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

When your heart beats too fast, too slow, or with an irregular pattern.


Temporary loss of feeling or awareness induced by a medical professional during a surgical procedure.


Chest pain caused by poor blood supply to the heart.


A medical imaging test that uses X-rays and dyes to see how blood flows through an artery or a vein.


A procedure that uses an inflatable balloon on a thin tube to internally widen a narrowed blood vessel.

Aortic stenosis

Narrowing of the aortic valve that prevents normal blood flow and makes the heart work harder.

Aortic valve

The valve that controls blood flow from the heart to the aorta (largest artery that carries blood to the rest of the body).


Blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood to the body.


Listening to the sounds of your heart using a stethoscope.

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Balloon valvuloplasty (BAV)

A procedure in which a balloon catheter is inserted through an artery into the heart. The balloon is then inflated to open the narrowed valve.

Biological valve

Replacement heart valve made of animal tissue (cow or pig).

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A build-up of calcium on tissue. In the aortic valve, it can reduce the ability for leaflets to open and close properly.

Cardiac care rehabilitation

A medically supervised care program designed to improve the health of people who have had heart problems or recent heart surgery.

Cardiothoracic surgeon

Surgeon who performs heart surgery.


A thin, hollow tube, either flexible or non-flexible, that is used to add, remove or transfer fluids or instruments used in minimally-invasive procedures.


A procedure in which a slender tube is inserted into a body passage, vessel or cavity.

Chest X-ray

A type of imaging that displays images of the organs and structures inside your chest, such as your heart, lungs, and large blood vessels.

Congenital defect

A problem with the structure of the heart that is present at birth.

Conscious sedation

A type of sedation that relaxes you and blocks pain while awake.

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Delivery system

A medical tool used to guide the transcatheter valve.

Diagnostic tests

Tests that help your doctor confirm if you have aortic stenosis. Some of these tests include echocardiogram (also called echo), cardiac catheterisation, chest X-ray, and electrocardiogram (also called EKG).


To receive a copy of a file, program or document that can be saved and viewed from your computer. The downloaded file may open in a separate window, may be minimised at the bottom of the web browser, or may be located within your computer’s downloads folder.


Shortness of breath.

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Echocardiogram (echo)

This diagnostic test uses sound wave technology, or ultrasound, to show three-dimensional images of the heart to better assess its function.

Electrocardiogram (EKG)

A diagnostic test that records electrical activity in the heart, such as heart rate and rhythm.

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A feeling of being extremely tired or having low energy.

Femoral artery

The largest blood vessel in the leg that supplies blood to the lower part of the body.


An X-ray procedure that makes it possible to see internal organs in motion.


Increased physical and mental weakness that is often associated with older age.

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Heart and lung blood machine

A device used during open heart procedures to remove blood from the body. The blood is enriched with oxygen and then returned to the body.

Heart attack

A medical emergency that occurs when blood flow is blocked to the heart, leading to death or damage to the heart.

Heart failure

When the heart is unable to pump blood to the body’s organs and maintain their function.

Heart murmur

An abnormal heart sound that may indicate heart valve disease.

Heart Team

A group of qualified healthcare professionals who work together to determine the best treatment plan for each individual patient.

Heart valve disease

A common condition in which the heart valves do not work the way they should.

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Intensive care unit (ICU)

A hospital unit that provides constant care to patients.

Intermediate or greater risk

Risk is assessed by evaluating a patient’s current health and likelihood of experiencing major complications as a result of undergoing open heart surgery.

Interventional cardiologist

Doctor who specialises in catheter-based treatments for the heart or coronary artery diseases (in most cases this is the doctor who performs TAVI).

Invasive procedure

A medical procedure that requires entry into the body (usually by cutting skin and inserting instruments into body) and involves a longer recovery period.

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Triangular-shaped flaps of tissue within heart valves that open and close to control blood flow.

Less invasive procedure

A medical procedure performed with a small incision and specialised equipment.

Life-threatening bleeding event

Dangerous blood loss due to blood vessel injury.

Local anaesthesia

A drug that temporarily numbs a small area of the skin.

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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

A diagnostic test that uses magnetic and radio waves to take detailed pictures of the heart and other organs.

Mechanical heart valve

Replacement heart valve made of artificial materials. Once inserted in the body, lifelong blood thinning medication is required.

Minimal incision valve surgery

A surgical technique for replacing a diseased valve that does not require a large incision or cutting through the entire breastbone.

Minimally-invasive procedure

A procedure that can be performed through a small incision, which typically leads to a faster recovery.

Mitral valve

The valve that controls blood flow from the heart’s left upper chamber to the left lower chamber.

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Open heart surgery

A surgical procedure where the chest is cut open to repair damage to the heart.

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Relating to disease, a condition that will continue to get worse.

Pulmonary valve

The valve that controls blood flow from the heart into the lungs.

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Rheumatic fever

Inflammation that occurs throughout the body, especially in the heart, if strep throat goes untreated.

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A tube placed in an artery or vein during a procedure to help a doctor with insertion of catheter.


An instrument used by a medical professional to listen to low-volume sounds in the body such as a heartbeat.


The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood flow to the brain.


Temporary loss of consciousness or fainting.

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Transaortic approach

A way to replace your aortic valve through a small incision in the upper chest.

Transapical approach

A way to replace your aortic valve through a small incision in the chest between the ribs.

Transcather aortic valve implantation

A less invasive procedure that replaces an unhealthy aortic valve.

Transfemoral approach

A way to replace your aortic valve through a small incision in the leg.

Tricuspid valve

The valve that controls blood flow from the heart’s upper right chamber to lower right chamber.

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A diagnostic test that uses sound waves to obtain images of blood flow and your body’s internal structure.

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Vascular complication

Blood vessel injury or internal bleeding.


Blood vessel that returns blood to the heart.