Glossary

Anesthesia

Local or general inability to feel pain, with or without the loss of consciousness.

Anesthesiologist

A physician who is specially trained in pain management, intensive respiratory care during surgery, and resuscitation.

Angina

A severe constricting pain. Called angina pectoris when it affects the chest or heart.

Artery

Any blood vessel that carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the organs and tissues of the body.

Atherosclerosis

Deposits of plaque on the inner surfaces of large and medium-sized arteries. Called hardening of the arteries because plaque reduces the ability of affected vessels to allow normal blood flow.

Beating heart surgery

Any type of heart surgery that is performed while the heart remains beating while the procedure is performed, without the use of a Heart-lung machine.

CABG

Coronary Artery Bypass Graft—a specific type of heart surgery that is done to “bypass” blockages in the arteries that supply the heart with oxygenated blood. Also called bypass surgery.

Clot

A collection of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets held together with a flexible protein. A clot can be good when it helps to close a wound, but if one is released into the bloodstream it can lodge in the brain and cause a stroke.

Endoscope

A device that includes attachments for a tiny camera and a light source, which allows a clinician to visualize tissues inside the body.

EVH

Endoscopic vessel harvesting. The use of an endoscope to harvest a healthy blood vessel to be used as a graft in CABG surgery.

Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG)

A diagnostic recording of the electrical activity of the heart.

Graft

A surgical procedure to add or replace tissue such as blood vessels in order to repair damage. May also refer to the tissue used.

Harvest

The process of acquiring a healthy blood vessel from its normal anatomical location for use in CABG surgery.

Heart attack

A lack of arterial blood supply that causes damage to or destruction of heart muscle tissue. Also called a myocardial infarction.

Heart-lung machine

A mechanical pump that keeps the body supplied with oxygenated blood during traditional forms of heart surgery in which the heart itself is stopped in order to allow surgical procedures to be performed on the heart and heart tissues.

Invasive

Requiring an incision or puncture into the body. Used to describe a medical procedure.

Internal mammary artery

An artery that travels downward on the inside and front of the rib cage in both men and women that supplies the front chest wall and the breast tissues with oxygenated blood. It is often used as a bypass graft for CABG surgery.

On-pump

A type of procedure that stops the heart and uses a Heart-lung machine.

Off-pump

A type of procedure that does not stop the heart and is done without putting the patient on a Heart-lung machine.

Plaque

A substance made up of cholesterol and fats (lipids) that collects in the inside lining of arteries, restricting or blocking the flow of blood.

Radial artery

A blood vessel that runs from the elbow to the wrist. It is one of the blood vessels that can be used as a bypass graft for CABG surgery.

Saphenous vein

A long blood vessel that runs the entire length of the leg and from which sections can be harvested to create bypass grafts.

Sedative

A drug or other agent that produces a calming effect, used to cause relaxation or reduce anxiety, irritation, or stress.

Stroke

A sudden loss of function due to a blockage of blood supply to the brain. Symptoms may be mild (slurred speech or blurred vision) or severe (paralysis, unconsciousness, or death).

Surgical staples

Sterile metal fasteners used instead of stitches to close external wounds, which require removal after the tissue heals.

Vein

Any blood vessel that carries dark, unoxygenated blood towards the heart.

Vessel

Any duct, canal, or tube that contains or carries a body fluid. Used to describe either an artery or a vein that carries blood.