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MCC Paramedic Medical Glossary Terms

a Abbreviation meaning before.
abdomen Stomach
abduct To draw away from.
abduction Move away from.
abnormality Being abnormal or malformed.
abortion The premature expulsion of the embryo or fetus.
criminal abortion An illegal abortion.
Incomplete abortion Some products of conception remain.
inevitable abortion No possibility pregnancy will go term.
missed abortion Fetus died at less than 20 weeks and is retained in the uterus.
spontaneous abortion An abortion occurring naturally.
therapeutic abortion Abortion induced in medical setting.
threatened abortion Pregnancy may abort, or go full term.
abrasion Scraping off of some of the epidermis.
abruptio placenta Premature separation of placenta from uterine wall, with massive hemorrhage, during the third trimester.
abscess A collection of pus in a sac.
absolute refractory period Early phase of cardiac repolarization, wherein the heart muscle cannot be stimulated to depolarize
absorption Passage of a substance thru a membrane into blood.
AC Abbreviation for alternating current.
ac Abbreviation meaning "before meals."
acetabulum Cavity in which head of femur rotates.
acetone breath Sweet breath found in diabetic ketoacidosis.
acetylcholine Chemical mediator of the parasympathetic nervous system.
acid A solution with a pH less than 7.0
acidosis Acid base balance of the body characterized by a pH less than 7.35.
acquired immunodeficency syndrome (AIDS) A viral illness characterized by severe impairment of the body's immune defense system.
activated charcoal A substance used to absorb ingested poisons.
acute Having rapid onset, severe symptoms, and short duration.
acute abdomen Irritation of the peritoneal lining.
acute myocardial infarction (AMI) Death (necrosis) of myocardial tissue caused by cardiac ischemia.
acute respiratory insufficiency Any condition in which breathing is inadequate to supply oxygen to or remove carbon dioxide from body tissues.
addiction compulsive, physical dependence fo subtance.
adduction Movement toward the median line of the body.
ad lib An abbreviation meaning "as desired."
Adrenalin A trade name for epinephrine.
adrenals Small pair of glands situated on the kidneys.
adrenergic Referring to the sympathetic nervous system. It derives from the word Adrenalin (by the kidney).
adsorption Adherence of a substance onto surface of another.
afebrile Without fever
afterbirth Placenta.
agglutination Clumping together of red blood cells.
agonal Pertaining to the period of dying.
air embolism An air bubble introduced into the circulation.
air hunger Another term for dyspnea.
alcoholic Pertaining to or containing alcohol; one addicted to alcohol.
alimentary tract The digestive tract as a whole.
alkaline Having a pH greater than 7.0; in physiology, having a pH greater than 7.35.
alkalosis An abnormal condition of acid base balance where the body has too much alkaine.
allergen Substance that produces allergic symptoms in patients.
allergy Susceptibility to substance that causes adverse symptoms.
alopecia Baldness.
alpha particle Positively charged subatomic particle.
alpha receptor A center located in the walls of small arteries veins that, when stimulated by alpha (sympathetic) drugs, the vessels to constrict.
alpha stimulator Drug or hormone that activates alpha receptors, e.g., norepinephrine.
alternating current (AC) An electric current whose direction at regular intervals.
alveoli The saccular units at the end of the bronchioles.
amenorrhea Absence of menstruation.
AMI An abbreviation for acute myocardial infarction.
aminophylline Drug used to relax smooth muscle in air passages.
amnesia Loss of memory.
amniotic fluid Fluid surrounding the fetus in the uterus.
amniotic sac Sac that holds the fetus suspended in amniotic. Bag of waters.
amobarbital A barbiturate sedative hypnotic drug.
amplitude Height, usually of an ECG wave or complex.
ampule A sealed glass container of sterile medication.
amputation Severing of a part of the body.
analgesic An agent that relieves pain.
anaphylactic shock An exaggerated allergic reaction with severe bronchospasm and vascular collapse.
anasarca Severe, generalized body edema.
anastomosis Joining together of two tubelike structures, such as intestines or blood vessels.
anatomic Pertaining to anatomy or the structure of an organism.
anatomy The study of body structure.
anemia State where the red blood cells or hemoglobin are deficient.
anesthesia Loss of sensation abolishment of pain.
aneurysm A sac or bulge resulting from the weakening of the of a blood vessel or ventricle.
angina Any disease marked by attacks of choking or suffocation.
angina pectoris Sudden pain from myocardial ischemia.
stable angina Angina pectoris characterized by periodic with a predictable pattern.
unstable angina (preinfarction angina) Angina pectoris by a changing, unpredictable pattern of pain, which may signal an impending acute myocardial infarction.
