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24-h Holter monitoring (ambulatory Holter monitoring) A portable device used for 24 h that continuously records the patient’s ECG during usual daily activity.

Abnormal chronotropic response Inadequate increase in heart rate during exercise testing.

Abnormal inotropic response Inadequate increase in systolic blood pressure during exercise testing.

Achalasia An esophageal motility disorder in which the smooth muscle layer of the esophagus loses normal peristalsis (muscular ability to move food down the esophagus), and the lower esophageal sphincter fails to relax properly in response to swallowing.

Atrial fibrillation An abnormality in the heart rhythm that involves irregular and often rapid beating of the heart and is related to thromboembolic phenomena.

Cardiac resynchronization (biventricular pacing) A treatment for heart failure that uses a three-lead biventricular pacemaker implanted in the chest. The pacemaker sends tiny electrical impulses to the heart muscle to coordinate (resynchronize) the pumping of the chambers of the heart, improving the heart’s pumping efficiency. Both ventricles are paced to contract at the same time. This can reduce the symptoms of heart failure.

Complete atrioventricular block Also known as third-degree heart block, it is a rhythm disorder in which the impulse generated in the sinus node in the atrium does not propagate to the ventricles.

Couplets Two ectopic beats occurring one after the other.

Dyskesia (dyschezia) Pain with defecation.

Fecaloma A tumor made of feces.

First-degree atrioventricular block A disease of the electrical conduction system of the heart in which the PR interval is lengthened beyond 0.20 s.

Gallop rhythm A usually abnormal rhythm of the heart on auscultation. It includes three or four sounds, thus resembling the sounds of a gallop.

Intracardiac electrophysiological study Placement of multiple catheter electrodes into the heart for the diagnosis and management of selected cardiac conditions. This procedure has been used mainly for identifying the mechanisms, site, and severity of brady-or tachyarrhythmias.

Low QRS voltage Voltage of entire QRS complex in all limb leads of the ECG <5mm.

New York Heart Association functional class A functional classification of heart failure into four stages according to the type of activity causing shortness of breath I (intense physical activity); II (moderate physical activity); III (mild physical activity); and IV (rest).

Nonsustained ventricular tachycardia A period of three or more ventricular ectopic beats lasting less than 30 s.

Primary ST-T changes ST-T wave changes that are independent of changes in ventricular activation and that may be the result of global or segmental pathologic processes that affect ventricular repolarization.

Programmed ventricular

stimulation A minimally invasive procedure which tests the electrical conduction system of the heart to assess its electrical activity and conduction pathways.

Sinus node dysfunction A group of abnormal heart rhythms presumably caused by a malfunction of the sinus node (the heart’s primary pacemaker).

Stokes—Adams syndrome Sudden collapse into unconsciousness due to a disorder of heart rhythm in which there is a slow or absent pulse resulting in syncope (fainting) with or without convulsions.

Transcatheter ablation An invasive procedure used to remove a faulty electrical pathway responsible for some cardiac arrhythmias. Catheters are advanced toward the heart and high-frequency electrical impulses are used to induce the arrhythmia, and then ablate (destroy) the abnormal tissue that is causing it.

Volvulus A bowel obstruction in which a loop of bowel has abnormally twisted on itself.

Xenodiagnosis Procedure allowing the feeding of laboratory-reared triatomine bugs (known to be infection-free) the blood of patients suspected of having Chagas disease; after several weeks, the bug feces are checked for the presence of Trypanosoma cruzi.

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