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Glossary study

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QuestionAnswer
Abruption placentae Premature separation of a normally positioned placenta in a pregnancy of at least 20 weeks' gestation either before labor or during labor but before delivery. This serious complication of pregnancy, occurring in one of every 200 births and often resulting
Abuse 1. Behavior toward another that is offensive, harmful, or injurious. 2. Misuse or particularly excessive use of a substance, service, or equipment; commonly refers to improper use of a drug or similar substance.
Accommodation 1. The act or process of adapting to changes in the physiologic or psychological environment to maintain homeostasis. 2. In ophthalmology: adjustment of the lens of the eye for various distances. 3. In sociology: the use of compromise, arbitration, or neg
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) A disorder of the immune system characterized by an inability to mount a successful defense against infection such as by organisms that usually aren't pathogenic (opportunistic infections). The syndrome is caused by infection with the human immunodeficien
Active immunity Acquired immunity caused by the production of antibodies, either after infection or as a result of vaccination.
Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) A form of leukemia, most commonly occurring in children, marked by large numbers of immature leukocytes in the blood and blood-forming tissues (including the bone marrow, spleen, liver, and lymph nodes). The disease has a sudden onset and rapid clinical c
Acute nephritis Acute inflammation of the kidney, possibly involving the glomerulus, tubules, and interstitial tissues.
Addison's disease A life-threatening condition characterized by fatigue, hypotension, loss of appetite and weight, nausea or vomiting, and increased hyperpigmentation of the skin and mucous membranes. It results from partial or complete loss of glucocorticoid, mineralocort
Addisonian crisis An emergency situation occurring with adrenal hypofunction and exposure to trauma, surgery, or other severe physiologic stress that exhausts the body's stores of glucocorticoids.
Adrenergic 1. Activated or transmitted by epinephrine, norepinephrine, or a similar substance. 2. Also called a sympathomimetic, a drug that stimulates alpha or beta receptors (thus mimicking the effects of epinephrine or norepinephrine) or acts primarily on recepto
Advance directive Documented written or verbal instructions by the client about his wishes for life-sustaining medical care in the event he becomes incapacitated (for example, living wills, durable powers of attorney for health care, or any document that states the client'
Agonist 1. In anatomy: any muscle in a state of contraction whose action is opposed by another muscle with which it’s paired (called the antagonist). 2. In pharmacology: a drug that has an affinity for and stimulates physiologic activity at cell receptors.
Agoraphobia An intense, irrational fear of being in open spaces or of venturing out from the home or other familiar setting. The anxiety may be generalized to any setting beyond the home or may be specific for certain types of situations and environments, such as ope
Akinesia 1. Loss of the ability to move voluntarily. 2. The rest period after systole in the normal heart rhythm. 3. In psychiatry: a neurotic condition characterized by symptoms of paralysis.
Allen's test A test designed to evaluate a client's collateral circulation in the arm before an invasive arterial procedure such as arterial blood gas analysis. While the client's radial and ulnar arteries are occluded, he clenches his fist, causing the hand to blanch
Amblyopia Decreased visual acuity in one eye in the absence of detectable structural or pathologic changes.
Amenorrhea The absence or cessation of menstruation. Except in preadolescents and in pregnant and postmenopausal women, amenorrhea may reflect dysfunction of the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, ovary, or uterus; congenital absence or surgical removal of both ovaries
Amniocentesis Withdrawal of a sample of amniotic fluid by transabdominal puncture and needle aspiration, usually performed during the fifth month of pregnancy to detect such genetic disorders as Down syndrome, neural tube defects, and Tay-Sachs disease; if the clinicia
Amniotomy Artificial rupture of the membranes.
Analgesic 1. Having the ability to relieve pain. 2. A medication that relieves pain.
Anaphylaxis A systemic reaction to a previously encountered antigen.
Anastomosis A surgical procedure in which two blood vessels, ducts, or other tubelike structures are joined to allow the flow of substances between them. Types of anastomoses are end-to-end and side-to-side.
Angina pectoris Severe chest pain characterized by sensations of spasm, constriction, and crushing weight, classically radiating from the area over the heart to the left shoulder and arm and possibly accompanied by a feeling of choking or suffocation. Angina usually resu
Anorexia Loss of appetite.
Anorexia nervosa An eating disorder, most common among adolescent girls, that is characterized by an aversion to eating, a morbid fear of becoming obese despite significant weight loss, a disturbed body image that results in a feeling of being fat even when extremely thin
Antagonist 1. In pharmacology: a drug that nullifies the action of another drug. 2. In anatomy: a muscle whose effects counteract the effects of another muscle. 3. In dentistry, a tooth that meets another in the opposite jaw during chewing or clenching of the teeth.
Anteroposterior-to-lateral Direction referring from front to back and side to side.
Anticholinergic 1. Of or relating to blockade of the impulses of parasympathetic or other cholinergic nerve fibers. 2. Any agent with anticholinergic properties.
Anticipatory guidance Information about a disorder or about the normal growth and development expectations of a specific age-group given at an appropriate time before an event in order to provide the client with support and strategies for dealing with potential problems before
Antiembolism stockings Elasticized stockings prescribed for some postoperative or bedridden clients to enhance venous blood flow from the lower extremities and thus prevent thromboembolism resulting from pooling of blood in the veins and dilation of veins.
Antisocial personality disorder A disorder that manifests after age 15 as a pervasive disregard for and violation of the rights of others.
Anuria Absence of urine production.
Aortic stenosis An abnormal narrowing of the orifice of the aortic valve, which prevents normal flow of blood from the left ventricle into the aorta. The constriction may result from a congenital malformation or pathologic fusion of the valve cusps. Aortic stenosis cause
Apgar score A numerical evaluation of a neonate's condition in which a rating of 0, 1, or 2 is assigned to each of five criteria: heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, reflex responses, and skin color. The five scores are then combined: A score of 7 to 10 is c
Aphasia Loss or impairment of the ability to communicate through speech, written language, or signs, resulting from brain disease or trauma.
Aphthous stomatitis A recurring disease of unknown cause marked by the eruption of ulcers on the mucous membranes of the mouth. Also called canker sore.
Appendicitis Inflammation of the vermiform appendix. When acute, appendicitis commonly necessitates an appendectomy to prevent perforation of the appendix and subsequent peritonitis.
Apraxia Complete or partial inability to perform purposeful movements in the absence of sensory or motor impairment.
Asepsis The absence of living, disease-producing organisms. Medical asepsis refers to the removal or destruction of disease organisms or infected material. Surgical asepsis refers to protection against infection before, during, or after surgery by means of steril
Asthma A respiratory disorder characterized by recurrent attacks of paroxysmal dyspnea, bronchospasm, wheezing on expiration, and coughing. Conditions that may trigger an asthma attack include inhalation of allergens or pollutants, vigorous exercise, emotional s
Ataxia Impairment of the ability to coordinate voluntary muscle movement.
Atopic dermatitis A skin inflammation occurring in individuals with a genetic predisposition to allergies, characterized by intense itching, maculopapular lesions, and excoriation (rash pattern varies with age but usually occurs on the face).
Audiometry Evaluation of hearing using an audiometer. Various audiometric tests identify the lowest intensity of sound at which a client can perceive an auditory stimulus, hear different frequencies, and differentiate speech sounds. Pure tone audiometry evaluates th
Auditory hallucinations Perceptual experiences occurring in the absence of actual external sensory stimuli (for example, hearing voices telling one to do something).
Auscultatory gap Absence of Korotkoff sounds between phases I (onset of faint, clear tapping sound that gradually intensifies) and II (onset of swishing-like sound) while obtaining a blood pressure reading.
Austin Flint murmur A mid-diastolic aortic regurgitation murmur usually heard best using the bell of the stethoscope over the mitral area. It’s a low-pitched, rumbling murmur.
Autograft The surgical transfer of tissue (commonly skin) from one location of the body to another location in the same individual.