Angiocath A teflon catheter inserted over a needle.
angiogram Radiographic depiction of blood vessels.
angioneurotic edema Allergy caused hives or swelling of various tissues.
angle of Louis Prominence on the sternum that lies opposite the intercostal space.
anion A negatively charged ion.
anisocoria Inequality of the size of the pupils.
anomaly Any feature that departs significantly from the normal.
anorexia Lack of appetite.
anoxia Lack of oxygen in the tissues.
antagonism Opposition between the effects of medications.
ante A prefix meaning "before."
antecubital Situated in front of the forearm.
antenatal Prior to birth.
antepartum Prior to delivery.
anterior Situated in front of or in the forward part of.
antiarrhythmic drugs Drugs given to prevent or terminate cardiac dysrhythmias.
antibiotic Agent that kills or inhibits the growth of bacteria.
antibody Protein that destroys or inactivates the antigen.
anticoagulant Substance that prevents the coagulation of blood.
antidote Used to counteract the effects of a drug or a poison.
antigen Agent that stimulates the formation of specific protective proteins called antibodies.
antihypertensive agents Drugs used to lower blood pressure,
antipyretic A drug that reduces fever.
antiseptic A preparation that prevents the growth of bacteria.
antiserum A serum that contains antibodies against a specific producing agent.
anus Outlet of the rectum.
anxiety A feeling of apprehension, uncertainty, and fear.
aorta Largest artery , originating from the left ventricle.
aortic arch Portion of the aorta that curves and begins to descend.
apathy Lack of feeling or interest.
apex of the heart The caudal end of the ventricles.
Apgar score A method of assessing the newborn.
aphasia Defect in speaking or comprehending in normal fashion.
motor aphasia Loss of speech or some component thereof.
sensory aphasia The loss of comprehension.
aphonia Loss of voice.
apical Pertaining to or located at the apex of the heart.
apical pulse Pulse obtained by auscultating over the apical portion of the heart.
apnea Absence of breathing.
apothecary system A system of weights and liquid measures utilizing pounds, pints, quarts, fluid ounces, fluidrams, minims, ounces, drams, and grains.
appendicitis Inflammation of the appendix.
appendix Wormlike structure attached to the cecum, in the right quadrant of the abdomen.
aqueous humor The fluid in the anterior chamber of the eye.
arachnoid Middle meningeal membrane.
arrest A stoppage, usually referring to pulse or respiration.
arrhythmia A disturbance in the normal rhythm of the heart.
arterial blood Oxygenated blood.
arteriole A small blood vessel that carries oxygenated blood.
arteriosclerosis Pathological condition in which the arterial walls become thickened and inelastic.
artery Blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart.
arthalgia Pain in one or more joints.
arthritis An inflammatory disease of the joints.
articulation A place where two bones meet to form a joint.
artifact An artificial product; noise or interference in an ECG
ascending aorta Portion of the aorta that rises out of heart.
ascites Accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity.
asepsis Technique of preventing bacterial contamination of a wound or instrument.
asphyxia Suffocation; a condition characterized by hypercarbia hypoxemia.
aspirate To inhale foreign material into the lungs; to remove by suction.
asthma A condition characterized by dyspnea, bronchoconstriction, mucus plugs, and wheezing.
asymptomatic Showing no symptoms.
asystole Absent ventricular contractions; "straight line ECG."
ataxia Inability to coordinate the muscles; staggering gait.
atelectasis A collapse of the alveolar air spaces of the lungs.
atherosclerosis A common type of arteriosclerosis affecting the coronary and cerebral arteries.
atlas The first cervical vertebra.
atrial arrhythmia Arrhythmia arising in the SA node or atrial tissue.
atrial depolarization Electric process causing atrial contraction, represented on the ECG by the P wave.
atrial fibrillation A dysrhythmia characterized by discharge of multiple atrial ectopic foci and an irregularly irregular ventricular rhythm.
atrial flutter A dysrhythmia characterized by the rapid discharge of an atrial ectopic focus, with varying degrees of AV block.
atrial repolarization The electric process of recharging depolarized atrial muscle, represented by the T wave.
atrial systole Atrial contraction precedeing ventricular contraction.
atrioventricular block (AV block) Condition where passage of impulses from the atrium through the AV junction is hindered or prevented altogether.
atrioventricular dissociation (AV dissociation) Condition where atria and ventricles contract independently; complete heart block.
atrioventricular junction (AV junction) Portion of electric conduction system of the heart located in the interventricular septum that conducts the impulse from the atria to the bundle of His.
atrioventricular node (AV node) Structure located in the atrioventricular junction that slows conduction through the AV junction.
atrium A thin walled, upper chembers of the heart.
atrophy A wasting away of tissue.
atropine A parasympathetic blocking agent, increases heart rate
auditory nerve The eighth cranial nerve, which mediates hearing and body balance.
aura A sensation of impending illness. Term used in connection with epileptic attack.
auricle An old term formerly used for atrium.
auscultation The technique of listening for and interpreting sounds that occur within the body, usually with a stethoscope.
automaticity The spontaneous initiation of depolarizing electric impulses by pacemaker sites within the electric conduction system of the heart.
autonomic nervous system Nervous system that controls involuntary body functions. The sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
autotransfusion Redirecting the patient's own blood from one part of the body to another.
AV An abbreviation for atrioventricular.
avulsion Injury that leaves a piece of tissue either partially or completely torn away from the body.
axilla Armpit.
Axis Second cervical vertebra.
Babinski reflex A reflex response of the big toe seen in patients with injury to the brain. When the sole of the foot is struck with a sharp object, the big toe turns upward, instead of in the normal downward direction.
ball and socket joint A type of joint found in the hip and shoulder.
bandage A material used to hold a dressing in place.
barbiturate A class of drugs that produce a calming, sedative effect
base A compound that dissociates to form hydroxyl ions (OH ); a solution having a pH greater than 7.0
basic life support The ABC's without adjunctive equipment.
Battle's sign A bluish discoloration over the tip of the mastoid bone behind the ear, signifying basilar skull fracture.
