balloon angioplasty See angioplasty (above).
balloon-tipped catheter A type of catheter with a balloon at the end that can be inflated under pressure to clear a blocked or occluded blood vessel. Used in angioplasty or valvuloplasty.
balloon valvuloplasty See valvotomy or valvuloplasty.
beta-adrenergic receptors Nerve receptors that receive and act on nerve impulses that increase the heart rate, dilate blood vessels, and regulate certain metabolic functions.
beta blockers A group of medications used to treat angina, hypertension, and cardiac arrhythmia by blocking (beta-adrenergic) nerve receptors, thereby reducing the force and rate of the heartbeat. Also effective in angina by reducing the total work of the
blood pressure The force that blood exerts on the walls of the arteries as it is pumped throughout the body. It is stated in two numbers, such as 120/80. The 120 represents the systolic pressure, which is the pressure recorded each time the heart pumps or contracts; the 80 represents the diastolic pressure, which is the residual pressure in the vessels recorded when the heart relaxes between beats.
bradycardia An abnormally slow heart rate, generally defined as less than 60 beats per minute in adults.
bruit A murmur arising in a blood vessel because of narrowing.
buerger’s disease A rare condition in which blood vessels in the legs and arms become inflamed, causing a narrowing of the arteries in these extremities that may lead to gangrene.
bundle of HIS A bundle of conduction fibers that runs from the heart’s atrioventricular (AV) node and conducts electrical impulses between the lower chambers of the heart.