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Glossary

Terms

A


Alveoli
The smallest lung units that include thin-walled air sacs directly linked with a network of small blood vessels (capillaries) where gas exchange occurs
Angina
Chest pain that is caused by parts of the heart not getting enough blood; usually the result of atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries.
Anticoagulants
Medications that thin the blood make the formation of blood clots less likely.
Anticoagulation
The act of receiving therapy with anticoagulants
Aorta
The largest artery in the body; carries all the oxygenated blood pumped out by the left ventricle to the rest of the body via a branching network of smaller arteries
Aortic valve
A valve in the heart that separates the left ventricle from the aorta preventing blood from flowing backwards into the ventricle.
Arginine
An essential amino acid whose natural breakdown and metabolism generates the potent vasodilator nitric oxide
Asthma
A disease in which the muscles surrounding the airways of the lungs spasm and result in reversible narrowing of the airways, making it difficult to exhale.
Atrium
The two smaller chambers (one on each side) of the heart; the right atrium accepts blood from the veins throughout the body and the left atrium accepts freshly oxygenated blood from the lungs