Benadryl A trade name for diphenhydramine, an antihistamine drug.
bends Cramps in the abdomen and limbs caused by bubbles of gas in the blood, associated with rapid ascent from deep water in diving.
benign Noncancerous; nonmalignant; not dangerous.
Benzedrine A trade name for preparations of amphetamine.
beta particle Negatively charged subatomic particle, with slightly greater penetrating ability than an alpha particle.
beta receptor A nerve center located in the myocardium, blood vessels, or bronchi that, when stimulated, causes an increase in cardiac rate and contractile force, vasodilation, and bronchodilation.
beta stimulator Any agent that activates the beta receptors of the body, e.g., isoproterenol.
bevel The slanting edge of the point of a hollow needle.
bicarbonate Any salt having two equivalents of carbonic acid to one of any basic substance; often used as an abbreviated name for sodium bicarbonate.
biceps The large muscle of the front part of the upper arm, which bends the forearm at the elbow.
bid An abbreviation meaning "twice a day."
bifurcation Division into two branches.
bigeminy A dysrhythmia in which every other beat is a premature contraction.
bile The fluid secreted by; the liver, concentrated and stored in the gallbladder, and discharged into the intestine, where it aids in the digestion of fats.
biologic death See death.
biopsy The removal of a small piece of tissue for microscopic.
biotelemetry Transmission of physiologic data, e.g., an ECG, from the patient to a distant point of reception.
bivalent Having two charges, e.g., Ca++ (calcium ion)
bladder An organ of the urinary system, located in the pelvis just behind the pubic bone, that stores urine produced by the kidneys.
blind panic The type of reaction seen in situations of mass casualties in which an individual's judgment is severely impaired.
blocker A drug that counteracts or inhibits the action of another drug or agent. For example, atropine is a parasympathetic blocker.
blood pressure (BP) The pressure exerted by the pulsatile flow of blood against the arterial walls.
diastolic blood pressure Blood pressure measured during the ventricular relaxation (diastole).
systolic blood pressure Blood pressure measured during ventricular contraction (systole).
blood type One of the several groups into which human blood is divided according to its antigens.
blood volume The total amount of blood in the heart and blood vessels, representing about 8 to 9 percent of the body weight.
bloody show Mucus and blood passed from the vagina when labor begins.
bolus A single, large loading dose of a drug that provides an initially higher therapeutic blood level.
BP An abbreviation for blood pressure.
bradycardia A slow heart rate, less than 60 per minute.
brain The organ located in the skull that controls all body functions and is the seat of consciousness.
breech birth A delivery in which the presenting part is the buttocks or foot.
bronchiole Small subdivision of a bronchus, or airway.
bronchiolitis A condition seen in children under 2 years old, characterized by dyspnea and wheezing.
bronchitis Inflammation of the bronchi.
bronchoconstriction Narrowing of the bronchial tubes.
bronchodilation Widening of the bronchial tubes.
bronchodilator An agent that causes dilation of the bronchi.
bronchospasm Severe constriction of the bronchial tree.
bronchus One of the main branches of the trachea carrying air into various parts of the lung.
bruise An injury that does not break the skin but causes rupture of small, underlying blood vessels with resulting tissue discoloration; a contusion.
buccal Pertaining to the cheek.
buffer A substance in a fluid that tends to minimize changes in pH that would otherwise result from the addition of acid or base to the fluid.
bundle branch block A disturbance in electric conduction through the right or left bundle branch from the bundle of His.
bundle branches The portion of the electric conduction system in the ventricles that conducts the depolarizing impulse from the bundle of His to the Purkinje network in the myocardium. They are subdivided into a right bundle branch and a left bundle branch.
bundle of His The portion of the electric conduction system in the interventricular septum that conducts the depolarizing impulse from the atrioventricular junction to the right and left bundle branches.
burn An injury caused by extremes of temperature, electric current, or certain chemicals.
first degree burn A burn affecting only the outer skin layers.
second degree burn A burn penetrating beneath the superficial skin layers, producing edema and blistering.
third degree burn A full thickness burn, involving all layers of the skin and underlying tissue as well, having a charred or white, leathery appearance.
cachexia Severe malnutrition and poor health as a result of disease or lack of nourishment.
cafe coronary Choking incident, so named because its suddenness may lead observers to mistake it for a heart attack.
calcium A bivalent cation required for proper functioning of heart muscle and normal bone metabolism.
cancer A growth in any tissue that has the power to invade other tissues and spread to other parts of the body.
cannula A tube for insertion into a blood vessel.
capillary An extremely narrow blood vessel, composed of a single layer of cells through which oxygen and nutritive material pass to the tissues. ;Capillaries form a network between arterioles and venules.
capsule A cylinder gelatin container enclosing a dose of medication, usually in powdered form.
carbohydrate An element of food containing carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, e.g., sugar or starch.
carbon dioxide (CO2) An end product of carbohydrate metabolism, eliminated from the body by respiration.
carbon monoxide (CO) Colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by incomplete combustion of organic materials.
carboxyhemoglobin Hemoglobin that is combined with carbon monoxide instead of oxygen.
cardiac Pertaining to the heart; sometimes used to refer to a person who has heart disease.
cardiac arrest The sudden and unexpected cessation of adequate cardiac output.
cardiac asthma Left heart failure and pulmonary edema with wheezing respirations.
cardiac cycle The period from one cardiac contraction to the next. Each cardiac cycle includes ventricular contraction (systole) and relaxation (diastole).
