Loading...
Desensitization, Immunologic: Immunosuppression by the administration of increasing doses of antigen. Though the exact mechanism is not clear, the therapy results in an increase in serum levels of allergen-specific IMMUNOGLOBULIN G, suppression of specific IgE, and an increase in suppressor T-cell activity.Bed Rest: Confinement of an individual to bed for therapeutic or experimental reasons.Central Nervous System Depressants: A very loosely defined group of drugs that tend to reduce the activity of the central nervous system. The major groups included here are ethyl alcohol, anesthetics, hypnotics and sedatives, narcotics, and tranquilizing agents (antipsychotics and antianxiety agents).Exercise: Physical activity which is usually regular and done with the intention of improving or maintaining PHYSICAL FITNESS or HEALTH. Contrast with PHYSICAL EXERTION which is concerned largely with the physiologic and metabolic response to energy expenditure.Exercise Test: Controlled physical activity which is performed in order to allow assessment of physiological functions, particularly cardiovascular and pulmonary, but also aerobic capacity. Maximal (most intense) exercise is usually required but submaximal exercise is also used.Head-Down Tilt: Posture while lying with the head lower than the rest of the body. Extended time in this position is associated with temporary physiologic disturbances.Weightlessness Simulation: Condition under normal Earth gravity where the force of gravity itself is not actually altered but its influence or effect may be modified and studied. (From ASGSB Bull 1992;5(2):27)Adrenal Rest Tumor: Neoplasm derived from displaced cells (rest cells) of the primordial ADRENAL GLANDS, generally in patients with CONGENITAL ADRENAL HYPERPLASIA. Adrenal rest tumors have been identified in TESTES; LIVER; and other tissues. They are dependent on ADRENOCORTICOTROPIN for growth and adrenal steroid secretion.Heart Rate: The number of times the HEART VENTRICLES contract per unit of time, usually per minute.Weightlessness Countermeasures: Techniques and routines designed to prevent or reverse unwanted effects of weightlessness experienced during actual and simulated space flight, including physiologic changes related to removal of gravitational loading. Specific measures include creation of artificial gravity, exercise, low-level lower body negative pressure, and use of anti-deconditioning devices. (From Nicogossian, Space Physiology and Medicine, 2d ed, pp294-297)Muscle, Skeletal: A subtype of striated muscle, attached by TENDONS to the SKELETON. Skeletal muscles are innervated and their movement can be consciously controlled. They are also called voluntary muscles.Oxygen Consumption: The rate at which oxygen is used by a tissue; microliters of oxygen STPD used per milligram of tissue per hour; the rate at which oxygen enters the blood from alveolar gas, equal in the steady state to the consumption of oxygen by tissue metabolism throughout the body. (Stedman, 25th ed, p346)Time Factors: Elements of limited time intervals, contributing to particular results or situations.Blood Pressure: PRESSURE of the BLOOD on the ARTERIES and other BLOOD VESSELS.Cardiovascular Deconditioning: A change in cardiovascular function resulting in a reduction in BLOOD VOLUME, and reflex DIURESIS. It occurs frequently after actual or simulated WEIGHTLESSNESS.Hemodynamics: The movement and the forces involved in the movement of the blood through the CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM.Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon: A method of computed tomography that uses radionuclides which emit a single photon of a given energy. The camera is rotated 180 or 360 degrees around the patient to capture images at multiple positions along the arc. The computer is then used to reconstruct the transaxial, sagittal, and coronal images from the 3-dimensional distribution of radionuclides in the organ. The advantages of SPECT are that it can be used to observe biochemical and physiological processes as well as size and volume of the organ. The disadvantage is that, unlike positron-emission tomography where the positron-electron annihilation results in the emission of 2 photons at 180 degrees from each other, SPECT requires physical collimation to line up the photons, which results in the loss of many available photons and hence degrades the image.Technetium Tc 99m Sestamibi: A technetium imaging agent used to reveal blood-starved cardiac tissue during a heart attack.Dental Care for Children: The giving of attention to the special dental needs of children, including the prevention of tooth diseases and instruction in dental hygiene and dental health. The dental care may include the services provided by dental specialists.Coronary Circulation: The circulation of blood through the CORONARY VESSELS of the HEART.Heart: The hollow, muscular organ that maintains the circulation of the