Autoimmune disorder A disorder resulting from an inappropriate immune response that is directed against the self. Antigens normally found in the internal cells stimulate the development of antibodies; these antibodies can’t distinguish antigens of the internal cells from ext
Autoimmunity A condition in which the immune system mounts an attack against the individual's own body tissues. One theory proposes that autoimmunity reflects an inability of the immune system to distinguish between autoantigens and foreign substances, caused by some
Autonomic dysreflexia Reaction that may occur in clients with spinal cord injury above T6. Dysreflexia results in profuse diaphoresis, pounding headache, blurred vision, and dramatically elevated blood pressure. This life-threatening reaction may occur even from seemingly mino
Autosomal recessive disorder Genetic disorder involving two expressed abnormal autosomal genes (not expressed in the parents) in which the individual affected receives one copy of the altered gene from each parent; thus the individual is homozygous for that trait.
Bacterial meningitis Inflammation of the meninges of the brain and spinal cord caused by bacteria such as Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, or Escherichia coli.
Battle's sign Discoloration of the skin behind the ear after the fracture of a bone in the lower skull.
Bipolar disorder A mood disorder characterized by major depression and full manic episodes.
Body surface area Means for calculating the amount of drug to be given to a client (typically a child) using a nomogram or for estimating the extent of a burn
Borderline personality disorder A disorder characterized by unstable relationships, potentially self-damaging impulsiveness, difficulty in controlling anger, recurrent suicidal threats, and chronic feelings of boredom and emptiness.
Bradyarrhythmias Irregularity in heart rate or rhythm characterized by slowness.
Bradycardia A slow but steady heartbeat at a rate of less than 60 beats per minute. Bradycardia is normal during sleep and in well-conditioned athletes. In other circumstances, it may indicate an abnormal condition, such as brain tumor or digitalis toxicity.
Braxton Hicks contraction Light, painless, irregular uterine tightening during pregnancy, arising during the first trimester and increasing in frequency, duration, and intensity by the third trimester. Also called false labor. Strong Braxton Hicks contractions occurring near term
Breast engorgement Distention of the milk ducts and surrounding tissue as breast milk is formed, causing the breasts to become fuller, larger, and firmer.
Bronchiolitis A lung inflammation that usually begins in the terminal bronchioles, occurring mainly in infants and debilitated persons. Also called bronchopneumonia. Commonly, bronchiolitis results from upper respiratory infection, specific infectious fevers, and other
Bronchoscopy Visual examination of the tracheobronchial tree using a bronchoscope.
Broviac catheter Single-lumen silicone central venous catheter used for long-term venous access.
Brudzinski's sign Flexion of the hips and knees in response to passive flexion of the neck; signals meningeal irritation.
Bruit An abnormal vascular "swishing" sound heard on auscultation as a result of turbulent blood flow through dilated, irregular, torturous, or stenotic vessels.
Buccal Of or relating to the inside of the cheek; may also refer to a tooth surface or the gum next to the cheek.
Bulimia An eating disorder characterized by episodes of binge eating that may end in self-induced vomiting, alternating with periods of normal eating or fasting. Depression and awareness of the abnormal behavior are part of this illness.
Cardiac catheterization A diagnostic procedure in which a cardiac catheter is inserted into a large vein (usually of an arm or leg) and then threaded through the vein to the client's heart.
Cardiac output The volume of blood ejected by the heart per minute (normally ranging from 4 to 8 L). Cardiac output equals the stroke volume (the difference between end-diastolic volume and end-systolic volume) multiplied by the heart rate.
Cardiogenic shock A condition of low cardiac output that results from heart pump failure, such as in acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, or severe cardiomyopathy.
Cardiomyopathy Primary noninflammatory disease of the myocardium.
Catatonic A stuporous or unresponsive state commonly characterized by an inability to move or talk.
Catecholamine Any of a group of compounds having a sympathomimetic action and composed of a catechol molecule and the aliphatic portion of an amine. Some catecholamines are produced by the body and function as key neurologic chemicals. Others are synthesized as drugs f
Cauda equina The aggregation of spinal roots, resembling the tail of a horse, that descend from the first lumbar vertebrae and occupy the vertebral canal below the cord.
Celiac disease A chronic disease in which an individual can’t tolerate foods containing gluten or wheat protein. Signs and symptoms include abdominal distention, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle wasting, and extreme lethargy.
Cellulitis An infection of deep subcutaneous tissue and sometimes muscle that may be associated with infection of an operative or traumatic wound. Cellulitis is characterized by local heat, pain, redness, and swelling.
Cerebral aneurysm A saclike dilation of the wall of a cerebral artery, typically resulting from weakness of the wall. A cerebral, or berry, aneurysm usually occurs in the circle of Willis and is prone to rupture.
Cerebral contusion A bruising of the brain tissue as a result of a severe blow to the head. A contusion disrupts normal nerve function in the bruised area and may cause loss of consciousness, hemorrhage, edema, and even death.
Cerebral palsy A permanent disorder of motor function resulting from nonprogressive brain damage or a brain lesion. Cerebral palsy usually appears before age 3.
Chelation therapy Administration of agents that bind to metals; administered to aid in the removal of excess metals, such as lead or iron in the body.
Chemotherapy Treatment of a disease using chemicals that exert a toxic effect on the pathogen or abnormal cell growth.
Chest physiotherapy An array of physical techniques, including postural drainage, chest percussion and vibration, and coughing and deep-breathing maneuvers. Chest physiotherapy is used to loosen and help eliminate lung secretions, reexpand lung tissue, and promote optimal us
Cholelithiasis The presence or formation of gallstones in the gallbladder.
Cholinergic 1. Of or relating to nerve fibers that are stimulated to free acetylcholine at a synapse. 2. An agent that frees acetylcholine.
Chronic bronchitis A persistent respiratory disease marked by increased production of mucus by the glands of the trachea and bronchi. This common disease is characterized by a cough (with expectoration) at least 3 months of the year for more than 2 consecutive years.
Chvostek's sign A spasm of the facial muscles elicited by light taps on the facial nerve. This spasm signals tetany and is seen in clients with hypocalcemia.
Circumferential Area encircling or concerning the periphery of an object or body part.
Cirrhosis A chronic, degenerative liver disease in which the lobes are covered with fibrous tissue, the liver parenchyma degenerates, and the lobules are infiltrated with fat.
Clarification Communication technique used to help the client identify inconsistencies in his statements.
Clinical depression Syndrome characterized by persistent sadness and dysphoria accompanied by disturbances in sleep and appetite, lethargy, and an inability to experience pleasure.
Clubfoot A congenital foot deformity in which the foot is twisted out of shape or position.
Cognitive development Ability to learn from experience, gain and maintain knowledge, respond to new situations, and solve problems.
Colonoscopy Examination of the colon using a flexible endoscope to visualize internal body areas or to remove tissue samples or small growths.
Communicable disease A disease that may be transmitted directly or indirectly from one person to another.
Compartment syndrome A neurovascular complication commonly associated with fractures of the limb; constricting or occlusive dressings, sutures, or casts; poor positioning; and any injury causing ischemia, swelling, or bleeding into the tissues that ultimately can lead to perm
Compliance 1. Adherence to a therapeutic regimen. 2. A tissue's or organ's ability to yield to pressure without disruption, commonly used to describe the distensibility of an air- or fluid-filled organ.
Compulsion A ritualistic, repetitive, and involuntary defensive behavior.
Concussion A violent shock or jarring, such as from an explosion or a blow. Concussion of the brain is characterized by loss of consciousness. Severe concussion may also cause impairment of brain stem functions.
Congenital hip dislocation Improper formation and function of the hip socket, commonly involving subluxation (where the femoral head is high in the acetabulum) or dislocation (where the femoral head is above the acetabulum).
Consolidation Solidification of the lungs that occurs with pneumonia.