cardiac output The amount of blood pumped by the heart per minute, calculated by multiplying the stroke volume times the heart rate per minute.
cardiac rupture A life threatening complication of acute myocardial infarction that can involve the papillary muscle, interventricular septum, or myocardium.
cardiac standstill Asystole; absence of cardiac contractions.
cardiac tamponade Embarrassment of cardiac contraction, failing cardiac output, and shock, caused by the accumulation of fluid or blood in the pericardium.
cardiac work The energy consumed by the heart in maintaining cardiac output. Cardiac work is increased by increases in heart rate or peripheral vascular resistance.
cardiogenic Of cardiac origin.
cardiogenic shock A serious complication of acute myocardial infarction in which ventricular damage is so extensive that the heart is unable to maintain adequate output to vital organs.
cardiopulmonary arrest Cessation of cardiac and respiratory activity.
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) Artificial ventilation and external chest compression.
cardiotonic drugs Drugs that increase the rate and force of myocardial contractions.
cardiovascular Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels.
cardiovascular collapse Failure of the heart and blood vessels; shock.
cardioversion The use of synchronized direct current (DC) electric shock to convert tachyarrhythmias (e.g., atrial flutter) to normal sinus rhythm.
carina The point at which the trachea bifurcates into the right and left main bronchi.
carotid One of the main arteries of the neck supplying blood to the head.
carotid sinus A dilated area in the internal carotid artery, usually found just above the bifurcation of the common carotid artery, containing very sensitive nerve endings that participate in regulation of heart rate and blood pressure. Massage of this area can
carotid sinus massage (CSM) The use of pressure over the carotid sinus to convert certain supraventricular tachyarrhythmias, especially paroxysmal atrial tachycardia, to normal sinus rhythm.
carpals The eight small bones of the wrist.
carpopedal spasm Contorted position of the hand in which the fingers flex in a claw like attitude and the thumb curls toward the palm; may be caused by hyperventilation.
cartilage A tough, elastic substance that covers opposable of movable joints and also forms parts of the skeleton.
cataract Opacity of the crystalline lens of the eye or its capsule, causing impaired vision and eventually blindness.
catecholamine A substance, such as epinephrine and norepinephrine, that acts on receptors of the sympathetic nervous system in the heart and small peripheral blood vessels to increase cardiac output and blood pressure.
catheter A tube used for withdrawing fluid from various structures of the body or for irrigating hollow organs, such as the bladder.
catheter embolism An accidental loss of a catheter fragment in a vein from shearing of an indwelling intravenous catheter
cation A positively charged ion, e.g., Na+ (sodium ion).
caudad Toward the foot end of the body.
cc An abbreviation for cubic centimeter.
cecum The first portion of the large intestine into which the small intestine empties. The vermiform appendix is attached to it.
central nervous system (CNS) The brain and spinal cord.
central neurogenic hyperventilation An abnormal pattern of breathing seen in severe illness and injury involving the brain, characterized by marked tachypnea and hyperpnea.
cephalic Pertaining to the head.
cerebellum The portion of the brain, located behind and below the cerebrum, whose general function is coordination of movement.
cerebral Relating to the brain.
cerebral hemorrhage Bleeding into the cerebrum. This is one form of stroke or cerebrovascular accident.
cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) The fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord.
cerebrovascular accident (CVA) The sudden cessation of circulation to a region of the brain, caused by thrombus, embolism, or hemorrhage. It is sometimes called stroke.
cerebrum The portion of the brain that controls higher functions, such as memory, perception, thought, and judgment.
cervical Pertaining to the neck.
cervix The lower portion, or neck, of the uterus.
cesarean section The delivery of a baby by an operation in an opening is made directly into the uterus through an abdominal incision.
chemotherapy The treatment of a disease by drugs.
Cheyne Stokes respiration An abnormal breathing pattern characterized by rhythmic waxing and waning of the depth of respiration, with regularly occurring periods of apnea. It is seen in association with central nervous system dysfunction.
CHF An abbreviation for congestive heart failure.
chief complaint The problem for which a patient seeks help, stated in a word or short phrase.
chin lift Technique of opening the airway by supporting the chin in a forward position.
chloride A monovalent anion important in cellular function.
cholesterol A chemical found in various foods (e.g., animal tissue, egg yolks, certain oils and fats) that, when ingested in excess, is believed to contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.
cholinergic Referring to the parasympathetic nervous system. It is derived from the word acetycholine.
chordae tendineae The muscles that attach to the free edges of the three leaflets, or cusps, of the tricuspid valve and to the papillary muscles. The chordae are fibrous strands, shaped like umbrella stays.
chronic Of long duration.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) A term comprising chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and sometimes asthma illnesses that cause obstructive problems in the lower airways.
chronotropic Affecting the time or rate, applied especially to nerves whose stimulation or to agents whose administration affects the rate of contraction of the heart.
circulatory Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels.
cirrhosis Chronic progressive fibrosis of the liver, often associated with heavy alcohol ingestion.
clavicle The collar bone, attached at right angles to the uppermost part of the sternum.
clonic Characterized by rapid contraction and relaxation of a muscle or group of muscles.
clot A lump or solid coagulum.
CNS An abbreviation for central nervous system.
