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Glossary

ACE inhibitor–A drug that inhibits ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme), which is important to the formation of angiotensin II. Angiotensin II causes arteries in the body to constrict, thereby raising blood pressure. ACE inhibitors lower blood pressure by inhibiting the formation of angiotensin II. This relaxes the arteries. Relaxing the arteries not only lowers blood pressure, but also improves the pumping efficiency of a weak or damaged heart and improves cardiac output in patients with heart failure.

Advanced Heart Failure–The heart of a person with advanced heart failure has a hard time pumping blood. This results in the body getting less oxygen. It makes a person feel tired or weak, even when doing simple things, such as walking or eating. Advanced heart failure (AHF) is defined as Classes IIIb and IV in the
New York Heart Association (NYHA) Functional ClassificationX CLOSENew York Heart Association (NYHA) Functional Classification –A common scale that doctors use to measure heart failure. This scale classifies heart failure in categories from I to IV based on a patient's symptoms. In NYHA Class I heart failure, the mildest form, individuals can perform everyday activities and not feel winded or fatigued. NYHA Class IV is the most severe, and individuals are short of breath even at rest.  and Stages C and D in the AHA/ACC Stages of Heart FailureX CLOSEAmerican Heart Association (AHA)/American College of Cardiologists (ACC) Stages of Heart Failure–A common scale that doctors use to measure heart failure in 4 stages. This classification system uses the letters A to D to define the heart's condition. The system includes a category for individuals who are at risk of developing heart failure. Advanced heart failure (AHF) is defined as Stages C and D..

American Heart Association (AHA)/American College of Cardiologists (ACC) Stages of Heart Failure–A common scale that doctors use to measure heart failure in 4 stages. This classification system uses the letters A to D to define the heart's condition. The system includes a category for individuals who are at risk of developing heart failure. Advanced heart failure (AHF) is defined as Stages C and D.

Anemia–A condition marked by low levels of healthy red blood cells.

Aorta–The main artery from the heart. It carries blood from the left ventricle of the heart to smaller arteries that flow blood to the rest of the body.

Arrhythmia–Any loss of rhythm in the heart, most commonly referred to as an irregular heartbeat.

Arteries–Thick, muscular tubes that carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body.

Atherosclerosis–Plaque formed inside the arteries that reduce blood flow and cause blockage. Sometimes called "hardening" of the arteries.

Beta-blocker–A type of drug used to treat high blood pressure or arrhythmias that decrease the force and rate of heart contractions by blocking receptors in the heart.

Biventricular–Pertaining to both the left and right ventricles of the heart.

Blood Clots–A mass or lump caused by the thickening of the blood.

Blood panel–A laboratory test done on blood to gain an appreciation of how the organs are functioning. Since blood flows throughout the body, providing oxygen and other nutrients and drawing waste products back to the excretory systems for disposal, the state of blood is affected by many medical conditions, including heart failure. Red and white blood cells and blood chemistry are both vital sources of information about heart conditions.

Blood thinner–Medicine used to prevent blood clots or keep the blood in a liquid form.

Blood vessels–The network of small tubes that carries blood to and from the heart and throughout your body. Blood vessels include arteries and veins.

Bridge to Transplantation–Temporary support for people with heart failure who are waiting for a heart transplant. Bridge to Transplantation involves the use of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD).

Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT)–CRT is indicated for Class III heart failure patients to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. CRT includes the use of a biventricular pacemaker.

Cardiomyopathy–Any disease of the heart muscle that leads to an enlarged and damaged heart that has impaired function.

Cardiopulmonary–Pertaining to or affecting both the heart and the lungs and their functions.

Coronary artery disease–A disease in which deposits containing cholesterol and fat are deposited within large and medium-sized arteries.

Destination Therapy–Permanent support for advanced stage heart failure for patients who do not qualify for a heart transplant. Destination Therapy refers to the implantation of a ventricular assist device (VAD) for long-term use, rather than as a Bridge to Transplantation.

Diuretics (or water pills)–Drugs that increase the loss of water and salt from the body through the urine.

Dyspnea–Difficult or labored breathing. A common symptom of numerous medical disorders, including heart failure.

Echocardiogram–A picture of the heart created through the use of sound waves that provides an accurate assessment of the heart's function.