blood.Atrazine: A selective triazine herbicide. Inhalation hazard is low and there are no apparent skin manifestations or other toxicity in humans. Acutely poisoned sheep and cattle may show muscular spasms, fasciculations, stiff gait, increased respiratory rates, adrenal degeneration, and congestion of the lungs, liver, and kidneys. (From The Merck Index, 11th ed)Leg: The inferior part of the lower extremity between the KNEE and the ANKLE.Physical Endurance: The time span between the beginning of physical activity by an individual and the termination because of exhaustion.Cardiac Output: The volume of BLOOD passing through the HEART per unit of time. It is usually expressed as liters (volume) per minute so as not to be confused with STROKE VOLUME (volume per beat).Repressor Proteins: Proteins which maintain the transcriptional quiescence of specific GENES or OPERONS. Classical repressor proteins are DNA-binding proteins that are normally bound to the OPERATOR REGION of an operon, or the ENHANCER SEQUENCES of a gene until a signal occurs that causes their release.Myocardial Perfusion Imaging: The creation and display of functional images showing where the blood is flowing into the MYOCARDIUM by following over time the distribution of tracers injected into the blood stream.Bicycling: The use of a bicycle for transportation or recreation. It does not include the use of a bicycle in studying the body's response to physical exertion (BICYCLE ERGOMETRY TEST see EXERCISE TEST).Contrast Media: Substances used to allow enhanced visualization of tissues.Dobutamine: A catecholamine derivative with specificity for BETA-1 ADRENERGIC RECEPTORS. It is commonly used as a cardiotonic agent after CARDIAC SURGERY and during DOBUTAMINE STRESS ECHOCARDIOGRAPHY.Muscle Contraction: A process leading to shortening and/or development of tension in muscle tissue. Muscle contraction occurs by a sliding filament mechanism whereby actin filaments slide inward among the myosin filaments.Supine Position: The posture of an individual lying face up.Expressed Sequence Tags: Partial cDNA (DNA, COMPLEMENTARY) sequences that are unique to the cDNAs from which they were derived.Respiration: The act of breathing with the LUNGS, consisting of INHALATION, or the taking into the lungs of the ambient air, and of EXHALATION, or the expelling of the modified air which contains more CARBON DIOXIDE than the air taken in (Blakiston's Gould Medical Dictionary, 4th ed.). This does not include tissue respiration (= OXYGEN CONSUMPTION) or cell respiration (= CELL RESPIRATION).Blood Flow Velocity: A value equal to the total volume flow divided by the cross-sectional area of the vascular bed.Gravity, Altered: A change in, or manipulation of, gravitational force. This may be a natural or artificial effect.Dipyridamole: A phosphodiesterase inhibitor that blocks uptake and metabolism of adenosine by erythrocytes and vascular endothelial cells. Dipyridamole also potentiates the antiaggregating action of prostacyclin. (From AMA Drug Evaluations Annual, 1994, p752)Lower Body Negative Pressure: External decompression applied to the lower body. It is used to study orthostatic intolerance and the effects of gravitation and acceleration, to produce simulated hemorrhage in physiologic research, to assess cardiovascular function, and to reduce abdominal stress during childbirth.Oxygen: An element with atomic symbol O, atomic number 8, and atomic weight [15.99903; 15.99977]. It is the most abundant element on earth and essential for respiration.Thallium Radioisotopes: Unstable isotopes of thallium that decay or disintegrate emitting radiation. Tl atoms with atomic weights 198-202, 204, and 206-210 are thallium radioisotopes.Lactic Acid: A normal intermediate in the fermentation (oxidation, metabolism) of sugar. The concentrated form is used internally to prevent gastrointestinal fermentation. (From Stedman, 26th ed)Gated Blood-Pool Imaging: Radionuclide ventriculography where scintigraphic data is acquired during repeated cardiac cycles at specific times in the cycle, using an electrocardiographic synchronizer or gating device. Analysis of right ventricular function is difficult with this technique; that is best evaluated by first-pass ventriculography (VENTRICULOGRAPHY, FIRST-PASS).Weightlessness: Condition in which no acceleration, whether due to gravity or any other force, can be detected by an observer within a system. It also means the absence of weight or the absence of the force of gravity acting on a body. Microgravity, gravitational force between 0 and 10 -6 g, is included here. (From NASA Thesaurus, 1988)Echocardiography, Stress: A method of recording heart motion and internal structures by combining ultrasonic imaging with exercise testing (EXERCISE TEST) or pharmacologic stress.Hyperemia: The presence of an increased amount of blood in a body part or an organ leading to congestion or engorgement of blood vessels. Hyperemia can be due