CO2 The chemical symbol for carbon dioxide.
coagulation The process of changing from a liquid to a thickened or solid state; the formation of a clot.
coccyx The lowest part of the spine, composed of four small, fused bones. It is also called the tail bone.
colic Crampy pain associated with obstruction of a hollow organ.
colitis An inflammation of the colon.
collateral circulation A mesh of arteries and capillaries that furnish blood to a segment of tissue whose original arterial supply has been obstructed.
colloid An intravenous solution containing protein, e.g., albumin.
colon The large intestine.
colostomy The establishment of an opening between the colon and the surface of the body for the purpose of providing drainage of the bowel.
coma A state of unconsciousness from which the patient cannot be aroused, even by powerful stimulation.
comatose Affected with coma.
communicable disease A disease that is readily transmissible from one person to another.
compensatory pause The R R interval between a premature beat and the following normal beat when this interval is longer than the R R interval between the premature beat and the preceding normal beat. If the pause is fully compensatory, the R R interval from the prema
complete heart block Third degree heart block; complete absence of electric conduction from the atria to the ventricles. The block can occur anywhere in the conduction system, from the AV junction, AV node, or bundle of His to the bundle branches. The ventricles ar
compress A folded cloth or pad used for applying pressure to stop hemorrhage or as a wet dressing.
concussion A violent jar or shock; the injury that results from a violent jar or shock.
conduction Transfer of heat to a liquid or solid object.
conductivity The potential of the electric conduction system of the heart to transmit electric impulses.
congenital Any condition that exists at or was acquired before birth.
congestive heart failure (CHF) Failure of adequate ventricular function with resulting backup of blood or fluid into the lungs or body tissues.
conjunctiva The delicate membrane that lines the eyelids and covers exposed surfaces of the eyeball. Normally pink in color, it may be pale in anemia or red in infection (conjunctivitis).
conscious Capable of responding to sensory stimuli and having subjective experiences.
consent Agreement by the patient to accept a medical intervention.
constrict To make smaller or narrower, e.g., constricted pupils.
constricting band A band used to restrict the venous flow of blood back to the heart. It is usually used in treating snakebites on the extremities.
constriction Narrowing, as in the term vasoconstriction, which is a narrowing of the internal diameter of the blood vessels.
contagious Describing a disease that is readily transmissible from one person to another.
contaminated Infected with bacteria, such as a wound or other surface; may also refer to polluted water, foods, or drugs.
contractility The ability of a muscle to contract when depolarized by an electric impulse.
contraction A shortening of a part, such as a muscle.
contraindication A situation that prohibits the use of a drug.
contralateral On the opposite side.
contusion A bruise; an injury that causes a hemorrhage into or beneath the skin but does not break the skin.
convection Mechanism by which body heat is picked up and carried away by moving air currents.
conversion hysteria A condition in which a person unconsciously translates an emotional conflict into a physical symptom, such as paralysis.
convulsion A violent, involuntary contraction or series of contractions of the voluntary muscles; a "fit"; a seizure.
COPD An abbreviation for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
cornea The transparent structure covering the pupil.
coronary A term applied to the blood vessels of the heart that supply blood to its walls; also used to refer to an acute myocardial infarction.
coronary artery disease A pathologic process caused by atherosclerosis that leads to progressive narrowing and eventual obstruction of the coronary arteries.
coronary occlusion An obstruction in the coronary artery that hinders or prevents the flow of blood to some portion of the heart muscle. The term is used synonymously with heart attack.
corticosteroid One of several drugs used to counteract inflammation whose structure is similar to that of naturally occurring steroid hormones.
costal Pertaining to the ribs.
costochondral Pertaining to a rib and the cartilage by which it is attached to the sternum.
Coumadin A trade name for preparations of sodium warfarin, an anticoagulant drug.
CPR An abbreviation for cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
craniad Toward the head end of the body.
cranial Pertaining to the skull.
cranium The skull.
cravat A special type of bandage made from a large, triangular piece of cloth.
crepitus A grating sound heard and a sensation felt when the fractured ends of a bone rub together.
crib death Sudden infant death syndrome, of unknown cause.
cricothyroid membrane The membrane between the cricoid and thyroid cartilages of the larynx.
cricothyrotomy The puncture of the cricothyroid membrane for the purpose of establishing an emergency airway in cases of upper airway obstruction.
crisis A critical turning point.
croup A common disease of childhood characterized by spasm of the larynx and resulting upper airway obstruction.
crowning The stage of birth when the presenting part of the baby is visible at the vaginal orifice.
crystalloid An intravenous solution that does not contain protein, e.g., 5% dextrose in water (D5/W), normal saline, Ringer's solution.
CSF An abbreviation for cerebrospinal fluid.
CSM An abbreviation for carotid sinus massage.
cumulative action Action of increased intensity evidenced after several doses of a drug.
cutaneous pertaining to the skin.
cutdown Surgical exposure of a vein to insert a cannula for administration of intravenous fluids.
CVA An abbreviation for cerebrovascular accident.
cyanosis Blueness of the skin caused by large quantities of reduced hemoglobin in the blood. It is a sign of hypoxemia.
Darvon A trade name for propoxyphene, a narcotic analgesic.