Contracture Abnormal flexion and fixation of a joint, possibly permanent, which is typically caused by muscle wasting and atrophy or by loss of normal skin elasticity such as from extensive scar tissue.
Controlled substance Any substance that is strictly regulated or outlawed because of its potential for abuse or addiction.
Conversion disorder A disorder in which the client attempts to resolve a psychological conflict through the loss of a specific physical function -- for example, by paralysis, blindness, or inability to swallow.
Corrigan's pulse Short, forceful, bounding pulse typically associated with aortic insufficiency.
Couvades The experience of physical symptoms associated with pregnancy, such as nausea, vomiting, and backache, by the husband of a pregnant woman; the response often results from stress, anxiety, and empathy for the pregnant woman.
Crackles Short, explosive or popping sounds usually heard during inspiration. They may be coarse (loud and low in pitch) or fine (less intense and high in pitch) and resemble the sounds heard when rolling hair between the fingers near the ear.
Crohn's disease A chronic inflammatory bowel disease of unknown cause, usually involving the terminal ileum, with scarring and thickening of the bowel wall. Signs and symptoms include frequent episodes of diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, nausea, fever, chills, anorexia,
Croup An acute viral infection of the respiratory tract that causes acute upper airway obstruction. Characterized by stridor, a barking cough, and hoarseness, it primarily affects infants and young children ages 3 months to 3 years and follows an upper respirat
Crowning Appearance of the presenting part of the fetus at the perineum and seen when the vulva are separated.
Crystalloid fluid Clear solutions (usually in reference to I.V. solutions) containing electrolytes and water.
Cushing's syndrome A metabolic disorder caused by chronic, excessive production of adrenocortical hormones or by prolonged high-dose glucocorticoid therapy. It’s characterized by such signs and symptoms as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dusky complexion with purple striae
Cyanosis Bluish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes resulting from an excessive amount of deoxygenated hemoglobin in the blood or a structural defect in the hemoglobin molecule such as in methemoglobin.
Cyanotic Referring to the bluish or bluish black discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes that results from excessive concentration of unoxygenated hemoglobin in the blood.
Cystic fibrosis An inherited disorder of the exocrine glands that affects multiple organ systems, causing such conditions as chronic pulmonary disease, pancreatic deficiency, sweat gland dysfunction, malabsorption, and liver obstruction.
Cystoscopy Direct visualization of the urinary tract by inserting a cystoscope in the urethra.
Debridement Removal of dead or damaged tissue or foreign material from a wound to prevent the growth of microorganisms and further damage and to promote healing.
Deceleration A drop in baseline fetal heart rate as indicated by the fetal monitor. Early deceleration is a drop in fetal heart rate that coincides with uterine contraction. Variable deceleration is a drop in fetal heart rate that doesn't occur at a consistent point d
Deep vein thrombosis A condition involving the development of a blood clot in the deep veins of the pelvis, groin, or legs that disrupts venous blood flow and leads to swelling and edema.
Dehiscence The partial or complete separation of a wound's edges.
Dehydrated Having insufficient water in the body or tissues.
Delusions False ideas or beliefs accepted as real by the client.
Delusions of grandeur Distorted or false idea or belief that one has exceptional powers, wealth, skill, influence, or destiny.
Denver Developmental Screening Test An assessment tool used to evaluate the development of a child in four categories: personal social, fine motor-adaptive, language, and gross motor skills.
Dependent personality disorder A disorder that begins in early adulthood and is characterized by an excessive need to be taken care of that leads to submissive and clinging behavior and fear of separation.
Depolarization Neutralization of electrical polarity; reversal of the resting potential in excitable cell membranes when stimulated. An example is the reduction of the ion differential of sodium and potassium across the nerve cells at the neuromuscular junction.
Diabetes insipidus A metabolic disorder marked by extreme polyuria and polydipsia and resulting from deficient secretion or production of antidiuretic hormone (ADH) or inability of the renal tubules to respond to ADH. (Rarely, excessive water intake causes signs and symptom
Diabetes mellitus A chronic disorder of carbohydrate metabolism characterized by hyperglycemia and glycosuria resulting from inadequate production or utilization of insulin.
Diabetic ketoacidosis An acute, life-threatening form of metabolic acidosis that may arise as a complication of uncontrolled diabetes mellitus. Accumulation of ketone bodies leads to urinary loss of water, potassium, ammonium, and sodium, resulting in hypovolemia, electrolyte
Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) A life-threatening disorder of excessive clot formation caused by overstimulation of the body's clotting and anticlotting processes in response to disease or injury. Such overstimulation is followed by a deficiency in clotting factors with hypocoagulabili
Diuretic 1. Tending to increase the formation and excretion of urine. 2. An agent that promotes the formation and excretion of urine.
Diverticulitis Inflammation of one or more diverticula, or saclike herniations, in the muscular layer of the colon.
Diverticulosis The presence of saclike herniations through the muscular layer of the colon without accompanying inflammation. Most clients with this condition have few signs or symptoms except for occasional rectal bleeding.
Drip factor An indication of the number of drops needed to obtain one milliliter of solution delivered by a manufacturer's I.V. tubing based on the drop size.
Dumping syndrome A condition of nausea, weakness, profuse sweating, and dizziness occurring in clients who have had a subtotal gastrectomy. Signs and symptoms arise soon after eating when the contents of the stomach empty too rapidly into the duodenum. Also called postgas
Dysphagia Difficulty swallowing, commonly resulting from obstructive or motor disorders of the esophagus. Obstructive disorders, such as an esophageal tumor or lower esophageal ring, interfere with the ability to swallow solids; motor disturbances such as achalasia
Dyspnea Shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or labored breathing resulting from certain heart conditions, anxiety, or strenuous exercise.
Dystonic reaction Severe tonic contractions of the muscles in the neck, mouth, and tongue; dystonic reaction is a common adverse reaction to antipsychotic drugs.
Dysuria Painful or difficult urination, which is usually caused by a bacterial infection or an obstruction in the urinary tract.
Echolalia Parrotlike and inappropriate repetition of another's words.
Ectopic pregnancy Implantation of the fertilized ovum outside the uterine cavity. Types of ectopic pregnancy are abdominal pregnancy, interstitial pregnancy, and tubal pregnancy.
Effacement Shortening of the vaginal portion of the cervix and thinning of its walls during labor due to stretching and dilation caused by the fetus. Full effacement obliterates the constrictive neck of the uterus. The extent of effacement is expressed as a percenta
Elbow restraints Type of restrictive device attached to the client's body at the elbow to restrict movement or access to another body part; may be applied after cleft palate repair to reduce the risk of injury to the suture line.
Electrocardiogram interpretation Analysis of the waveforms seen on an electrocardiogram
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) The induction of a brief seizure and loss of consciousness by applying a low-voltage alternating current to the brain through scalp electrodes. ECT is used in the treatment of affective disorders (primarily acute depression), especially in clients resista
Electromyogram (EMG) A record of the electrical activity of skeletal muscles, obtained by surface electrodes or needle electrodes and devices that amplify, transmit, and record the signals. The technique is helpful in diagnosing neuromuscular disorders, pinpointing motor nerv
Electromyography Diagnostic test that records the electrical activity of selected skeletal muscle groups at rest and during voluntary contraction. It involves percutaneous insertion of a needle electrode into a muscle with measurement of the muscle's electrical discharge
Endocarditis An abnormal condition of the endocardium and heart valves marked by vegetations on the valves and endocardium. It may occur as a primary disorder or arise in association with another disease.
Endotracheal intubation Passage of a wide-bore tube through the mouth or nose into the trachea. It may be used to maintain a patent airway, administer anesthesia, aspirate secretions, prevent aspiration of foreign material into the tracheobronchial tree of an unconscious or para
Enteral Referring to administration by mouth, rectum, or directly into the intestinal system.
Enteral feedings Delivery of nutrients directly into the GI tract through a feeding tube.