to increase of blood flow into the area (active or arterial), or due to obstruction of outflow of blood from the area (passive or venous).Posture: The position or attitude of the body.Orthostatic Intolerance: Symptoms of cerebral hypoperfusion or autonomic overaction which develop while the subject is standing, but are relieved on recumbency. Types of this include NEUROCARDIOGENIC SYNCOPE; POSTURAL ORTHOSTATIC TACHYCARDIA SYNDROME; and neurogenic ORTHOSTATIC HYPOTENSION. (From Noseworthy, JH., Neurological Therapeutics Principles and Practice, 2007, p2575-2576)Electrocardiography: Recording of the moment-to-moment electromotive forces of the HEART as projected onto various sites on the body's surface, delineated as a scalar function of time. The recording is monitored by a tracing on slow moving chart paper or by observing it on a cardioscope, which is a CATHODE RAY TUBE DISPLAY.Ventricular Function, Left: The hemodynamic and electrophysiological action of the left HEART VENTRICLE. Its measurement is an important aspect of the clinical evaluation of patients with heart disease to determine the effects of the disease on cardiac performance.Vascular Resistance: The force that opposes the flow of BLOOD through a vascular bed. It is equal to the difference in BLOOD PRESSURE across the vascular bed divided by the CARDIAC OUTPUT.Sympathetic Nervous System: The thoracolumbar division of the autonomic nervous system. Sympathetic preganglionic fibers originate in neurons of the intermediolateral column of the spinal cord and project to the paravertebral and prevertebral ganglia, which in turn project to target organs. The sympathetic nervous system mediates the body's response to stressful situations, i.e., the fight or flight reactions. It often acts reciprocally to the parasympathetic system.Carbon Dioxide: A colorless, odorless gas that can be formed by the body and is necessary for the respiration cycle of plants and animals.Apitherapy: The medical use of honey bee products such as BEE VENOM; HONEY; bee pollen; PROPOLIS; and royal jelly.Exercise Tolerance: The exercise capacity of an individual as measured by endurance (maximal exercise duration and/or maximal attained work load) during an EXERCISE TEST.Analysis of Variance: A statistical technique that isolates and assesses the contributions of categorical independent variables to variation in the mean of a continuous dependent variable.Electromyography: Recording of the changes in electric potential of muscle by means of surface or needle electrodes.Nitrogen Radioisotopes: Unstable isotopes of nitrogen that decay or disintegrate emitting radiation. N atoms with atomic weights 12, 13, 16, 17, and 18 are radioactive nitrogen isotopes.Reference Values: The range or frequency distribution of a measurement in a population (of organisms, organs or things) that has not been selected for the presence of disease or abnormality.Organotechnetium Compounds: Organic compounds that contain technetium as an integral part of the molecule. These compounds are often used as radionuclide imaging agents.Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Non-invasive method of demonstrating internal anatomy based on the principle that atomic nuclei in a strong magnetic field absorb pulses of radiofrequency energy and emit them as radiowaves which can be reconstructed into computerized images. The concept includes proton spin tomographic techniques.Coronary Disease: An imbalance between myocardial functional requirements and the capacity of the CORONARY VESSELS to supply sufficient blood flow. It is a form of MYOCARDIAL ISCHEMIA (insufficient blood supply to the heart muscle) caused by a decreased capacity of the coronary vessels.Energy Metabolism: The chemical reactions involved in the production and utilization of various forms of energy in cells.Isometric Contraction: Muscular contractions characterized by increase in tension without change in length.Baroreflex: A response by the BARORECEPTORS to increased BLOOD PRESSURE. Increased pressure stretches BLOOD VESSELS which activates the baroreceptors in the vessel walls. The net response of the CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM is a reduction of central sympathetic outflow. This reduces blood pressure both by decreasing peripheral VASCULAR RESISTANCE and by lowering CARDIAC OUTPUT. Because the baroreceptors are tonically active, the baroreflex can compensate rapidly for both increases and decreases in blood pressure.Tomography, Emission-Computed: Tomography using radioactive emissions from injected RADIONUCLIDES and computer ALGORITHMS to reconstruct an image.Treatment Outcome: Evaluation undertaken to assess the results or consequences of management and procedures used in combating disease in order to determine the efficacy, effectiveness, safety, and practicability of these interventions in individual cases or series.Reproducibility of Results: The statistical reproducibility of