This glossary is available to help you understand complicated terms you will see on this website and may hear from your doctor. Be sure to check with your doctor if you have any questions.

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Abnormal heart rhythm

Also known as arrhythmia, it describes a heart that beats too slow, too fast, or with an irregular pattern.


A state of temporary loss of sensation, feeling, or awareness, induced by a medical professional in patients who are undergoing surgery.


A type of chest pain or discomfort caused by poor blood flow to the heart.


An X-ray test to examine how blood is flowing through your arteries or veins.


A procedure where an inflatable balloon is inserted through the blood vessel to widen the narrowed area in order to restore blood flow.

Aortic stenosis

A condition where a buildup of calcium deposits results in a narrowing of the aortic valve, reducing the blood flow from the heart to the rest of the body.

Aortic valve

This valve regulates the flow of blood from the heart’s chamber into the aorta.


The blood vessel that delivers oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the rest of the body.


Using a stethoscope to listen to the sounds of patient’s heart.

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Balloon valvuloplasty (BAV)

A procedure to widen a narrowed valve in the heart using an inflated balloon catheter which is inserted through an artery.

Biological valve

A replacement heart valve made using animal tissue sourced from cows or pigs.

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Occurs when there is an accumulation of calcium on a body tissue. When this happens in the aortic valve, it makes it difficult for the leaflets to function properly.

Cardiac care rehabilitation

A medically-supervised programme created to aid in the recovery of patients who have undergone heart surgery or assist those who have heart complications to improve their condition.

Cardiothoracic surgeon

A medical doctor who specializes in heart surgery.


A hollow, thin, either flexible or non-flexible tube used in minimally-invasive medical procedures to insert, remove, or transfer fluids or instruments into patients’ bodies.


A procedure that involves the insertion of a thin tube into a body passage, vessel, or cavity.

Chest X-ray

A diagnostic examination to take images of the internal organs and structures of the chest area including your heart, lungs, and large blood vessels.

Congenital defect

Heart defects that are present at birth.

Conscious sedation

A technique of using a combination of medicines to relax a patient and block pain while the patient remains awake and aware.

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Delivery system

A tool used during a medical procedure to guide the transcatheter valve.

Diagnostic tests

Tests conducted by a doctor to assess if you have aortic stenosis. These tests include echocardiogram (also called echo), cardiac catheterization, chest X-ray, and electrocardiogram (also called EKG).


The transfer of a document, file, or program into your computer. Once downloaded, the file can be opened, viewed, or saved into your computer.


Feeling short of breath or having difficulty breathing.

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Echocardiogram (echo)

An ultrasound test that produces live images of your heart muscle and valves in order to assess how your heart is functioning.

Electrocardiogram (EKG)

A test to measure the electrical activity of your heart such as heart rate and rhythm.

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The mental or physical state of being extremely tired or lacking in energy.

Femoral artery

The main artery in the thigh which supplies oxygenated blood to the lower parts of the body.


An imaging procedure using X-rays that provides live moving images of the internal organs.


A state of being mentally and physically weak, a condition that progresses with age.

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Heart and lung blood machine

A machine that helps pump and oxygenate blood for a patient during an open heart surgery.

Heart attack

Occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked, resulting in death or heart impairment.

Heart failure

A situation when the heart is unable to pump an adequate supply of blood to the rest of the body.

Heart murmur

Sounds made by the flow of blood in or near your heart. Abnormal heart murmurs may indicate possible heart valve disease.

Heart Team

A team of medical professionals who work together to make decision on the suitable treatment plan for each patient.

Heart valve disease

A prevalent condition when your heart valve do not function properly.

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Intensive care unit (ICU)

A unit in the hospital where specialized treatment and critical care are provided to patients.

Intermediate or greater risk

The likelihood or possibility of a patient to experience a harmful outcome or severe complications from undergoing open heart surgery.

Interventional cardiologist

A medical doctor specializing in diagnosing and treating cardiovascular diseases, especially through catheter-based procedures. This is the doctor who will likely perform TAVI procedures.

Invasive procedures

A medical procedure that requires cutting skin and internally inserting instruments to provide access to the internal parts of the body, and in which the recovery process takes longer.

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Thin flaps of tissue within heart valves that open and close to allow blood to flow through the heart in the right direction.

Less invasive procedure

A medical procedure using specialised equipment where only small cuts on skin are required, unlike the large cuts made in invasive surgeries.

Life-threatening bleeding event

A major loss of blood that can lead to fatality.

Local anaesthesia

A medical technique using drugs that creates an absence of pain sensation on a specific area.

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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

The use of strong magnetic fields and radio waves to take images of internal organs.

Mechanical heart valve

A substitute heart valve made of artificial materials to replace a damaged one. Once replaced, it requires patients to be on lifelong blood-thinning medication.

Minimal incision valve surgery

When a replacement valve is inserted using a small incision instead of having to make a large cut through the entire breastbone.

Minimally-invasive procedure

A medical procedure which uses a small cut to perform and where the healing process is faster.

Mitral valve

Also known as a bicuspid valve or left atrioventricular valve, it allows blood to flow from left upper chamber of the heart(the left atrium), to left lower chamber (the left ventricle.)

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Open heart surgery

A major operation in which the chest is cut open to repair a damaged heart.

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The characteristic of a disease that gradually becomes worse.

Pulmonary valve

The valve that regulates the flow of blood as it exits the heart into the lungs.

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Rheumatic fever

A condition of inflammation that occurs throughout the body especially in the heart, resulting from an untreated strep throat.

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A small tube slipped into an artery or vein to facilitate the insertion of a catheter.


A device that enables doctors to listen to the internal sounds of a human body such as a heartbeat.


Occurs when the delivery of blood to the brain is blocked, causing a lack of oxygen and nutrients to reach the brain, resulting in the death of brain cells.


A condition when there is a drop in blood flow to the brain, causing a person to faint.

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Transaortic approach

A procedure of implanting a replacement aortic valve by making a small cut in the upper chest.

Transapical approach

A procedure of implanting a replacement aortic valve by making a small incision in the chest between the ribs.

Transcatheter aortic valve implantation

A procedure to replace a damaged aortic valve using a minimally-invasive technique.

Transfemoral approach

A procedure of implanting a replacement aortic valve by making a small incision in the leg.

Tricuspid valve

The valve that allows blood to flow from one chamber of the heart, the right atrium, to another called the right ventricle.

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The application of sound waves to create images of internal body structures and to see how blood flows within the body.

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Vascular complication

Injury or blockages in arteries resulting in circulation problems in the body.


Blood vessels that transport blood from various parts of the body back to the heart.