Enteric precautions A category-specific type of infection precautions established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention involving infections transmitted by intestinal secretions. These have since been replaced with standard precautions and transmission-based prec
Enuresis Involuntary passage or release of urine after the age when bladder control would have been normally achieved.
Epiglottis The lidlike, cartilaginous structure that overhangs the larynx and prevents food from entering the larynx and trachea during swallowing.
Epiglottitis Inflammation of the epiglottis. Acute epiglottitis, a severe form of the condition that primarily affects children, causes stridor, fever, sore throat, croupy cough, and a reddened, swollen epiglottis.
Epilepsy A group of neurologic disorders marked by uncontrolled electrical discharge from the cerebral cortex and typically manifested by seizures with clouding of consciousness. Epilepsy is most commonly of unknown cause (idiopathic) but is sometimes associated w
Episiotomy Surgical incision into the perineum to enlarge the vaginal opening for delivery. It’s performed to prevent traumatic tearing of the perineum, to hasten or promote delivery, or to prevent stretching of perineal muscles and connective tissue.
Erikson Psychosocial development theorist who described eight developmental stages across the life span, each of which is characterized by a conflict between two opposing forces.
Erythroblastosis fetalis Hemolytic anemia of the neonate caused by placental transmission of maternally formed antibodies against the incompatible antigens of fetal blood. It results from maternal-fetal blood group incompatibility, specifically involving the rhesus (Rh) factor an
Eschar A thick scab or dry crust that appears after a thermal or chemical burn.
Esophageal atresia A congenital anomaly involving closure of the esophagus at some point, often ending in a blind pouch.
Evaporation The change of a liquid to a vapor at a temperature below the boiling point of the liquid. Evaporation occurs at the surface of the liquid, hastened by an increase in temperature and a decrease in atmospheric pressure.
Evisceration 1. Pushing out or removal of the viscera, especially through a surgical incision. 2. In ophthalmology: excision of the contents of the eyeball (except the sclera).
exacerbation
An increase in the seriousness of a disease or disorder or in its signs and symptoms.
Extrapyramidal 1. Describing the tissues and structures of the brain located outside the pyramidal tract and not running through the medullary pyramid -- excluding the motor neurons, motor cortex, and corticospinal and corticobulbar tracts. 2. Of or relating to the func
Extravasation Escape, usually of blood, lymph, or I.V. solution, from a vessel into surrounding tissues.
Failure to thrive Condition in which an infant's height and weight fall below the third percentile on a standard growth chart; also called reactive attachment disorder.
Fantasy play Type of play involving imaginary playmates typically associated with preschoolers.
Febrile seizure Typically, a tonic-clonic seizure of relatively short duration (usually less than 1 minute) occurring with an acute illness and fever.
Fifth disease A contagious, relatively benign disease caused by the Parvovirus B19; most commonly occurs in children ages 2 to 12 and is characterized by a red rash on the cheeks. Also called erythema infectiosum.
Fontanel A soft spot, such as the spaces covered by tough membranes remaining between the bones of an infant's skull.
full-term Pregnancy that has continued for a period of 38 to 42 weeks.
Fundus The base of an organ; the portion of a hollow organ farthest from its mouth, such as the fundus of the uterus.
Gastritis Inflammation of the stomach and stomach lining.
Gastroenteritis Inflammation of the lining of the stomach and intestines that accompanies numerous GI disorders; characterized by anorexia, weakness, abdominal pain, nausea, and diarrhea.
Gastrostomy Opening created into the stomach.
Gestational diabetes The development of diabetes during pregnancy, usually during the second trimester.
Gestational trophoblastic disease Failure of an embryo to develop beyond a primitive state due to proliferation and degeneration of the trophoblastic villi becoming filled with fluid and appearing as grape-sized vesicles Also called a hydatidiform mole, molar pregnancy.
Glaucoma A group of eye diseases characterized by abnormally elevated pressure within the eye due to obstruction of the outflow of aqueous humor.
Glomerular filtration rate Rate at which the glomeruli in the kidneys filter blood (normally, 125 ml/minute).
Glomerulonephritis Inflammation of the glomeruli in the kidneys.
Gout A group of disorders associated with inborn errors of metabolism that affect purine and pyrimidine use; results in increased production of uric acid or interferes with its excretion. Manifested by hyperuricemia, recurrent acute inflammatory arthritis, dep
Graham Steell's murmur A pulmonary regurgitation murmur resulting from pulmonary hypertension; usually loud with a blowing quality and variable in duration, it’s heard best along the left sternal border over the third and fourth intercostal spaces.
Granulation tissue Tissue that develops during collagen production; capillaries form as budlike structures from nearby vessels, penetrating the wound, growing into loops, and providing a nutritional source for the newly generated tissue; the loops give the tissue a "granula
Graves' disease A disorder of the thyroid gland characterized by pronounced thyrotoxicosis usually associated with an enlarged thyroid gland, exophthalmos, or pretibial myxedema.
Gravid A pregnant woman.
Gynecomastia Enlargement and development of the mammary glands in men, usually temporary and benign.
Hallucinations Sensory perceptions that don't result from external stimuli and that occur during wakefulness.
Health care power of attorney A legal document in which an individual designates another person, called an "attorney-in-fact," to act on the individual's behalf if the principal person becomes disabled or incapacitated. The document becomes void when the principal person dies or recov
Heart failure Inability of the heart to pump an adequate amount of blood to the tissues.
Hemarthrosis Bleeding into a joint cavity.
Hematuria The presence of blood in the urine.
Hemicolectomy Surgical removal of one-half of the colon.
Hemiparesis Paralysis on one side of the body or a part of it that indicates an injury to the motor area of the brain.
Hemiplegia Paralysis of one side of the body.
Hemogram Written recording of the blood count differential.
Hemolytic reaction Type of blood transfusion reaction occurring when the donor's blood is incompatible with the recipient's blood; the most serious type of transfusion reaction.
Hemophilia A bleeding disorder characterized by a failure of the blood clotting mechanism. It’s an inherited condition occurring almost exclusively in males.
Hemoptysis The coughing or spitting up of blood caused by hemorrhage in the lungs or bronchi. Minor amounts of blood may appear in the sputum of individuals with bronchitis or upper respiratory tract infections.
Hepatic encephalopathy A serious complication of liver failure affecting a client's neurologic status; believed to result from the accumulation of toxins, such as ammonia, in the blood.
Hepatojugular reflux Distention of the neck veins when manual pressure is applied over the right upper quadrant of the abdomen; it suggests heart failure.
Hepatomegaly Enlargement of the liver.
Heterozygous Having two different genes at corresponding loci on homologous chromosomes.
Hiatal hernia Protrusion of part of the stomach through the esophageal opening in the diaphragm.
Homonymous hemianopia Blindness or visual deficit in one-half of the field of vision of both eyes. Either the right halves or the left halves of each eye are affected.
Hopelessness State of severe despair associated with feelings of inadequacy and isolation, an inability to act on one's behalf, and a belief that the situation is highly unlikely to improve.
Hospice A system of family-centered care using a multidisciplinary approach designed to assist the chronically ill person to maintain a satisfactory lifestyle through the terminal phases of dying.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) A retrovirus identified as the primary cause of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Hydatidiform mole A usually benign neoplasm that occurs at the end of a degenerating pregnancy and arises from enlarged chorionic villi and the proliferation of trophoblastic tissue.
Hydramnios Presence of an excess volume of amniotic fluid during pregnancy.
Hydrotherapy Treatment involving the use of water, such as tub or shower baths and whirlpools.
Hyperemesis gravidarum Severe and prolonged vomiting during pregnancy to such a degree that weight loss and an imbalance of fluids and electrolytes occur.
Hyperphosphatemia Elevated serum level of phosphorus above 2.6 mEq/L or 4.5 mg/dl.
Hypersomnolence Excessive sleepiness.
Hyperthermia A severe elevation in body temperature.
Hyperthyroidism Disorder involving overproduction of thyroid hormone, leading to a metabolic imbalance.