DC An abbreviation for direct current.
dead space The portion of the tidal volume that does not reach the alveoli and thus does not participate in gas exchange.
death, biologic Irreversible brain damage, usually occurring after 3 to 10 minutes of cardiac arrest.
death, clinical The moment the pulse and blood pressure are absent. Clinical death occurs immediately after the onset of cardiac arrest.
decerebrate posture A posture assumed by patients with severe brain dysfunction, characterized by extension and internal rotation of the arms and extension of the legs.
decompensation The failure of an organ system; most often used to indicate the failure of the heart, as the result of disease, to maintain sufficient circulation of blood to meet the demands of the body.
decorticate posture A posture assumed by patients with severe brain dysfunction, characterized by extension of the legs and flexion of the arms.
decimal A unit of 10; a system based on 10s.
decubitus ulcer A bedsore; an eroded wound acquired by sustained pressure on a single area of skin.
defibrillation The use of unsynchronized direct current (DC) electric shock to terminate ventricular fibrillation.
defibrillator A device that delivers direct current (DC) electric shock for the purpose of terminating ventricular fibrillation.
definitive care The D of the ABC D sequence in advanced life support. Definitive care includes ECG monitoring, diagnosis and treatment of cardiac dysrhythmias, defibrillation, and administration of intravenous fluids and drugs.
deformity An unusual alteration in the shape of a part or organ.
dehydration The condition that results from excessive loss of body water.
delirium A disturbed mental condition, usually resulting from fever, injury, or intoxication.
delirium tremens (DTs)
delivery The expulsion or extraction of the child at birth.
delusion A belief or feeling that has no basis in fact, seen in psychosis.
Demerol A trade name for meperidine, a narcotic analgesic.
denial The psychic defense mechanism of dealing with unwanted feelings or information by ignoring them. It is seen, for example, in the patient who dismisses his chest pain as "just a little indigestion.l"
dependency The condition of leaning on or requiring support from another.
depolarization The process of discharging resting cardiac muscle fibers by an electric impulse that causes them to contract.
depolarization wave The electric movement produced by the progressive depolarization from the atria through the ventricles and recorded on the ECG as the P wave (atrial depolarization) and QRS complex (ventricular depolarization).
depressant A drug that lessens the activity of the body or any of its organs.
depression Sadness, dejection, a decrease of functional activity.
dermis The inner layer of skin, containing hair follicle roots, glands, blood vessels, and nerves.
dextrose A preparation obtained by hydrolysis of starch, used as an intravenous nutrient.
diabetes mellitus A systemic disease affecting many organs, including the pancreas, whose failure to secrete insulin causes an inability to metabolize carbohydrate and consequent elevations in blood sugar.
diabetic ketoacidosis A condition resulting from uncontrolled diabetes, characterized by excessive thirst, hunger, urination, vomiting, and sometimes coma, with the production of ketones in metabolism as well as an excess of organic acids.
diagnosis Distinguishing one disease from another; the determination of the nature of a disease.
diaphoresis Profuse perspiration.
diaphragm A large skeletal muscle that is a major component in the act of respiration and that separates the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity.
diaphysis The shaft of a long bone.
diarrhea An increased frequency of defecation with discharge of watery or loose stools.
diastole The period of ventricular relaxation during which the ventricles passively fill with blood.
diastolic blood pressure The blood pressure obtained during ventricular diastole; the lowest arterial pressure between two systolic peaks.
diazepam A drug used in the treatment of seizures (trade name
diffusion The passage of fluid and chemicals through a membrane.
digitalis A drug used in the treatment of congestive heart failure and certain atrial dysrhythmias.
digitalization The process of giving digitalis to the point where the maximum therapeutic effects are achieved without untoward side effects.
digitoxicity Toxicity from digitalis, which may be manifested by anorexia, nausea, vomiting, yellow vision, or cardiac dysrhythmias.
dilation The condition of being dilated or stretched beyond normal dimensions.
Dilaudid A trade name for dihydromorphinone, a narcotic analgesic.
diplopia Double vision.
direct current (DC) An electric current that flows at a steady rate in a single direction.
direct current (DC) electric shock An electric shock delivered with a defibrillator to the heart directly or through the chest wall to terminate certain dysrhythmias, such as ventricular fibrillation, or to convert various tachyarrhythmias.
disc The cartilaginous material that separates each of the vertebrae.
dislocation The disruption of the normal anatomy of a joint.
disorganization A disturbed mental state characterized by incoherence.
disorientation A disturbed mental state characterized by confusion regarding one's relationship to either physical surroundings, time, or person.
dissecting aneurysm An aneurysm, or bulge, formed by the separation of the layers of the arterial wall.
distal Farther from a point of reference. Generally the point of reference is the heart.
distention The state of being inflated or enlarged, particularly of the abdomen.
diuresis The secretion of large amounts of urine by the kidney.
diuretic A drug used to promote elimination of excess extracellular fluid by increasing the renal secretion of urine. Diuretics are often used in the treatment of congestive heart failure.
DOA Abbreviation for dead on arrival.
doll's eyes The normal phenomenon in which the eyes move in the direction opposite to that in which the head is turned.
dominant pacemaker The sinoatrial node. Other pacemakers are normally secondary.
dorsal Referring to the back or posterior side of the body or an organ.
dressing A protective covering for a wound, used to stop bleeding and to prevent contamination of the wound.
duodenum The name given to the first 11 inches of the small intestine.
duplex A radio system employing more than one frequency.
dura mater The tough membrane that covers the brain.
duty to act Legal obligation of public and certain other ambulance services to respond to a call for help in their jurisdiction.
dying heart A heart that contracts weakly and ineffectively and produces an ECG showing marked broadening of the QRS complexes.
dysarthria Interference with proper articulation in speech.
dysconjugate gaze A gaze in which the two eyes are not aligned but instead stare in different directions.
dysfunction Lack of function; abnormal function.
dysmenorrhea Pain or cramps during menstruation.
dysphagia Interference with the act of swallowing; pain or difficulty in swallowing.
dyspnea The sensation of difficulty in breathing, with resultant rapid, shallow respirations.
dysrhythmia A disturbance in cardiac rhythm.
eardrum A flexible structure stretched across the far end of the ear canal, whose vibrations conduct sound to the middle ear.
