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Aorta


The major blood vessel that leaves the left side of the heart. It supplies blood to the body.


Aortic valve The valve through which blood passes from the heart into the aorta. The aortic valve is composed of three cusps. A bicuspid valve (a valve that has only two cusps or ‘flaps’) fails to open properly due to the absence of the third cusp and can narrow up due to repetitive damage.


Arrhythmia


A disturbance of the heart’s rhythm. A ‘ventricular’ arrhythmia can be life-threatening.


Asystole


When the heart’s rhythm stops completely because there is no electrical activity.


Atrial Of or belonging to the atria.


Atrial fibrillation An arrhythmia involving the atria (the two upper chambers of the heart).


Atrium One of the two top chambers of the heart. (The plural of ‘atrium’ is ‘atria’.) Autopsy A post-mortem examination of a dead body. AV block See ‘heart block’.


Atrioventricular (AV) node The part of the heart that lies between the top chambers (atria) and bottom chambers (ventricles). It regulates the transmission of electrical impulses from the natural pacemaker in the atrium to the ventricle. It helps to prevent the heart from pumping too fast if the impulses from the atrium become too rapid.


Bradycardia Slowing of the heart rate.


Cardiac Risk in the Young


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