Hypertonic 1. A solution that has greater osmotic pressure compared to another solution; a fluid in which cells shrink. 2. In reference to muscles or arteries, having a greater than normal degree of tension.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy Primary disease of the cardiac muscle characterized by disproportionate, asymmetrical thickening of the interventricular septum, particularly in the anterior-superior region. Also called idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis.
Hyperventilate To increase the rate or depth of one's inspirations or expirations, or both; may occur with anxiety.
Hypochondriasis Preoccupation with the fear that one has a serious illness despite medical reassurance to the contrary; fear interferes with psychosocial functioning.
Hypoglycemia Low serum glucose levels.
Hypospadias A congenital abnormality in males in which the urethral opening is on the underside, rather than at the tip, of the penis; in females, the defect is manifested by a urethral opening into the vagina.
Hypotonic 1. A solution that has a decreased osmotic pressure compared to another solution; a fluid in which cells swell. 2. In reference to muscles or arteries, having a less than normal degree of tension.
Hypoxia A decreased level of oxygen in inspired air.
Iatrogenic Introduced inadvertently by a medical practitioner or resulting from a diagnostic procedure or treatment.
Impetigo A contagious, inflammatory skin infection that usually occurs on the face. Characterized by the appearance of small, itchy blisters that rupture and form a crusty scab; usually caused by streptococcal or staphylococcal bacteria or a combination of both ty
Incentive spirometer A device that requires the client to deep breathe, hold the breath for approximately 3 seconds, and then exhale in an effort to expand the lungs.
Incompatibility Unsuitability for combination, often due to antagonistic action.
Induration Area of hardened tissue.
Infection The invasion and multiplication of pathogenic organisms within the body.
Informed consent Permission obtained from a client to perform a specific test or procedure after the client has been fully informed about the test or procedure.
Intelligence quotient (IQ) Measurement of a person's ability to comprehend relationships, think, problem solve, and adjust to new situations; usually expressed as a score and based on standardized intelligence tests.
Intermittent claudication Pain that occurs with activity or exercise but that is relieved with rest. This pain results from the body's inability to supply arterial blood (blood rich in nutrients) to the tissues that experience an increase in demand during exercise or activity.
Interpretation The deep analysis of the meaning and significance of what a client is saying and doing in an effort to gain insight into his behavior.
Intertrigo Dermatitis that occurs at moist, warm sites where skin surfaces rub together, such as the armpits, the inner surfaces of the thighs, and between the buttocks; caused by an overgrowth of normal flora.
Intra-aortic balloon pump A device consisting of a balloon attached to a catheter that is introduced into the descending thoracic aorta through the femoral artery. Alternating inflation (during diastole) and deflation (during systole) of the balloon alters resistance to aortic blo
Intracranial pressure Pressure exerted by the brain tissue, cerebrospinal fluid, and blood.
Intradermal injection Injection of any substance into the skin between the dermis and epidermis. The technique is typically used to produce a local drug effect (such as in local anesthesia for procedures such as suturing wounds) or during allergy testing. Also called intracuta
Intraosseous infusion Administration of fluid, blood, or drugs into the bone marrow cavity of a long bone; typically used in children for emergency situations when I.V. access is difficult or unavailable.
Intussusception Telescoping or invagination of a portion of the bowel into an adjacent portion; most commonly seen in infants.
Iron deficiency anemia Anemia characterized by an insufficient amount of iron in the serum, decreased stores of iron in the bone marrow, and elevated serum iron-binding.
Irritability Excitability or excessive responsiveness to a stimulus.
Isotonic Of or relating to a solution that has the same osmotic pressure as another solution; a solution in which cells neither swell nor shrink.
Juvenile hypothyroidism A condition involving a deficiency of thyroid hormone secretion in children.
Kawasaki disease A febrile, multisystem disorder affecting the small to medium-size vessels, primarily of the lymph nodes, most commonly in children before puberty; usually follows exposure to an infection. Also called mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome.
Kegel exercises Exercises involving alternate contraction and relaxation performed to strengthen the perineal muscles.
Kernicterus A neurologic syndrome resulting from deposition of unconjugated bilirubin in the brain cells and characterized by severe neural symptoms.
Kernig's sign Elicitation of resistance and hamstring muscle pain when the examiner attempts to extend the knee while the hip and knee are both flexed 90 degrees.
Kussmaul's respirations Abnormally deep, gasping type of respirations resulting from air hunger; associated with severe diabetic acidosis and coma.
Laminectomy Surgical removal of the bony arches of one or more vertebrae; performed to relieve spinal cord compression or to remove a displaced intervertebral disk.
Lead poisoning Poisoning caused by the ingestion or absorption of lead or one of its salts. Signs and symptoms include loss of appetite and weight, anemia, constipation, insomnia, headache, dizziness, irritability, a blue line at the margin of the gums, and peripheral n
Lethargy A feeling or condition of sluggishness, apathy, or inactivity.
Lipodystrophy Any disturbance in fat metabolism.
Living will A witnessed document indicating a client's desire to be allowed to die a natural death rather than be kept alive by heroic, life-sustaining measures. The will applies to decisions that will be made after a terminally ill client is incompetent and has no r
Lochia The vaginal discharge present during the first several weeks after delivery.
Lochia alba A creamy white, brown, or colorless discharge consisting mainly of serum and white blood cells; typically stops flowing at about 6 weeks postpartum.
Lochia rubra Present during the first 3 to 4 postpartal days; it’s bloody and may contain mucus, tissue, debris, and small clots.
Lochia serosa A pink or brownish discharge persisting for 5 to 7 days postpartum.
Logan bar Apparatus used to protect the surgical incision after cleft lip repair.
Logan bow A wire U-shaped apparatus taped to both cheeks of an infant or toddler following cleft lip repair to protect the surgical site.
Lumbar puncture Fluid withdrawal from the subarachnoid space of the lumbar region of the spinal canal, usually between the third and fourth lumbar vertebrae, for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. Also called spinal tap.
Lymphangiography A diagnostic radiographic evaluation of lymphatic system filling after injection of a contrast medium into a lymphatic vessel of each foot or hand.
Lymphedema Edema of an arm or leg caused by the buildup of interstitial fluid as a result of lymphatic inflammation or obstruction or a lymph node disorder.
Mammogram A radiograph of the breast; used for diagnostic purposes.
Mammography Radiography of the mammary gland to identify benign and malignant neoplastic processes.
Mastectomy The surgical resection of a breast; usually performed to remove a malignant tumor.
Mastitis Inflammation of the mammary gland; usually caused by streptococcal or staphylococcal infection and infrequent breast-feeding.
Meconium A dark, greenish black material that occurs in the intestines of a fetus that forms the first stools of a neonate. The fluid is thick and sticky and is composed of intestinal gland secretions, some amniotic fluid, and intrauterine debris.
Megaloblastic anemia A hematologic disorder that is characterized by the production and peripheral proliferation of megaloblasts.
Ménière's disease A labyrinthine dysfunction that produces severe vertigo, sensorineural hearing loss, and tinnitus.
Metabolic acidosis A condition resulting from excessive accumulation of acid or depletion of bicarbonate.
Metabolic alkalosis A clinical state marked by decreased amounts of acid or increased amounts of base bicarbonate.
Milieu A therapeutic environment, typically used as part of inpatient psychiatric therapy.
Mitral stenosis Obstruction of blood flow from the left atrium to the left ventricle due to thickening and contracting of the mitral valve leaflets; consequently, left atrial volume and pressure rise and the chamber dilates. Greater resistance to blood flow causes pulmon
Muscular dystrophy A group of degenerative genetic diseases characterized by weakness and the progressive atrophy of skeletal muscles with no evidence of nervous system involvement.
Myalgia Diffuse muscle pain or tenderness associated with many infectious diseases.
Myasthenia gravis An abnormal muscle weakness and fatigability, especially in the muscles of the face and throat, resulting from a defect in the conduction of nerve impulses at the myoneural junction.