Edema–The swelling of soft tissues as a result of excess water. Edema can occur almost anywhere in the body, but the most common sites are the feet and ankles.

Ejection fraction–A measurement of the fraction of blood pumped out of a ventricle with each heartbeat.

Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)–An electric measurement of the speed and manner in which the heart beats. ECGs are a prime tool for the screening and diagnosis of cardiovascular diseases. They are used to determine whether the heart is performing normally. ECGs are also used as a screening tool for heart disease during an exercise tolerance test.

Exercise tolerance test (cardiac stress test or exercise stress test)–A test performed to measure the ability of the arterial blood flow to the heart muscle to increase during the stress of physical exercise, compared with blood flow while at rest.

Heart attack/Myocardial infarction–Destruction of heart tissue resulting from coronary artery disease.

Heartbeat–One complete contraction of the heart.

Heart chambers–The 4 sections of the heart through which blood is pumped. The two upper chambers are called the left atrium and right atrium. The two lower chambers are the left and right ventricles. Oxygen-rich blood from the lungs enters the left atrium, while oxygen-depleted blood from the rest of the body flows into the right atrium. Both atria simultaneously pump blood into the ventricles. The ventricles then pump the blood to the lungs (from the right ventricle) and to the rest of the body (from the left ventricle). The left ventricle performs 80% of the heart's work.

Heart failure (HF)–Also called congestive heart failure (CHF), a condition that can result from any structural or functional cardiac disorder that weakens or damages the heart and impairs its ability to fill with blood or pump a sufficient amount of blood throughout the body. Blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to the body's tissues and organs, which are vital for healthy functioning. Heart failure compromises this delivery system and reduces the body's ability to function.

Heart failure studies–Research studies designed to test the effectiveness and safety of new devices, therapies, and techniques, or to study new ways of using existing heart failure treatments. These studies may offer very sick people a chance to receive newer therapies. The goal of these studies is to develop the best treatments for heart failure.

Inotropes–Drugs that affect the strength of contraction of the heart muscle (myocardial contractility). Both positive and negative inotropes are used in the management of various cardiovascular conditions.

Left ventricular assist device (LVAD)–A device implanted into the chest to help the heart pump blood.

Mechanical circulatory support (MCS)–A range of treatment options for acute-, mid-, and long-term circulatory assistance to improve quality and length of life for people with advanced stage heart failure.

New York Heart Association (NYHA) Functional Classification–A common scale that doctors use to measure heart failure. This scale classifies heart failure in categories from I to IV based on a patient's symptoms. In NYHA Class I heart failure, the mildest form, individuals can perform everyday activities and not feel winded or fatigued. NYHA Class IV is the most severe, and individuals are short of breath, even at rest.

Orthopnea–Breathing difficulty that occurs when lying flat. It is a symptom of heart failure.

Risk factors–The list of factors and activities or health habits that lead to the worsening of heart failure, including drinking alcohol, diabetes, smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, stress, salt intake, and obesity. These factors can be reduced or limited by making appropriate lifestyle changes.

6-Minute Walk Test–A standard test that a doctor may use to measure your heart's tolerance to activity. Before the test, a doctor will record facts about your heart. During the test, the doctor will see how far you can walk during a 6-minute period. The results provide a good indicator about your heart's health.

Tachycardia–An abnormally rapid heartbeat. In an average adult, it is defined as a resting heart rate of 100 or more beats per minute. It can harm you in 2 ways. First, when the heart beats too rapidly, it performs inefficiently; there is not enough time for the ventricles to fill completely, causing cardiac output to diminish. Second, the heart must work harder, causing it to require more oxygen and reducing the blood flow to the cardiac muscle tissue.

Valves–Flap-like structures that serve to keep blood flowing in one direction through a canal or tubular structure.

Vasodilators–Medications that cause widening of blood vessels following the relaxation of the muscle in the vessel wall. Since there is more room for the blood to flow, blood pressure is reduced.


For indications for use, contraindications, warnings, and adverse events view our HeartMate II safety information. Individual experiences, symptoms, situations, and circumstances may vary. Please consult your physician or qualified healthcare provider regarding your condition and appropriate medical treatment.


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