Terminology Describing Ischemic Heart Disease and Heart Failure
Descriptions of cardiac biomarkers and their use require knowledge of several terms. These terms and their definitions follow.
Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS)
Includes all the ischemic events that can occur in the heart. These events range from angina (where there is no cell death or reversible cell injury) to an AMI with large areas of cell necrosis. A continuum of events that are involved in ACS is illustrated on the page that follows this glossary of terms.
Acute Myocardial Infarction (AMI)
Commonly referred to as a heart attack. A sudden loss of circulating blood and oxygen that causes necrosis of myocardial tissue. It is most often caused by the narrowing of coronary arteries by atherosclerosis, a thrombus, or dislodged plaque material.
Chest pain caused by inadequate supply of oxygen to heart myocardium. It is synonymous with angina pectoris, pectoris meaning chest.
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
Usually, a left ventricular dysfunction resulting from aging, hypertension, atherosclerosis or muscle damage from an AMI or repeated AMIs. In CHF, the heart is not able to effectively pump blood through its chambers and to the body. Fluid accumulates in the lungs and tissues causing edema because less blood leaves through the arteries than what entered the heart from the veins.
Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
The tracings of the electrical current that passes through the myocardium. The heart contractions are stimulated by this current. In areas of myocyte necrosis, the current does not pass and the tracings display abnormal patterns.
An area of tissue death that occurs due to lack of oxygen. Clogging of an artery will cause dead muscle tissue or infarction.
An inadequate blood supply that decreases availability of oxygen. Atherosclerosis is the main cause of myocardial ischemia.