measurements (often in a clinical context), including the testing of instrumentation or techniques to obtain reproducible results. The concept includes reproducibility of physiological measurements, which may be used to develop rules to assess probability or prognosis, or response to a stimulus; reproducibility of occurrence of a condition; and reproducibility of experimental results.Echocardiography: Ultrasonic recording of the size, motion, and composition of the heart and surrounding tissues. The standard approach is transthoracic.Forearm: Part of the arm in humans and primates extending from the ELBOW to the WRIST.Radiopharmaceuticals: Compounds that are used in medicine as sources of radiation for radiotherapy and for diagnostic purposes. They have numerous uses in research and industry. (Martindale, The Extra Pharmacopoeia, 30th ed, p1161)Autonomic Nervous System: The ENTERIC NERVOUS SYSTEM; PARASYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM; and SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM taken together. Generally speaking, the autonomic nervous system regulates the internal environment during both peaceful activity and physical or emotional stress. Autonomic activity is controlled and integrated by the CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM, especially the HYPOTHALAMUS and the SOLITARY NUCLEUS, which receive information relayed from VISCERAL AFFERENTS.Weight Lifting: A sport in which weights are lifted competitively or as an exercise.Epinephrine: The active sympathomimetic hormone from the ADRENAL MEDULLA. It stimulates both the alpha- and beta- adrenergic systems, causes systemic VASOCONSTRICTION and gastrointestinal relaxation, stimulates the HEART, and dilates BRONCHI and cerebral vessels. It is used in ASTHMA and CARDIAC FAILURE and to delay absorption of local ANESTHETICS.Ventricular Dysfunction, Left: A condition in which the LEFT VENTRICLE of the heart was functionally impaired. This condition usually leads to HEART FAILURE; MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION; and other cardiovascular complications. Diagnosis is made by measuring the diminished ejection fraction and a depressed level of motility of the left ventricular wall.Vasodilator Agents: Drugs used to cause dilation of the blood vessels.Adaptation, Physiological: The non-genetic biological changes of an organism in response to challenges in its ENVIRONMENT.Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Nuclear Translocator: Aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator is a basic HELIX-LOOP-HELIX MOTIF containing protein that forms a complex with DIOXIN RECEPTOR. The complex binds xenobiotic regulatory elements and activates transcription of a variety of genes including UDP GLUCURONOSYLTRANSFERASE. AhR nuclear translocator is also a subunit of HYPOXIA-INDUCIBLE FACTOR 1.Prospective Studies: Observation of a population for a sufficient number of persons over a sufficient number of years to generate incidence or mortality rates subsequent to the selection of the study group.Electric Stimulation: Use of electric potential or currents to elicit biological responses.Respiratory Mechanics: The physical or mechanical action of the LUNGS; DIAPHRAGM; RIBS; and CHEST WALL during respiration. It includes airflow, lung volume, neural and reflex controls, mechanoreceptors, breathing patterns, etc.Brain: The part of CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM that is contained within the skull (CRANIUM). Arising from the NEURAL TUBE, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including PROSENCEPHALON (the forebrain); MESENCEPHALON (the midbrain); and RHOMBENCEPHALON (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of CEREBRUM; CEREBELLUM; and other structures in the BRAIN STEM.Sensitivity and Specificity: Binary classification measures to assess test results. Sensitivity or recall rate is the proportion of true positives. Specificity is the probability of correctly determining the absence of a condition. (From Last, Dictionary of Epidemiology, 2d ed)Phosphocreatine: An endogenous substance found mainly in skeletal muscle of vertebrates. It has been tried in the treatment of cardiac disorders and has been added to cardioplegic solutions. (Reynolds JEF(Ed): Martindale: The Extra Pharmacopoeia (electronic version). Micromedex, Inc, Englewood, CO, 1996)Myocardial Ischemia: A disorder of cardiac function caused by insufficient blood flow to the muscle tissue of the heart. The decreased blood flow may be due to narrowing of the coronary arteries (CORONARY ARTERY DISEASE), to obstruction by a thrombus (CORONARY THROMBOSIS), or less commonly, to diffuse narrowing of arterioles and other small vessels within the heart. Severe interruption of the blood supply to the myocardial tissue may result in necrosis of cardiac muscle (MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION).Follow-Up Studies: Studies in which individuals