stem cell therapy glossary

A1C Testing

Also called hemoglobin A1C testing, is an important analysis of blood sugar levels. For non-diabetics, the normal range for the hemoglobin A1C test is between 4% and 5.6% and levels of 6.5% or higher indicate diabetes.

Acute Myocardial Infarction

(AMI) The medical term for a “heart attack.” Acute myocardial infarction results from a blockage in one or more of the blood vessels leading to the heart. Damage to the heart muscle results, due to the lack of blood flow.


 A cell specialized for the storage of fat.

Adipose Tissue

The medical term for body fat. It is the richest source of adult stem cells as yet discovered.


Adipose Derived Stem and Regenerative Cells; adult stem cells derived from fat tissue. These “repair cells” can differentiate into a variety of cell types including heart muscle and blood vessels.

Adult Stem Cells

Adult stem cells, found after the development of the embryo, are undifferentiated cells found throughout the body that divide to replenish dying cells and regenerate damaged tissues. They are sometimes called “repair cells.”


Automatic Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator—a device, implanted in the chest, that monitors a person’s heart rate.


From a donor.

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD)

A common neurodegenerative disease which affects millions of people throughout the world. Although its exact cause is not known, researchers have seen environmental and lifestyle factors as well as genetics playing a role in the formation of AD. Plaque and toxin deposits in the brain cause once-healthy neurons (nerve cells) to work less efficiently together and, eventually, die. As this damage spreads to key parts of the brain, memories and cognitive function become drastically impaired while the brain itself actually begins to shrink in size.


A chest pain that occurs when the heart receives insufficient oxygen-rich blood. Although angina is more of a symptom which underlies other conditions than a disease itself, it is treated as its own condition due to its prevalence amongst cardiac patients.


A new blood vessel growth.


Referring to the front of the body or an organ.


Irregular heart beat; disturbance of the heart’s regular beating pattern.

Autoimmune Disease

Diseases develop when the body’s immune system attacks its own cells, tissues and organs.


From self.

Bare Metal Stenting

Mesh-like tube of thin wire with no coating; used in the first stenting procedures.

Basic Metabolic Panel (BMP)

A series of basic blood tests, including sodium, potassium, CO2, chloride, glucose, etc.


Heart muscle cells.

CE Mark

A European standard for medical devices; a CE Mark indicates that a device meets the requirements of the Medical Device Directive, including consumer safety health or environmental requirements and appropriate quality system standards. The letters “CE” are the abbreviation of French phrase “Conformité Européene” which literally means “European Conformity.”

Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)

A rare neurological disorder in which there is inflammation of nerve roots and peripheral nerves and destruction of the fatty protective covering (myelin sheath) over the nerves. This affects how fast the nerve signals are transmitted and leads to loss of nerve fibers. This causes weakness, paralysis and/or impairment in motor function, especially of the arms and legs (limbs).

Chronic Wounds

Wounds which do not heal in an orderly fashion or in a predictable amount of time the way most wounds do. Wounds that do not heal within three months are often considered chronic as they have become held up in one or more of the phases of wound healing.


Scarring of the liver caused by many forms of liver diseases and conditions, such as hepatitis and chronic alcohol abuse. The liver carries out several necessary functions, including detoxifying harmful substances in your body, cleaning your blood and making vital nutrients.


Chronic Myocardial Ischemia—also called cardiac ischemia; lack of flow to the heart, caused by a blockage in the arteries.

Collateral circulation

Blood flow through small, nearby vessels in response to the blockage of a main blood vessel.

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

A condition in which the heart cannot pump all the blood returning to it, leading to a backup of blood in the vessels and an accumulation of fluid in the body’s tissues, including the lungs. (Commonly mistaken as “congested” heart failure.)

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

A progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. “Progressive” means the disease gets worse over time. COPD can cause coughing that produces large amounts of mucus (a slimy substance), wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and other symptoms.

Coronary arteries

Two arteries arising from the aorta that arch down over the top of the heart and divide into branches. They provide blood to the heart muscle.

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)

Heart disease caused by plaque having built up in the arteries.


A small protein released by cells that has a specific effect on the interactions and communications between cells. There are both pro-inflammatory cytokines and anti-inflammatory cytokines.

Diastolic Failure

Predominant diastolic dysfunction or diastolic failure is the inability of the heart to relax and fill normally. It is characterized by a thickened ventricular muscle, poor ability of the left ventricle to distend (stretch), increased ventricular filling pressure, and a normal or increased EF. Twenty to 40% of heart failure is due to diastolic dysfunction. Some people have both systolic and diastolic dysfunction.

Ejection Fraction (EF)

A measurement (%) of blood that is pumped out of a filled ventricle (lower chamber of heart.) The normal rate is 60% or more.


Relating to the epithelium, the outside layer of the cells that covers all the free, open surfaces of the body, including the skin, and mucous membranes that communicate with the outside of the body.


A disorder causing chronic fatigue as well as widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness.


A condition which causes your body to absorb too much iron from the food you eat. The excess iron is stored in your organs, especially your liver, heart and pancreas. The excess iron can poison these organs, leading to life-threatening conditions such as cancer, heart arrhythmias and cirrhosis.