Mycoplasmal pneumonia A contagious respiratory disease caused by Mycoplasma pneumoniae, characterized by a sore throat, dry cough, fever, malaise, and myalgia.
Myeloma Osteolytic neoplasm consisting of a protrusion of cells typical of the bone marrow.
Myelomeningocele The protrusion of a hernial sac containing a portion of the spinal cord, its meninges, and cerebrospinal fluid through a congenital defect in the vertebral column.
Myxedema A disorder that results from hypofunction of the thyroid. Signs and symptoms include enlarged tongue, slowed speech, moon face, drowsiness, cold intolerance, hair loss, and anemia.
Myxedema coma A rare, serious form of hypothyroidism that usually results from lack of treatment or mistreatment, severe stress (from infection, exposure to cold, or trauma), or the use of sedatives or anesthetics in a client being treated for hypothyroidism.
Nebulizer A device that employs a baffle to produce a fine aerosol spray consisting of particles less than 30 micrometers in diameter.
Necrotizing enterocolitis GI disorder commonly associated with premature infants and characterized by diffuse or patchy intestinal necrosis and sometimes accompanied by sepsis.
Negative nitrogen balance Increased rate of protein breakdown when compared to protein synthesis; nitrogen excretion that exceeds nitrogen intake.
Neglect A form of abuse involving the failure to protect a person from injury or meet the person's physical, emotional, or medical needs.
Nephrectomy The surgical removal of a kidney, usually done to remove a tumor, drain an abscess, or treat hydronephrosis.
Nephritic syndrome A clinical classification including all kidney diseases characterized by marked proteinuria, hypoalbuminemia, and edema.
Neurotransmitter Any one of a group of substances that act on a target nerve cell to excite or inhibit transmission of nerve impulses; substances include norepinephrine, acetylcholine, and dopamine.
Nystagmus Involuntary, rapid movements of the eyeball that may be horizontal, rotatory, vertical, or mixed.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder A disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that represent recurring efforts to control overwhelming anxiety, guilt, or unacceptable impulses that persistently enter the consciousness.
Oliguria A diminished flow of urine in relation to fluid intake; usually less than 400 ml in 24 hours. Also called hypouresis.
Ophthalmia neonatorum Eye infection occurring at birth or in the first month; most commonly caused by gonorrhea or chlamydia.
Opioids Opium-derived or synthetically produced drugs that alter pain perception, induce mental changes, promote deep sleep, depress respirations, constrict pupils, and decrease GI motility.
Orthostatic hypotension Abnormally low blood pressure that occurs when a person stands up. Also called postural hypotension.
Osmolality The concentration or osmotic pressure of a solution; expressed in osmoles of solute per kilogram of solvent.
Osmolarity The osmotic pressure of a solution expressed in osmoles of solute per liter of solution.
Osteomalacia Delayed or poor mineralization of bone; the adult equivalent of rickets. This condition is associated with anorexia, fracture, pain, weakness, and weight loss.
Osteomyelitis Inflammation of bone that results from a local or general infection of bone and bone marrow. The bacterial infection is caused by trauma or surgery, by direct extension from a nearby infection, or by introduction from the bloodstream.
Osteoporosis A disorder in which bone mass is reduced and fractures occur after minimal trauma. It occurs most commonly in postmenopausal women, sedentary or immobilized individuals, and persons on long-term steroid or heparin therapy.
Otorrhea A discharge from the ear, which may be serous, sanguineous, or purulent if the external or middle ear is infected.
Ototoxicity Harmful effect on the function of the eighth cranial nerve or hearing organs; most commonly associated with prescribed drugs.
Paget's disease A common bone disease that usually affects middle-aged and elderly people. It’s marked by inflammation of the bones, softening and thickening of the bones, excessive bone destruction, and unorganized bone repair; the result is bowing of the long bones. Th
Palilalia Repetition of words or phrases with increasing rapidity.
Pancreatitis Acute or chronic inflammation of the pancreas.
Paralysis An abnormal condition characterized by the loss or impairment of motor function or the impairment of sensory function.
Paralytic ileus A decrease in or absence of bowel motility that may occur following abdominal surgery or may be caused by numerous other conditions, most commonly by peritonitis.
Paranoid schizophrenia Disorder involving disordered thinking with delusional thought content characterized by preoccupation with delusions or auditory hallucinations, lack of organized speech, disorganized or catatonic behavior, or flat or inappropriate affect.
Paraplegia An abnormal condition characterized by the loss of sensation and motor function in the lower limbs, which may result in either complete or incomplete paralysis.
Parenteral Not in or through the digestive system, but rather by injection through some other route, such as subcutaneously, I.V., I.M., or intradermally.
Paresthesia Abnormal or heightened touch sensations, such as burning, numbness, prickling, and tingling, that commonly occur without external stimulus.
Perceptions Awareness of objects and the ability to differentiate between them.
Percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA) A technique to open stenosed atherosclerotic arteries. A balloon catheter is inserted through the skin and into the vessel to the site of narrowing; the balloon is inflated, thus flattening the plaque against the arterial walls.
Pericarditis Inflammation of the pericardium; may be caused by trauma, neoplasm, infection, uremia, myocardial infarction, or collagen disease.
Perineum 1. The pelvic floor and its associated structures; located between the symphysis pubis and the coccyx and on the sides by the ischial tuberosities. 2. The body area between the thighs; bounded by the anus and scrotum in males and by the anus and vulva in
Peristaltic waves Alternating involuntary contraction and relaxation of the smooth muscle fibers of a structure in a wavelike fashion to propel the contents forward; commonly associated with the GI tract.
Peritoneal dialysis A procedure performed to remove toxins, drugs, or other wastes normally excreted by the kidney; transfers these substances across the peritoneum by intermittently introducing and removing a dialysate from the peritoneal cavity.
Peritonitis An inflammation of the peritoneum; can be produced by bacteria or irritating substances introduced into the abdominal cavity by a penetrating wound or perforation of an organ.
Pernicious anemia A megaloblastic anemia characterized by decreased gastric production of hydrochloric acid from the parietal cells of the stomach essential for vitamin B12 absorption; results in vitamin B12 deficiency.
Phagocytosis The process by which cells engulf and digest solid substances, such as microorganisms and cell debris.
Phenylketonuria (PKU) An inborn metabolic disorder caused by absence or deficiency of phenylalanine hydroxylase, the enzyme responsible for the conversion of phenylalanine to tyrosine; results in accumulation of phenylalanine and its metabolites, causing mental retardation and
Pheochromocytoma A chromaffin-cell tumor of the adrenal medulla that secretes an excessive amount of the catecholamines epinephrine and norepinephrine, which results in severe hypertension, increased metabolism, and hyperglycemia.
Phototherapy The treatment of disease by the use of light, especially ultraviolet light or other concentrated rays; used to treat acne, psoriasis, and hyperbilirubinemia.
Pituitary dwarfism A condition characterized by a deficiency in secretion of the growth hormone from the anterior pituitary gland.
Placenta accrete Abnormal adherence of the placenta to the uterine wall.
Placenta previa Implantation of the placenta so that it adjoins or covers the internal os of the uterine cervix. The most common symptom is painless hemorrhage in the last trimester.
Pneumonia An acute infection of the lung parenchyma that commonly impairs gas exchange.
Pneumothorax A collection of air in the pleural space; may result from an open chest wound that permits the entrance of air or from the rupture of a vesicle on the surface of the lung. Common types of pneumothorax are open, closed, and tension.
Polydipsia Chronic, excessive thirst.
Polymyositis The simultaneous inflammation of a number of voluntary muscles.
Polyneuritis Degeneration of peripheral nerves primarily supplying the distal muscles of the extremities. It results in muscle weakness, with sensory loss and atrophy, and decreased or absent deep tendon reflexes.
Polyphagia Voracious or excessive eating before becoming satiated.