or populations are followed to assess the outcome of exposures, procedures, or effects of a characteristic, e.g., occurrence of disease.Movement: The act, process, or result of passing from one place or position to another. It differs from LOCOMOTION in that locomotion is restricted to the passing of the whole body from one place to another, while movement encompasses both locomotion but also a change of the position of the whole body or any of its parts. Movement may be used with reference to humans, vertebrate and invertebrate animals, and microorganisms. Differentiate also from MOTOR ACTIVITY, movement associated with behavior.Ischemia: A hypoperfusion of the BLOOD through an organ or tissue caused by a PATHOLOGIC CONSTRICTION or obstruction of its BLOOD VESSELS, or an absence of BLOOD CIRCULATION.Norepinephrine: Precursor of epinephrine that is secreted by the adrenal medulla and is a widespread central and autonomic neurotransmitter. Norepinephrine is the principal transmitter of most postganglionic sympathetic fibers and of the diffuse projection system in the brain arising from the locus ceruleus. It is also found in plants and is used pharmacologically as a sympathomimetic.Radionuclide Ventriculography: Imaging of a ventricle of the heart after the injection of a radioactive contrast medium. The technique is less invasive than cardiac catheterization and is used to assess ventricular function.Muscle Fatigue: A state arrived at through prolonged and strong contraction of a muscle. Studies in athletes during prolonged submaximal exercise have shown that muscle fatigue increases in almost direct proportion to the rate of muscle glycogen depletion. Muscle fatigue in short-term maximal exercise is associated with oxygen lack and an increased level of blood and muscle lactic acid, and an accompanying increase in hydrogen-ion concentration in the exercised muscle.Valsalva Maneuver: Forced expiratory effort against a closed GLOTTIS.Running: An activity in which the body is propelled by moving the legs rapidly. Running is performed at a moderate to rapid pace and should be differentiated from JOGGING, which is performed at a much slower pace.Adenosine: A nucleoside that is composed of ADENINE and D-RIBOSE. Adenosine or adenosine derivatives play many important biological roles in addition to being components of DNA and RNA. Adenosine itself is a neurotransmitter.GlycogenMuscles: Contractile tissue that produces movement in animals.Angina Pectoris: The symptom of paroxysmal pain consequent to MYOCARDIAL ISCHEMIA usually of distinctive character, location and radiation. It is thought to be provoked by a transient stressful situation during which the oxygen requirements of the MYOCARDIUM exceed that supplied by the CORONARY CIRCULATION.Heart Ventricles: The lower right and left chambers of the heart. The right ventricle pumps venous BLOOD into the LUNGS and the left ventricle pumps oxygenated blood into the systemic arterial circulation.Antidiarrheals: Miscellaneous agents found useful in the symptomatic treatment of diarrhea. They have no effect on the agent(s) that cause diarrhea, but merely alleviate the condition.Plasma Volume: Volume of PLASMA in the circulation. It is usually measured by INDICATOR DILUTION TECHNIQUES.Predictive Value of Tests: In screening and diagnostic tests, the probability that a person with a positive test is a true positive (i.e., has the disease), is referred to as the predictive value of a positive test; whereas, the predictive value of a negative test is the probability that the person with a negative test does not have the disease. Predictive value is related to the sensitivity and specificity of the test.Cross-Over Studies: Studies comparing two or more treatments or interventions in which the subjects or patients, upon completion of the course of one treatment, are switched to another. In the case of two treatments, A and B, half the subjects are randomly allocated to receive these in the order A, B and half to receive them in the order B, A. A criticism of this design is that effects of the first treatment may carry over into the period when the second is given. (Last, A Dictionary of Epidemiology, 2d ed)Resistance Training: A type of strength-building exercise program that requires the body muscle to exert a force against some form of resistance, such as weight, stretch bands, water, or immovable objects. Resistance exercise is a combination of static and dynamic contractions involving shortening and lengthening of skeletal muscles.Coronary Angiography: Radiography of the vascular system of the heart muscle after injection of a contrast medium.Image Processing, Computer-Assisted: A technique of inputting two-dimensional images into a computer and then enhancing or analyzing the imagery into a form that is more useful to the human observer.Ventriculography, First-Pass: Radionuclide ventriculography where a bolus of radionuclide is injected and data