Atrial fibrillation: An irregular heartbeat that is often fast and increases the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Blanching: The whiteness that occurs when pressure is placed on tissue or a nail bed, causing blood to leave the area.
Bruit: A swishing sound when auscultating the carotid arteries. This indicates turbulence in the blood vessel due to atherosclerotic changes.
Capillary refill: The time it takes for color to return after pressure is applied to tissue causing blanching.
Click: Clicking sound heard on auscultation of the precordium; often heard in patients with heart valve abnormalities.
Cyanosis: A bluish discoloration of the skin, lips, and nail beds. It is an indication of decreased perfusion and oxygenation.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): A blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body.
Ductus arteriosus: Shunt that connects the pulmonary artery and aorta in the developing fetus.
Dyspnea: A feeling of shortness of breath.
Edema: Swelling in tissues caused by fluid retention.
Heave or lift: Palpable lifting sensation under the sternum and anterior chest wall to the left of the sternum; it suggests severe right ventricular hypertrophy.
Jugular Vein Distension (JVD): Occurs when the increased pressure of the superior vena cava causes the jugular vein to bulge, making it most visible on the right side of a person’s neck.
Murmur: A blowing or whooshing sound heard on auscultation of the precordium that signifies turbulent blood flow in the heart often caused by a valvular defect.
Orthopnea: A feeling of shortness of breath when lying flat.
Pallor: A reduced amount of oxyhemoglobin in the skin or mucous membranes. Skin and mucous membranes present with a pale skin color.
Paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea: An attack of severe shortness of breath that generally occurs at night.
Perfusion: The amount of blood flow to tissue.
Peripheral edema: Swelling due to an accumulation of fluid in tissues perfused by the peripheral vascular system.
Pitting edema: An accumulation of fluid in tissue and causes an indentation when the area is pressed.
Pleural friction rub: Uncommon heart sounds produced when the parietal and visceral pericardium become inflamed, generating a creaky-scratchy noise as they rub together.
Precordium: The region of the thorax in front of the heart.
Pulmonary embolism: A blood clot that lodges in one of the arteries that go from the heart to the lung.
Sphygmomanometer: An instrument for measuring blood pressure typically consisting of an inflatable rubber cuff.
Syncope: A temporary loss of consciousness usually related to insufficient blood flow to the brain.
Thrill: A vibration felt with palpation of the precordium.