Polyuria The excessive excretion of urine from the kidneys.
Postterm neonate A neonate born after the onset of the 43rd week of pregnancy.
Preeclampsia An abnormal condition characterized by the development of hypertension during pregnancy, accompanied by edema or proteinuria, usually after the 20th week of gestation.
Pressure ulcer Localized area of skin breakdown occurring secondary to prolonged pressure. Necrotic tissue develops because the vascular supply to the area is diminished.
Preterm neonate A neonate born before the beginning of the 38th week of pregnancy.
Primigravid A woman who is pregnant for the first time.
Prinzmetal's angina A variant of angina pectoris, a form of unstable angina, in which the attacks occur during rest. Attacks are indicated by an ST-segment elevation on an electrocardiogram.
Productive cough A mechanism by which the body clears the airway passages of secretions that normal mucociliary action doesn't remove; usually sudden, forceful, noisy expulsion of air from the lungs that contains sputum or blood (or both).
Projection False attribution of one's unacceptable feelings, impulses, or thoughts onto another.
Pruritus Itching; an unpleasant sensation that leads to rubbing or scratching the skin in an effort to obtain relief. Scratching the skin may lead to secondary infection.
Pseudoparkinsonism The development of a Parkinson-like disorder (neuromuscular disorder involving progressive muscle rigidity, akinesia, and involuntary tremors) due to psychotropic drug therapy.
Puerperal 1. Of or pertaining to the period from the end of childbirth until involution of the uterus is complete (usually 3 to 6 weeks). 2. Of or pertaining to a woman (puerpera) who has just given birth to an infant.
Pulmonary edema An abnormal condition in which extravascular fluid is accumulated in lung tissues and alveoli.
Pulse pressure The numeric difference between the systolic and diastolic pressures, usually 30 to 40 mm Hg.
Purulent Containing or forming pus.
Pyelonephritis Inflammation of the kidney and its pelvis.
Pyuria The presence of pus in the urine, commonly a sign of urinary tract infection.
Quickening The first notable fetal movement in utero, usually occurring at 16 to 20 weeks' gestation.
Radical mastectomy Surgical removal of an entire breast, pectoral muscles, axillary lymph nodes, and all fat, fascia, and adjacent tissues; usually used in the treatment of breast cancer.
Reaction formation Substitution of behavior, thoughts, or feelings that are completely opposed to one's own unacceptable behavior, thoughts, or feelings.
Rectal route Use of the rectum to administer medication
Reflection A technique in which the listener interprets the feelings of the client and repeats them back to the client; encourages the client to clarify his feelings.
Repolarization Part of the cardiac conduction cycle in which the cell returns to its resting state, a more negatively charged state. Calcium ions move into the cell and potassium ions move out, followed by the extrusion of sodium and calcium ions from the cell and the r
Respiratory acidosis Caused by reduced alveolar ventilation; is marked by increased partial pressure of arterial carbon dioxide, excess carbonic acid, and increased plasma hydrogen-ion concentration. Hypoventilation inhibits the excretion of carbon dioxide, which consequently
Respiratory alkalosis Caused by both respiratory and nonrespiratory factors, this condition is marked by decreased partial pressure of arterial carbon dioxide, decreased hydrogen-ion concentration, and increased blood pH. Extreme anxiety can precipitate hyperventilation associ
Resuscitation A method used to support a client's breathing and circulation until the body can do so on its own or the client is mechanically supported. It involves maintaining an open airway, providing artificial ventilation through rescue breathing, and promoting art
Reye's syndrome Acute encephalopathy and fatty infiltration of the internal organs following acute viral infections, such as influenza B, chickenpox (varicella), the enteroviruses, and the Epstein-Barr virus; has also been associated in children with administration of as
Rh incompatibility In hematology: two blood groups that are antigenically different and, therefore, aren't compatible because one group lacks the Rh factor.
Rheumatic fever An inflammatory disease sometimes occurring if group A beta-hemolytic streptococcal infection is inadequately treated.
Rheumatoid arthritis A chronic, systemic collagen disease marked by inflammation, stiffness, and pain in the joints and related structures that result in crippling deformities.
Ritodrine therapy A prescribed treatment that uses the beta-receptor agonist ritodrine to halt preterm labor.
Romberg’s sign A swaying (or falling) when a person stands with feet together and eyes closed. It’s an indication that the person has lost a sense of position. Also called rombergism.
Rooting reflex A response in neonates to the cheek being touched or stroked. The infant turns the head toward the stimulated side and begins to suck. The reflex usually disappears by 3 to 4 months of age.
Russell traction An orthopedic device that combines suspension and traction to align and immobilize the legs; used to treat diseases of the hip and knee and fractured femurs as well as hip and knee contractures.
Scabies A contagious skin disease caused by the itch mite, Sarcoptes scabiei.
Schizotypal personality disorder A disorder characterized by acute discomfort with and reduced capacity for close relationships and by cognitive or perceptual distortions and eccentricities of behavior, beginning in early adulthood.
Scoliosis An appreciable lateral curvature of the spine resulting from numerous causes, including congenital malformations of the spine, muscle paralysis, poliomyelitis, sciatica, and unequal leg length.
Sensorineural hearing loss Hearing loss caused by a defect or lesion of the inner ear or the acoustic nerve resulting in a distortion of sound that makes discrimination difficult.
Sensory perceptions Awareness of one's surroundings through the use of vision, hearing, taste, touch, and smell.
Serosanguineous Of a discharge containing both serum and blood.
Shock An abnormal physiologic state characterized by reduced cardiac output, circulatory insufficiency, tachycardia, hypotension, restlessness, pallor, and diminished urinary output. Shock may be caused by a variety of conditions, including trauma, infection, h
Sickle cell anemia A chronic and incurable hereditary disorder occurring in people homozygous for hemoglobin S (Hb S). The presence of Hb S results in distortion and fragility of erythrocytes.
Sickle cell crisis Episode of widespread cellular sickling in which the client's red blood cells containing hemoglobin S are exposed to conditions in which oxygen supply to the cells is decreased. This leads to cellular contraction and piling within the cell, altering the s
Simple fracture An uncomplicated, closed bone fracture in which the skin isn't broken.
Skin turgor Skin characteristic determined by pinching a small area of skin on the medial arm or anterior chest and noting how quickly it returns to its position when released.
Somatoform pain Development of the symptom of pain as a result of psychological stress.
Spinal shock Loss of autonomic reflex, motor, and sensory activity below the level of a lesion. Signs of spinal shock include flaccid paralysis, loss of deep tendon and perianal reflexes, and loss of motor and sensory function.
Standard precautions Infection control guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requiring all health care personnel to use gloves, gowns, and goggles to prevent contact with a client's blood or body fluids and to adhere to strict safety measure
Status asthmaticus A severe and prolonged asthma attack in which bronchospasm fails to respond to oral medication, sometimes resulting in hypoxia, cyanosis, and unconsciousness.
Stokes-Adams attack Episode of confusion and light-headedness accompanying syncope with or without seizures due to inadequate cerebral perfusion secondary to heart block.
Stoma 1. A minute pore, orifice, or surface opening. 2. An artificial, surgically created opening of an internal organ on the body surface, such as for a colostomy or tracheostomy. 3. A new opening surgically created between two structures, such as for a gastro
Stomatitis An inflammation of the mouth that may result from bacterial, viral, or fungal infection; exposure to chemicals or drugs; vitamin deficiency; or a systemic inflammatory disease.
Stridor A high-pitched respiratory sound, usually heard during inspiration, caused by an obstruction of the trachea or larynx.
Stroke A condition of sudden onset in which a cerebral blood vessel is occluded by an embolus or cerebrovascular hemorrhage. The resulting ischemia of brain tissue that is normally perfused by the affected vessel may lead to permanent neurologic damage.
Subdural hematoma A condition involving the collection of blood between the dura mater and the brain.
Sublingual Under the tongue.
