Pharmacology for Nurses – Drugs for the Cardiovascular System Vocabulary

Activated partial thromboplastin time
Blood test used to determine how long it takes clots to form to regulate heparin dosage.


Pressure that must be overcome for the ventricles to eject blood from the heart.


Hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex that increases sodium reabsorption the distal tubule of the kidney.

Anaphylactic shock
Type of shock caused by an acute allergic reaction.

Natural communication networks among the coronary arteries.

Angina pectoris
Acute chest pain on physical or emotional exertion due to inadequate oxygen supply to the myocardium.

Angiotensin -converting enzyme (ACE)
Enzyme responsible for converting angiotensin I to angiotensin II.

Angiotensin II
Chemical released in response to falling blood pressure that causes vasoconstriction and release of aldosterone.

Antidiuretic hormone (ADH)

Antithrombin III
Protein that prevents abnormal clotting by inhibiting thrombin.

Protein component of a lipoprotein.

Condition characterized by a buildup of fatty plaque and loss of elasticity of the walls of the arteries.

Nerves located in the walls of the atria, aortic arch, vena cava, and carotid sinus that sense changes in blood pressure.

Cardiac output
Amount of blood pumped by a ventricle in 1 minute.

Cardiac remodeling
Change in the size, shape, and structure of the myocardial cells (myocytes) that occurs over time in heart failure.

Cardiogenic shock
Type of shock caused by a diseased heart that cannot maintain circulation to the tissues.

Cerebral vascular accident (CVA)

Nerves located in the aortic arch and carotid sinus that sense changes in oxygen content, pH, or carbon dioxide levels in the blood.

Chronotropic effect

Clotting factors
Substances contributing to the process of blood hemostasis.

Process of blood clotting.

Coagulation cascade
Complex series of steps by which blood flow stops.

The strength with which the myocardial fibers contract.

Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG)
Surgical procedure performed to restore blood flow to the myocardium by using a section of the saphenous vein or internal mammary artery to go around the obstructed coronary artery.

Coronary artery disease (CAD)

Dromotropic effect

Abnormal (excess or deficient) level of lipoproteins in the blood.

Blood clot carried in the bloodstream.

Inner lining of a blood vessel.

An insoluble protein formed from fibrinogen by the action of thrombin in the blood clotting process.

Blood protein that is converted to fibrin by the action of thrombin in the blood coagulation process.

Removal of a blood clot.

Frank-Starling law
The greater the degree of stretch on the myocardial fibers, the greater will be the force by which they contract.

Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa
Enzyme that binds fibrinogen and von Willebran’s factor to begin platelet aggregation and blood coagulation.

Heart failure (HF)
Disease in which the heart muscle cannot contract with sufficient force to meet the body’s metabolic needs.

Hereditary lack of a specific blood clotting factor.

Hemorrhagic stroke

The slowing or stopping of blood flow.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL)
Lipid-carrying particle in the blood that contains high amounts of protein and lower amounts of cholesterol; considered to be “good” cholesterol.

HMG-CoA reductase
Primary enzyme in the biochemical pathway for the synthesis of cholesterol.

Excess amount of lipids in the blood.

High levels of cholesterol in the blood.

Hypertension (HTN)
High blood pressure.

Hypovolemic shock
Type of shock caused by loss of fluids such as occurs during hemorrhage, extensive burns, or severe vomiting or diarrhea.

Inotropic agent
Drug or chemical that changes the force of contraction of the heart.

Inotropic effect
Change in the strength or contractility of the heart.

Phospholipid that is an important component of cell membranes.

Substance carrying lipids in the bloodstream that is composed of proteins bound to fat.

Low molecular weight heparin (LMWH)
Drugs closely resembling heparin that inhibit blood clotting.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL)
Lipid-carrying particle that contains relatively low amounts of protein and high amounts of cholesterol; considered to be “bad” cholesterol.

Myocardial infarction (MI)
Blood clot blocking a portion of a coronary artery that causes necrosis of cardiac muscle.

Myocardial ischemia
Lack of blood supply to the myocardium due to a constriction of obstruction of a blood vessel.

Oncotic pressure

Orthostatic hypotension
Fall in blood prsesure that occurs when changing position from recumbent to upright.

Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA)
Procedure by which a balloon-shaped catheter is used to compress fatty plaque against an arterial wall for the purpose of restoring normal blood flow.

Peripheral edema

Peripheral resistance
Amount of friction encountered by blood as it travels through the vessels.

Enzyme in muscle cells that cleaves phosphodiester bonds; its inhibition increases myocardial contractility.

Type of lipid that contains two fatty acids, a phosphate group, and a chemical backbone of glycerol.

Fatty material that builds up in the lining of blood vessels and may lead to hypertension, stroke, myocardial infarction, or angina.

Enzyme formed from plasminogen that dissolves blood clots.

Protein that prevents fibrin clot formation; precursor of plasmin.

Degree of stretch of the cardiac muscle fibers just before they contract.

Blood protein that is converted to thrombin in blood coagulation.

Prothrombin activator
Enzyme in the coagulation cascade that converts prothrombin to thrombin; also called prothrombinase.

Prothrombin time (PT)
Blood test used to determine the time needed for plasma to clot for the regulation of warfarin dosage.

Reflex tachycardia
Temporary increase in heart rate that occurs when blood pressure falls.

Refractory period
Time during which the myocardial cells rest and are not able to contract.

Renin-angiotensin system
Series of enzymatic steps by which the body raises blood pressure.

Reverse cholesterol transport
The process by which cholesterol is transported away from body tissues to the liver.

Breakdown of muscle fibers usually due to muscle trauma or ischemia.

Septic shock
Type of shock caused by severe infection in the bloodstream.

Condition in which there is inadequate blood flow to meet the body’s metabolic needs.

Silent angina

Stable angina
Type of angina that occurs in a predictable pattern, usually relived by rest.

Sterol nucleus
Ring structure common to all steroids.

Stroke volume
Amount of blood pumped out by a ventricle in a single beat.

Enzyme that cause clotting by catalyzing the conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin.

Reduction in the number of circulating platelets.

Thromboembolic disorders
Condition in which the patient develops blood clots.

Thrombotic stroke

Blood clot obstructing a vessel.

Tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA)
Natural enzyme and a drug that dissolves blood clots.

Type of lipid that contains three fatty acids and a chemical backbone of glycerol.

Unstable angina
Severe angina that occurs frequently and that is not relieved by rest.

Variant angina

Vasomotor center
Area of the medulla that controls baseline blood pressure.

Vasopastic (Prinzmetal’s) angina
Type of angina in which the decreased myocardial blood flow is caused by spasms of the coronary arteries.

Very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)
Lipid-carrying particle that is converted to LDL in the liver.

Von Willebrand’s disease
Decrease in quantity or quality of von Willebrand factor (vWF), which acts as a carrier of factor VIII and has a role in platelet aggregation.

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Direct Vasodilators Anti-hypertensive drugs -Drugs that directly reduce arteriole resistance and increase venule capacitance -Results in decreased PVR from vasodilation = decreased BP -Diazoxide, Hydralazine, Minoxidil, Sodium Nitroprusside Hydralazine, Minoxidil, Sodium Nitroprusside, Diazoxide Mechanism -Drugs that directly reduce arteriole resistance …

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Angina Pectoris chest pain caused by lack of oxygen reaching heart dilate arteries and veins Antianginal medications given sublingual, buccal, or IV take 1 want wait 5 minutes if pain occurs call EMS may take 2 more every 5 minutes …

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