for a few hours (or days)
after major heart surgery or if they are extremely ill. This area
is used to ensure very close monitoring, and ready availability of
medical and nursing staff and equipment to cater for any emergency.
It is available for seriously ill children, with a wide variety of
medical problems, and for those who have had open heart operations,
or other major heart surgery, especially if they need 'ventilator'
Interrupted Aortic Arch - A condition in
which the upper and lower aorta are completely separated (a severe
form of coarctation). A large VSD is nearly always present.
Interventional Procedures - Procedures of this
type may be used to stretch open a narrow valve or blood vessel,
using a catheter with an inflatable balloon (Illustration).
Alternatively, a tiny 'spring coil' may be inserted to block off an
abnormal and unwanted blood vessel (Illustration),
or an expanding plug (usually referred to as a 'device') may be
placed to close a hole such as an ASD or VSD.(Illustration)
Intravenous Drip (IV or Drip) - A method of
providing medications, fluids or nutrition into a vein. The fluid
usually flows from a polythene bag or bottle and can be seen to
'drip' into a small container (chamber), which is connected by a
tube to a cannula in the vein. Most children will have a 'drip'
following an anaesthetic or after heart surgery. In small babies
and in children who need continuous medications by 'drip', the
medications may be given by a motorised syringe pump, which
controls the rate of administration very precisely.
IVC - See 'Inferior Vena Cava'.
- See 'Incompetent'.
Long QT Syndrome - A condition
affecting the electrical pathways of the heart.
Mitral Atresia -
Complete obstruction to the mitral valve.
Mitral Stenosis - Narrowing of the mitral valve
resulting from a congenital defect of the valve leaflets or disease
of the valve.
Valve - The valve at the junction of the left
atrium with the left ventricle, which controls flow of blood into
the ventricle, before each beat, and prevents backflow.
Murmur - A noise, heard with the doctor's
stethoscope (or occasionally with the naked ear), which results
from turbulence (eddies) in the flow of blood through the heart or
blood vessels. The noise often has a 'blowing', 'swishing' or
'cooing' character and is quite different from the 'heart sounds'
though many normal children have soft murmurs (see 'Innocent
Murmur', 'Thrill' and 'Heart Sounds').
Myocarditis - Inflammation of the heart muscle
caused by a virus or other illness.
Myocardium - The cardiac muscle.
Nuclear Medicine Scan -
A procedure which involves injecting a very tiny dose of a radio
isotope (radioactive compound) into a vein and scanning the heart
to assess its function or blood flow through it, using a special
Xray scanner. The test may give information about heart function,
abnormalities in the heart's own blood supply or the significance
of septal defects.
Open Heart Operation -
An operation which requires that the heart be opened in order to
perform surgery inside it. These operations almost always
necessitate the use of heart lung bypass.
Pacemaker (Artificial) -
An electronic device used to stimulate the heart and regulate the
heart rhythm. Many children are attached to a pacemaker temporarily
after heart surgery, in case their heart rhythm becomes abnormal.
Some children need a permanent artificial pacemaker (often because
of heart block), in which case the pacemaker is put in, under the
skin in the upper abdomen or in front of an armpit, at an
Paediatrician - A specialist in children's
diseases or problems. Some paediatricians are experts in particular
types of disease or defects (e.g. Paediatric Cardiologist, or
Paediatric Neurologist [specialist in brain and nerve diseases]).
Others take a more general interest in the whole development of the
child, physically and intellectually, and in a wide range of
diseases and problems of infancy and childhood.
Patent - 'Open' (as in Patent Ductus
Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA)
- Refers to the situation when the ductus remains open after the
early days or weeks of life, resulting in a shunt of blood between
the aorta and the pulmonary artery.
Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) - A small hole
between the atriums, related to failure of the normal Foramen Ovale
to close completely after birth. Such a communication is present in
about 20% of normal adults and very seldom causes any problem or
PDA - See 'Patent Ductus Arteriosus'
Pericardial Effusion - A collection of fluid in
the pericardium (sac around the heart). Such a collection, if it is
large, may lead to a buildup of pressure on the heart. This often
results in deterioration in its function, leading to low blood
pressure or heart failure.
Pericarditis - Inflammation of the pericardium,
usually due to an infection. Can be a cause of chest pain.
Pericardium - The sac surrounding the heart,
which normally contains a very thin film of lubricating fluid.
PFO - see 'Patent Foramen Ovale'
Pleura - A term which may refer to either (1 )
visceral pleura a membrane which encloses each lung, or (2)
parietal pleura a membrane which lines the inside wall of the chest
Pleural Cavity - A potential space between the
visceral pleura and parietal pleura. This space normally contains a
very thin film of lubricating fluid (compare with 'Pleural
Effusion' and 'Pneumothorax').
Pleural Effusion - A collection of fluid in the
pleural cavity. Such a collection, if it is large, may lead to a
buildup of pressure on the affected lung. This often results in
deterioration in its function, with breathlessness and a fall in
oxygen levels in the blood.
Pneumothorax - Presence of a collection of air
in the pleural cavity. It may result from a tiny puncture in the
outside wall of the lung or can follow heart or lung surgery. Such
a collection, if it is large, may lead to a buildup of pressure on
the affected lung. This often results in deterioration in its
function, with breathlessness and a fall in oxygen levels in the
Prolapse (of Mitral or Aortic Valve) - Refers
to one of the valve leaflets (flaps) being weaker than normal and
tending to fall backwards when the valve closes - resulting often
in valve regurgitation.