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) The sudden, unexpected, and inexplicable death of an infant who appears to be healthy. It occurs during sleep, typically in infants between the ages of 3 weeks and 5 months. Also called crib death.
Supratentorial Located above the tentorium of the brain.
Suspension A liquid that contains solid particles that aren't dissolved; stirring or shaking the liquid maintains the dispersal.
Sympathomimetics Group of drugs that mimic the effects of impulses conveyed by adrenergic postganglionic fibers of the sympathetic nervous system.
Synchronized cardioversion Delivery of an electrical shock to the client in conjunction with the R wave on his ECG, just as the heart muscle contracts. Delivery is timed to avoid the T wave because an electrical discharge at this time may cause ventricular fibrillation.
Synergistic effect Administration of two drugs producing the same qualitative effect together to produce a greater response than either drug alone.
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) A chronic inflammatory multisystemic disorder of connective tissue, characterized principally by involvement of the skin, joints, kidneys, and serosal membranes.
Tachycardia A condition characterized by a regular but accelerated action of the heart, usually l00 to 150 beats per minute.
Tactile fremitus Vibration in the chest wall that can be felt when a hand is applied to the thorax while the patient is speaking. It's most commonly due to consolidation of a lung or a part of a lung but may also be caused by congestion, inflammation, or infection.
Tardive dyskinesia A neurological syndrome marked by slow, rhythmical, automatic movements that occur as an adverse effect of extended phenothiazine use.
Tension pneumothorax A condition in which air enters the pleural space through a tear in lung tissue but can't exit through the same vent, thereby trapping air in the pleural space with each inspiration and producing positive pleural pressure. This in turn causes the ipsilate
Tenting An indication of decreased skin turgor, as exhibited by a fold of skin remaining or holding in the pinched position after being released.
Teratogenic Causing harm to the developing fetus.
Tetany Hyperexcitability of nerves and muscles as a result of a lessened concentration of extracellular ionized calcium; symptoms include convulsions, muscle twitching and cramps, and sharp flexion of the wrist and ankle joints.
Tetralogy of Fallot A combination of congenital cardiac defects consisting of pulmonic stenosis, interventricular septal defect, dextroposition of the aorta so that it overrides the interventricular septum and receives venous as well as arterial blood, and right ventricular
Thrombocytopenia A reduction in the number of blood platelets; usually caused by destruction of erythroid tissue in bone marrow. The condition may be a result of neoplastic disease or an immune response to a drug.
Thrombophlebitis Inflammation of a vein, often involving clot formation. Common causes include chemical irritation, blood hypercoagulability, immobilization, infection, postoperative venous stasis, prolonged sitting or standing, trauma to the vessel wall, or a long period
Tonic-clonic seizure Paroxysmal, uncontrolled discharge of central nervous system neurons extending to the entire brain and characterized by stiffening (tonic phase) and then rapid synchronous muscle jerking and hyperventilation (clonic phase). Also called a major or grand ma
Tonsillectomy The surgical removal of the palatine tonsils.
Total parenteral nutrition (TPN) The administration of total caloric needs in a nutritionally adequate solution of glucose, protein hydrolysates, minerals, and vitamins through a catheter inserted into the superior vena cava.
Tracheoesophageal fistula Abnormal opening between the esophagus and trachea that may lead to aspiration.
Tracheostomy The surgical creation of an opening through the neck into the trachea; used to relieve upper airway obstruction and aid breathing.
Traction 1. The action of pulling a part of the body along the long axis. 2. In orthopedics: the act of exerting force through a system of weights and pulleys to align, immobilize, or relieve pressure in a limb, bone, or group of muscles.
Transdermal Method or route of topical drug administration; provides continuous drug delivery through the skin to achieve a constant, steady blood concentration level.
Transsphenoidal adenohypophysectomy Surgery involving the pituitary gland, most commonly performed to remove a pituitary tumor. The physician enters from the inner aspect of the upper lip through the sphenoid sinus.
Transsphenoidal hypophysectomy Microsurgery in which an incision is made at the junction of the gums and upper lip. A surgical microscope is advanced and a special surgical instrument is used to excise all or part of the pituitary gland.
Trendelenburg's position Position in which the client's head is lower than the trunk; typically, the body and legs are elevated on an incline.
Trousseau's sign An assessment technique for evaluating neuromuscular irritability (tetany) associated with hypocalcemia. When Trousseau's sign is positive, the client develops a carpopedal spasm (adducted thumb, flexed wrist and metacarpophalangeal joints, and extended i
Tuberculosis An acute or chronic infection from exposure to Mycobacterium tuberculosis or another strain of mycobacteria characterized by pulmonary infiltrates and formation of granulomas with caseation, fibrosis, and cavitation.
Type 1 diabetes An endocrine disorder involving disturbances in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism, usually occurring before age 30 and requiring the use of exogenous insulin and dietary management. Also called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.
Type 2 diabetes An endocrine disorder involving disturbances in carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism; characterized by insulin resistance with varying degrees of insulin secretory defects. May be treated with diet, exercise, and oral antidiabetic agents. Exogenous i
Type 2 herpes simplex A type of herpes simplex virus transmitted primarily through contact with genital secretions and affecting the genital structures.
Ulcerative colitis A chronic, recurrent ulceration of the colon of unknown cause in which there is abdominal cramping, rectal bleeding, and diarrhea containing blood, pus, and mucus.
Urinary incontinence Inability to prevent urine discharge.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) A bacterial infection, most commonly caused by Escherichia coli or a species of Klebsiella, Proteus, Pseudomonas, or Enterobacter, affecting one or more parts of the urinary tract.
Urticaria A vascular reaction caused by dilation and increased permeability of the capillaries. Symptoms include the development of transient wheals with pale centers and well-defined erythematous margins.
Variability Differing rhythmicity or changes in condition; often used to describe fetal heart rate reflected on the fetal heart rate tracing as a slight irregularity or jitteriness.
Vaso-occlusive crisis The most common type of sickle cell crisis resulting from blood vessel obstruction by rigid, tangled sickle cells leading to tissue anoxia and possibly necrosis. Also called a painful crisis or infarctive crisis.
Vastus lateralis The largest of the four muscles that make up the quadriceps femoris; located on the outside of the thigh, extending from the hip joint to the common quadriceps tendon and inserted in the patella; extends the leg.
Venography A radiographic test using a contrast medium to identify thrombi or obstruction in the veins of the lower extremities or the kidneys.
Ventricular septal defect (VSD) An abnormal opening in the septum separating the ventricles, usually resulting from failure of the fetal interventricular foramen to close; results in blood flow from the left ventricle to the right ventricle and recirculation of blood through the pulmona
Ventricular tachycardia A life-threatening arrhythmia that occurs when the ventricles produce several premature ventricular contractions in succession; usually due to a problem with the heart's conduction system and increased myocardial contractility.
Vertigo A sensation of movement in which the client feels himself revolving in space (subjective vertigo) or his surroundings revolving about him (objective vertigo); may result from diseases of the inner ear or from disturbances of the vestibular pathways in the
Vesicle 1. Any small anatomic sac that contains liquid. 2. A small blister that contains clear fluid.
Wet-to-dry dressings Type of wound covering (dressing) in which gauze moistened with normal saline is applied wet to the wound and removed once the gauze becomes dry and adheres to the wound bed; used for debridement.
Wilms' tumor A rapidly growing malignant kidney tumor that occurs most commonly in children younger than age 5, although it sometimes develops before birth. Rare cases occur later in life. Also called adenomyosarcoma.
X-linked recessive disorders Genetic disorders in which the abnormal gene exists on the X chromosome; only males exhibit clinical signs of the disorder because they have no offsetting X chromosome.
Z-track An I.M. injection technique in which the client's skin is pulled in such a way that the needle track is sealed off after the injection. The technique is done to minimize subcutaneous irritation and discoloration.
Created by: kristofferd on 2010-01-19



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