ECC An abbreviation for external chest compressions.
ecchymosis An extravasation of blood under the skin causing a "black and blue mark."
ECF An abbreviation for extracellular fluid.
ECG An abbreviation for electrocardiogram.
eclampsia A toxic condition that may occur during pregnancy, characterized by hypertension, edema, proteinuria, and seizures; also called toxemia of pregnancy.
ectomy A suffix meaning "surgical removal" (e.g., appendectomy).
ectopic Located away from normal position, as in ectopic pregnancy or ectopic focus.
ectopic focus A pacemaker site located in some part of the electric conduction system other than the sinoatrial node.
ectopic pregnancy A pregnancy in which the fetus is implanted elsewhere than in the uterus, e.g., in the fallopian tube or in the abdominal cavity.
edema The condition in which excess fluid accumulates in body tissue, manifested by swelling.
EEG An abbreviation for electroencephalograph.
EENT An abbreviation for eye, ear, nose, and throat.
effusion The leakage of fluid from tissues into a cavity, such as into the pleural cavity.
electric conduction system The specialized cardiac tissue that initiates and conducts electric impulses. The system includes the SA node, internodal atrial conduction pathways, AV junction, AV node, bundle of His, and the Purkinje network.
electric instability The condition in which there are ectopic foci in the ventricles capable of producing life threatening dysrhythmias.
electrocardiogram (ECG) A graphic display of the electric activity produced by depolarization and repolarization of the atria and ventricles.
electrocardiograph An instrument that records electric currents produced by the heart.
electrode A probe used to sense electric activity.
electroencephalogram A graph of brain waves.
electrolyte A substance whose molecules dissociate into charged components (ions) when placed in water.
electrolyte imbalance Abnormal concentrations of serum electrolytes caused by excessive intake or loss.
electromechanical dissociation The condition in which ECG complexes are present without effective cardiac contractions.
elixir A syrup with alcohol and flavoring added, e.g., terpin hydrate elixir, a cough medication.
emaciation Excessive leanness, a wasted condition of the body.
embolism A mass (embolus, sing.; emboli, pl.) of solid, liquid, or gaseous material that is carried in the circulation and may lead to occlusion of blood vessels, with resultant infarction and necrosis of tissue supplied by those vessels.
embryo The human fetus during the first 8 weeks after conception.
emesis Vomiting.
emetic A medication that produces vomiting, e.g., syrup of ipecac.
emphysema Infiltration of any tissue by air or gas; a chronic pulmonary disease caused by distention of the alveoli and destructive changes in the lung parenchyma.
emulsion A preparation of one liquid(usually an oil) distributed in small globules in another liquid (usually water) used as a lubricant.
encephalitis inflammation of the brain.
endocardium The thin membrane lining the inside of the heart.
endothelium The thin, inner lining of blood vessels.
endotracheal Within or through the trachea.
endotracheal intubation The insertion of a tube into the trachea through the mouth or nose to establish a patent airway.
enteritis Inflammation of the small intestine.
envenomation Process by which a venom is injected into a wound.
enzyme A protein that acts as an organic catalyst. When myocardial tissue is damaged, enzymes from this tissue are released into the circulation, and measurement of the blood levels of these enzymes provides evidence for acute myocardial infarction.
EOA An abbreviation for esophageal obturator airway.
epicardium The thin membrane lining the outside of the heart.
epidemic Occurrence of a disease in many people, over a large area.
epidermis The outermost layer of the skin.
epidural Outside or above the dura mater, the heavy sheath that covers the brain.
epigastrium The upper middle region of the abdomen, within the sternal angle.
epiglottis A thin structure, located behind the root of the tongue, that shields that entrance of the larynx during swallowing, thus preventing the aspiration of food into the trachea.
epiglottitis A common illness of childhood, characterized by swelling of the epiglottis, high fever, and pain on swallowing. Complete airway obstruction may result with alarming rapidity.
epilepsy A disease characterized by seizures.
epinephrine Hormone and drug that has powerful beta stimulating properties, used in the treatment of asthma, anaphylaxis, asystole, and fine ventricular fibrillation (trade name
epiphysis The end of a long bone.
epistaxis Nosebleed.
epithelium The layer of cells covering the surface of body cavities.
ER Abbreviation for emergency room.
erythrocyte A red blood cell. The erythrocyte is the cellular element of blood that carries oxygen.
esophageal obturator airway (EOA) A device used to prevent regurgitation and provide an adequate airway by blocking off the esophageal opening with a cuffed obturator and providing ventilation through a series of sideholes in the obturator tube.
esophagus The portion of the digestive tract that lies between the pharynx and the stomach.
estrogen One of the classes of female sex hormones.