Pulmonary - A term for anything to do with the
Pulmonary Arteries - The arteries carrying
blood into each lung. There are two large branches from the (main)
pulmonary artery, ('left pulmonary artery' and 'right pulmonary
artery') and many smaller branches within each lung. All these are
called 'pulmonary arteries'.
Pulmonary Artery - The main artery carrying
blood from the heart to the lungs.
Pulmonary Atresia - Complete obstruction to the
pulmonary valve or pulmonary artery.
Stenosis - Narrowing of the pulmonary valve or
artery, resulting from (1 ) a congenital defect of the valve
leaflets or disease of the valve, or (2) abnormal development (or
damage resulting from previous surgery) of the artery or its
Valve - The valve at the origin of the pulmonary
artery, which controls the flow of blood out of the right ventricle
and prevents backflow.
Pulse - The 'beat' felt in an artery, for
example in the wrist, groin, neck, or other site and measured in
beats per minute. It shows the rate at which the heart is beating,
Red Blood Cells - The
blood cells which carry oxygen.
Regurgitation - See 'Incompetent'.
Respiration - Breathing.
Respirator (Ventilator) - A machine for helping
to maintain adequate respiration when the patient is unable to
breath adequately on their own.
Respiratory - Anything to do with
Respiratory Failure - Implies that the lungs
are unable to transfer enough oxygen into the blood, resulting in
increasing breathlessness and cyanosis. This may be due to many
different diseases affecting the lungs, including severe heart
failure, which leads to congestion of the lungs (see 'Congestive
Ross Operation -
An operation to replace the aortic valve by using the healthy
pulmonary valve. The pulmonary valve is itself replaced with
a homograft valve.
- The wall within the heart separating the left and right
sides. The atriums are separated by the 'atrial septum' and the
ventricles by the 'ventricular septum'.
Shunt - A term which may refer to
either (1) blood flow from an area of higher pressure to an area of
lower pressure, through an abnormal communication (e.g. septal
defect), or (2) a surgically created communication between two
blood vessels usually achieved via the insertion of an artificial
tube (conduit). This improves the circulation through the
lungs, in cyanosed infants or children, who have reduced blood flow
in the lungs.
Stenosis - Narrowing (usually of a heart valve
or an artery).
Sub - Prefix meaning 'below'.
Sub Aortic Stenosis - Narrowing below the
aortic valve. This usually results from the presence of abnormal
tissue or muscle below the valve.
Cava (SVC) - The main vein from the upper part of the
body which returns deoxygenated blood to the heart.
Supra - Prefix meaning 'above'.
Supra Aortic Stenosis - Narrowing above
the aortic valve. This results from narrowing of the aorta just
above the valve.
Supra Cardiac - A term which means 'above the
heart', as in 'Supra cardiac Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous
TAPVD) where the lung veins connect above the heart to the
SVC - See 'Superior Vena Cava'.
Systemic - Something which involves the whole
body, e.g. systemic circulation.
Systole - The time during which the ventricular
heart muscle contracts to pump blood.
Systolic Blood Pressure - The highest point of
blood pressure in the arteries.
Tachy - Prefix meaning 'fast'.
Tachycardia - A fast heart rate.
TAPVD - See 'Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous
- Used to describe a common heart defect with four components
Thrill - A medical term used to describe the
sensation which can be felt with the hand when it is placed on the
chest wall in a patient with a very loud murmur, which is
associated with vibrations of sufficient intensity for them to be
felt at the surface of the chest.
Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Drainage
(TAPVD) - A defect in which the
pulmonary (lung) veins are connected to veins from the body (i.e.
the SVC or IVC) or to the right atrium, instead of returning to the
Transposition - This is a term used to
mean that two structures (usually the aorta and pulmonary artery)
are in the opposite position to normal such as in 'Transposition of
the Great Arteries' (TGA). See also 'Congenitally Corrected
Transposition Of The Great Arteries'.
Tricuspid Atresia -
Complete obstruction to the tricuspid valve.
Tricuspid Stenosis - Narrowing of the tricuspid
valve, resulting from a congenital defect of the valve leaflets or
disease of the valve.
Valve - The valve at the junction of the right atrium
with the right ventricle, which controls flow of blood into the
ventricle before each contraction, and prevents backflow.
Truncus Arteriosus- A condition in
which the aorta and main pulmonary artery are joined where they
leave the heart. Blood from both ventricles passes across a VSD
into this single arterial trunk.
- A structure in a blood vessel or the heart which ensures blood
flows only one way. They are constructed of single or multiple
flaps which swing open to allow blood to flow forwards and swing
shut to prevent back flow. The valve flaps are referred to as
'leaflets' or 'cusps'.
Veins - Blood vessels which carry blood back
towards the heart, after it has circulated around the body. Veins
usually carry deoxygenated blood, except in the pulmonary veins
where oxygenated blood is carried back to the heart from the
Ventilate - To use a ventilator (respirator) to
help a patient who cannot breath adequately for themselves.
Ventilator - See 'Respirator'.
- One of the two powerful muscular chambers at the bottom of the
heart which pump blood out to the body with each heart
Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) - A defect (hole) in
the ventricular septum which allows blood to shunt from one
ventricle to the other.
Septum - The septum (partition or wall) between the
VSD - See 'Ventricular Septal Defect'.
Xray - An Xray of the
chest will often be performed as part of an initial assessment or a
follow up appointment. This will show the size and shape of the
heart and also helps to demonstrate effects of heart problems on
the lungs (e.g. congestion of the lungs). Enlargement of the heart
and abnormalities of its shape may give valuable information about
many heart defects and their severity.
Much of the information on this page is included in the
Heartkids Booklet and is reproduced here with permission of