IX Glossary

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.

Pericardial friction rub: Uncommon heart sound caused by inflammation of the pericardium, with a creaky-scratchy noise generated as the parietal and visceral membranes rub together.

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.

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.


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Nursing Skills - 2e Copyright © 2023 by Chippewa Valley Technical College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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