are recorded from one pass through the heart ventricle. Left and right ventricular function can be analyzed independently during this technique. First-pass ventriculography is preferred over GATED BLOOD-POOL IMAGING for assessing right ventricular function.Pain, Postoperative: Pain during the period after surgery.Anaerobic Threshold: The oxygen consumption level above which aerobic energy production is supplemented by anaerobic mechanisms during exercise, resulting in a sustained increase in lactate concentration and metabolic acidosis. The anaerobic threshold is affected by factors that modify oxygen delivery to the tissues; it is low in patients with heart disease. Methods of measurement include direct measure of lactate concentration, direct measurement of bicarbonate concentration, and gas exchange measurements.Pulmonary Circulation: The circulation of the BLOOD through the LUNGS.Organophosphorus Compounds: Organic compounds that contain phosphorus as an integral part of the molecule. Included under this heading is broad array of synthetic compounds that are used as PESTICIDES and DRUGS.Cardiovascular Physiological Phenomena: Processes and properties of the CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM as a whole or of any of its parts.Double-Blind Method: A method of studying a drug or procedure in which both the subjects and investigators are kept unaware of who is actually getting which specific treatment.Echocardiography, Doppler: Measurement of intracardiac blood flow using an M-mode and/or two-dimensional (2-D) echocardiogram while simultaneously recording the spectrum of the audible Doppler signal (e.g., velocity, direction, amplitude, intensity, timing) reflected from the moving column of red blood cells.Circadian Rhythm: The regular recurrence, in cycles of about 24 hours, of biological processes or activities, such as sensitivity to drugs and stimuli, hormone secretion, sleeping, and feeding.Hypotension, Orthostatic: A significant drop in BLOOD PRESSURE after assuming a standing position. Orthostatic hypotension is a finding, and defined as a 20-mm Hg decrease in systolic pressure or a 10-mm Hg decrease in diastolic pressure 3 minutes after the person has risen from supine to standing. Symptoms generally include DIZZINESS, blurred vision, and SYNCOPE.Physical Fitness: The ability to carry out daily tasks and perform physical activities in a highly functional state, often as a result of physical conditioning.Pain Measurement: Scales, questionnaires, tests, and other methods used to assess pain severity and duration in patients or experimental animals to aid in diagnosis, therapy, and physiological studies.Knee: A region of the lower extremity immediately surrounding and including the KNEE JOINT.Hand Strength: Force exerted when gripping or grasping.Pulmonary Ventilation: The total volume of gas inspired or expired per unit of time, usually measured in liters per minute.Cerebrovascular Circulation: The circulation of blood through the BLOOD VESSELS of the BRAIN.Ergometry: Any method of measuring the amount of work done by an organism, usually during PHYSICAL EXERTION. Ergometry also includes measures of power. Some instruments used in these determinations include the hand crank and the bicycle ergometer.Dyspnea: Difficult or labored breathing.Diastole: Post-systolic relaxation of the HEART, especially the HEART VENTRICLES.Body Temperature: The measure of the level of heat of a human or animal.Molecular Sequence Data: Descriptions of specific amino acid, carbohydrate, or nucleotide sequences which have appeared in the published literature and/or are deposited in and maintained by databanks such as GENBANK, European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), National Biomedical Research Foundation (NBRF), or other sequence repositories.Myocardium: The muscle tissue of the HEART. It is composed of striated, involuntary muscle cells (MYOCYTES, CARDIAC) connected to form the contractile pump to generate blood flow.Cardiotonic Agents: Agents that have a strengthening effect on the heart or that can increase cardiac output. They may be CARDIAC GLYCOSIDES; SYMPATHOMIMETICS; or other drugs. They are used after MYOCARDIAL INFARCT; CARDIAC SURGICAL PROCEDURES; in SHOCK; or in congestive heart failure (HEART FAILURE).Heart Failure: A heterogeneous condition in which the heart is unable to pump out sufficient blood to meet the metabolic need of the body. Heart failure can be caused by structural defects, functional abnormalities (VENTRICULAR DYSFUNCTION), or a sudden overload beyond its capacity. Chronic heart failure is more common than acute heart failure which results from sudden insult to cardiac function, such as MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION.Vasodilation: The physiological widening of BLOOD VESSELS by relaxing the underlying VASCULAR SMOOTH MUSCLE.Systole: Period of contraction of the HEART, especially of the HEART VENTRICLES.