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You Be the Surgeon: Glossary

  Back to Surgery

Adventitia: the outermost layer of arteries and veins. The adventitia causes clotting when injured, so it must be peeled back during the Blue Baby surgery to avoid blood clotting where the pulmonary and subclavian arteries are attached.

Anastomosis: to attach two separate vessels so that they intercommunicate; for example, attaching two blood vessels to enable blood to flow freely between them.

Aorta: the largest artery; the central conduit from the heart to the rest of the body.

Cyanosis: a blue tint to the skin caused by a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream.

Distal: moving away from the heart.

Left ventricle: the bottom left chamber of the heart, which receives newly-oxygenated blood from the left atrium and the lungs and pumps it out into the body via the aorta. Note "left" is the patient's left.

Mediastinal pleura: the paper-thin membrane that encloses the heart and greater vessels, including the pulmonary and subclavian arteries.

Occlude: to interrupt the flow of blood to a vein or artery, often using a surgical clamp.

Pulmonary artery: the artery that sends blood to the lungs to become oxygenated before it is pumped into the rest of the body.

Right ventricle: the bottom right chamber of the heart, which receives de-oxygenated blood from the right atrium and the body and pumps it to the lungs via the pulmonary artery. Note "right" is the patient's right.

Shunt: to divert blood flow from one blood vessel or part of the body to another.

Subclavian artery: the artery that sends blood to the upper torso, neck, and arms.

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