Background image for the top navigation. The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital link. Clinicians page link. Works on Wellness and Employee Benefits page link Family Services page link. Link to Senior Services page.
Email to a friend    Printer Friendly Page

Request More Information

Vascular Center

Glossary of Terms

Amputation: The removal of a body part.

Angiography: An x-ray test that uses fluoroscopy to take pictures of the blood flow within an artery or a vein. Angiography is called by different names depending on which blood vessel is being studied. For example, an angiogram of the aorta is called an aortogram; an angiogram of an artery is called arteriogram.

Aneurysm: A bulge in a blood vessel, much like a bulge on an inner tube. 

Angioplasty: A non-surgical technique where a catheter with a balloon at the tip is guided into the narrowed artery, the balloon is inflated thereby opening the passage.

Anticoagulants: A drug that helps prevent the clotting (coagulation) of blood.

Arteries: Blood vessels that carry oxygen rich blood throughout the body.

Atherectomy: A procedure used to open up narrowed arteries to increase blood flow.

Atherosclerosis: The process in which deposits of fatty substances build up in the inner lining of an artery.

Beta Blockers: Drugs that reduce the workload on the heart by slowing the heart rate, which allows the heart to pump more efficiently.

Bruit: A sound or murmur caused by turbulent or restricted blood flow

Bypass: An alternate pathway for the flow of blood. Surgery restores blood flow by “bypassing”a blocked blood vessel.

Cardiac Catheterization: A test that can measure blood pressure within the heart and how much oxygen is in the blood. During a cardiac catheterization, or "cath", a doctor inserts a thin plastic tube, or catheter, into an artery or vein in the arm or leg. From there it can be advanced into the chambers of the heart or into the coronary arteries.

Catheter: A flexible, hollow tube.

Claudication: Pain in leg muscles occurring during walking but which subsides with rest. It results from inadequate blood supply which may be caused by a blockage in the blood vessel or blood vessel spasm.

Echocardiogram: A non-invasive, painless test that uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to get a picture of the heart.

Excise: Remove by cutting.

Gangrene: Death of tissue usually due to lack of or absent blood supply.

Graft: A piece of tissue (such as vein) or a synthetic material used to bypass a diseased part.

Heart attack: When an area of the heart muscle does not get enough blood and chest pain or discomfort, called angina, develops. This lack of blood flow results in death of heart tissue and is called a “heart attack.”

Hypertension: High blood pressure.

Hypotension: Low blood pressure.

Infarct: Dead tissue as a result of obstructed blood flow to the area.

Ischemia: Blood deficiency due to a narrowed or obstructed blood vessel.

Intermittent Claudication: Tightness or squeezing pain in the calf, thigh , or buttock during exertion, such as walking. The pain is usually triggered at a certain point after the same amount of exercise and is relieved by rest. As the condition worsens, foot and toe pain may occur at rest.

Peripheral arterial disease: (PAD) is a chronic condition that results from narrowing of the vessels that supply oxygen-rich blood to the legs, abdomen, pelvis, arms, or neck. Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is also called peripheral vascular disease.

Stent: A small coiled spring device that is placed in the artery to keep it open.

Stroke: A stroke occurs when a blood vessel (artery) that supplies blood to the brain bursts or is blocked by a blood clot. Within minutes, the nerve cells in that area of the brain become damaged and die, and as a result, the part of the body controlled by the damaged section of the brain cannot function properly.

Thrombosis: Clot formation causing decreased or lack of blood flow through an artery of vein.

Synthetic: Man-made

Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA): A temporary interruption of blood flow to part of the brain. This interruption of blood flow causes symptoms similar to a stroke, but TIA symptoms are temporary. A TIA may cause you to have vision problems, slurred speech, or the inability to move one side of your body, but the symptoms will usually end after 10 to 20 minutes. In some cases, symptoms can last up to 24 hours. 

Veins: Blood vessels that carry oxygen poor blood back to the heart.

What is vascular disease?
Vascular Center Medical Staff and Affiliated Practices
Health Information

22 Bramhall Street | Portland, Maine 04102-3175 | (207) 662-0111