Lack of blood or insufficient flow.

Ischemic Heart Disease

Heart disease caused blood flow being restricted to due plaque in the arteries, also known as coronary artery disease.

Left Heart Failure

In left-sided failure, or failure of the left ventricle, pulmonary edema (accumulation of fluid in the lungs) is expected because of increased pressures on the circulatory system of the lungs. Lack of sufficient flow to the left ventricle is usually responsible for left-sided failure. The two sides of the heart do not operate in isolation, however–failure on one side will be associated with failure of the other side. Thus, there are no abnormal findings that are characteristic of only right or left types of heart failure.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

A technique that produces images of the heart and other body structures by measuring the response of certain elements (such as hydrogen) in the body to a magnetic field. When stimulated by radio waves, the elements emit distinctive signals in a magnetic field. MRI can produce detailed pictures of the heart and its various structures without the need to inject a dye.

Mesenchymal Stem Cells

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are rare cells mainly found in the bone marrow or in adipose (fat) tissue that can give rise to a large number of tissue types such as bone, cartilage (the lining of joints), fat tissue and connective tissue (tissue that is in between organs and structures in the body.)


Metabolic Equivalent of Task: a measurement of the amount of energy required to exercise. A strong predictor of adverse cardiac-related events.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

A progressive autoimmune disease attacks the central nervous system, producing unpredictable symptoms across a wide range.


Maximum Volume of Oxygen Consumed—the maximum amount of oxygen that a person can use. This is the best predictor of cardiac-related mortality.


A muscle cell.


The formation of new capillaries and blood vessels to supply ischemic tissue.


Also known as peripheral neuropathy, a condition that affects the normal activity of the nerves outside the brain or spinal cord resulting in weakness, numbness or pain usually in the hands or feet.

NYHA Classification

The (New York Heart Association) NYHA Functional Classification provides a simple way of classifying the extent of heart failure. It places patients in one of four categories based on how much they are limited during physical activity; the limitations/symptoms are in regards to normal breathing and varying degrees in shortness of breath and or angina pain.

Orthopedic Conditions

Disorders of the joints, bones, muscles and connective ligaments, tendons and cartilage affect millions of Americans on a daily basis, producing symptoms ranging from reduced function to crippling pain.


Of, relating to, promoted by or being a substance secreted by a cell, and acting on nearby cells.

Paracrine Signaling

A form of cell signaling in which the target cell is close to (“para” means alongside of or next to) the signal releasing cell. Paracrine signaling agents include growth factor and clotting factors. Growth factor signalling plays an important role in many aspects of development. In mature organisms paracrine signaling functions include responses to allergens, repairs to damaged tissue, formation of scar tissue, and clotting.

Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

A disease which manifests when the dopamine-producing nerve cells in the brain are damaged and thus produce less and less of this important chemical. Dopamine is much like a “messenger,” responsible for transmitting signals in the brain for normal motor control. Without sufficient dopamine, you are unable to execute routine, coordinated movements or control your own motions—hence the resultant tremors, slowness of movement, rigidity of muscles and general instability which progressively worsen over time.


The passage of fluid (such as blood) through a specific organ or area of the body (such as the heart).

Refractory Angina

Unmanageable angina (chest pains due to restricted blood flow to the heart) that does not respond to medical treatment.

Right Heart Failure

In right-sided failure, or failure of the right ventricle, there tends to be congestion (fluid accumulation) in organs such as the liver and peripheral edema (swelling) in the feet, because of pressure transmitted back through the venous system. Cor pulmonale—heart disease caused by lung disease—is the main cause of right-sided failure.

Smooth Muscle

Muscle that is capable of slow rhythmic involuntary contractions such as occurs in the walls of the blood vessels.


Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography; a type of nuclear test.


Medically referred to as brain ischemia (or brain attack for its similarity to a heart attack), a stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain has been cut off as a result of a clot or weakened blood vessel. The obstructed blood flow which occurs in the event of a stroke causes oxygen-deprived brain cells to die. Depending on the severity and length of blood flow restriction, a traumatic brain injury such as stroke can cause serious and permanent damage to the brain often resulting in some degree of disability.

Systolic Failure

Predominant systolic dysfunction or systolic failure is the inability of the heart to contract normally and expel sufficient blood. It is characterized by an enlarged, poorly contracting left ventricle and reduced ejection fraction. Ejection fraction (EF) is the percentage of the blood in the ventricle pumped out with each contraction. Most of the claims for disability benefits seen by the Social Security Administration involve systolic heart failure.

Type 1 Diabetes

Once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, Type 1 Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. The far more common type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t make enough insulin.

Type 2 Diabetes

Once known as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar (glucose), your body’s important source of fuel. With type 2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin—a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells—or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain a normal glucose level.


Relating to blood vessels.

Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells

Refers to the particular type of smooth muscle cell found within, and composing the majority of the wall of, blood vessels. These are responsible for the contraction of blood vessels.

Ventricle (Right and Left)

One of the two lower chambers of the heart.