ETA Abbreviation for estimated time of arrival.
ethanol Ethyl alcohol; the type of alcohol consumed in alcoholic beverages.
etiology The causative agent of a disease.
eustachian tube The tube leading from the back of the throat to the middle ear,whose purpose is to equalize pressure in the middle ear.
evert To turn a part, such as the foot, outward.
eviscerate To remove the intestines; to disembowel.
exacerbation A flare up or worsening of a disease condition.
excitability The ability of the heart to initiate, conduct, and be stimulated by electric impulses.
excitation impulse An electric impulse that arises automatically in the electric conduction system and causes depolarization of the heart muscles.
exhalation The act of breathing out; expiration.
expectorant A drug that loosens the mucus secretions of the bronchial tree and facilitates their removal.
expiration The action of breathing out; exhalation.
exsanguinate To bleed to death.
extension The movement that brings two members of a limb into or toward a straight condition.
external chest compressions Mechanical depression of the lower half of the sternum with the aim of compressing the ventricles and increasing intrathoracic pressure, thereby squeezing blood into the systemic circulation and pulmonary circulation.
extracellular fluid (ECF) The portion of the total body water outside the cells, comprising the interstitial fluid and plasma.
extract A concentrated preparation of a drug prepared by putting the drug into solution in alcohol or water and evaporating off the excess solvent to a prescribed standard.
extraocular motions The movements of the eyes.
extrasystole An extra heart beat, often a premature contraction.
extravasation Leakage of intravenous fluid into surrounding tissues, often caused by penetration of the opposite wall of the vein used for venipuncture.
extremity A limb; an arm or a leg.
extrication Freeing an entrapped victim.
extruded Being pushed out of normal position.
exudate An accumulation of fluid in body tissue or cavities.
facies The expression or appearance of the face, which may be characteristic of various disease conditions.
fainting A momentary loss of consciousness caused by insufficient blood supply to the brain; syncope.
fallopian tube A tube extending from an ovary to the uterus.
fasciculations Rippling movements in individual muscle bundles.
FCC An abbreviation for Federal Communications Commission.
febrile Characterized by fever.
feces Bowel movement; the stool.
femoral Pertaining to the femur or the thigh.
femoral artery The main artery supplying the thigh and leg.
femur The bone that extends from the pelvis to the knee. It is the longest and largest bone of the body.
fetus The unborn human after the second month of pregnancy.
fibrillation Disorganized, uncoordinated movements of the heart muscle, resulting in quivering and ineffectual contractions of the atria or ventricles.
fibrillatory waves (f waves) On the ECG, these waves appear as frequent, irregular waves caused by rapid, disorganized firing of multiple ectopic foci in the atria or ventricles.
fibrosis The formation of fibrous tissue in the place of necrotic muscle.
fibula The smaller of the two bones of the lower leg.
flaccid Soft; limp.
flail chest The condition in which several ribs are broken, each in at least two places, or in which there is sternal fracture or separation of the ribs from the sternum, producing a free or floating segment of the chest wall that moves paradoxically on respirati
flexion The act of bending.
fluidextract A concentrated form of a drug prepared by dissolving the crude drug in the fluid in which it is most readily soluble. Fluidextracts are standardized so that 1 ml contains 1 gm of the drug.
flutter Repetitive, regular, and rapid beating of the atrial muscle.
flutter waves (F waves) Coarse, sawtooth waves on the ECG characteristic of atrial flutter.
FM An abbreviation for frequency modulation.
fontanelles The openings between the bones of the skull in very young children. As the child grows older, the bones of the skull fuse, and the fontanelles close.
foramen Any natural opening through a bone or other structure of the body.
forearm The part of the upper extremity between the elbow and the wrist.
Fowler's position Semisitting position.
fracture A break or rupture in a bone.
closed fracture A fracture that does not produce an open wound in the skin; a simple fracture.
comminuted fracture A fracture in which the bone is shattered or crushed into several small pieces.
compound fracture A fracture in which bone ends pierce the skin; an open fracture.
greenstick fracture A type of fracture occurring most frequently in children in which there is an incomplete breakage of the bone.
impacted fracture A fracture in which the broken ends of the bone are jammed into each other.
oblique fracture An injury in which the fracture line crosses the bone at an oblique angle.
open fracture A fracture involving disruption of the skin over the fracture site; a compound fracture.
simple fracture A fracture that does not cause disruption of the skin; a closed fracture.
spiral fracture An injury in which the fracture line twists around and through the bone.
transverse fracture An injury in which the fracture line is straight across the bone at right angles to its long axis.
frequency The number of cycles per second of a radio channel, inversely7 related to wave length.
frequency modulation (FM) A method of converting an analog signal (e.g., an ECG) into a tone of varying pitch, which can then be transmitted over radio frequencies.
frequency spectrum The range of radio frequencies.
frontal Pertaining to the forehead region.
frontal bone The large, flat bone that forms the front of the skull.
frontal lobe The front portion of the brain.
frostbite The localized damage to tissues resulting from prolonged exposure to extreme cold.
furosemide A potent diuretic drug used in the treatment of congestive heart failure (trade name
fused joint A joining of bones to form a rigid structure, such as in the skull.
F waves An abbreviation for flutter waves.
f waves An abbreviation for fibrillatory waves.
gag reflex Automatic spasm of the airway in response to irritation of the throat.
gait The way a person walks.
gallbladder The sac located just beneath the liver that concentrates and stores bile.
gamma ray Radioactive emission from the nucleus of an atom, with high penetrating ability.
gangrene Local tissue death as the result of injury or cutting off of its blood supply.
gastric Pertaining to the stomach.
gastrointestinal Pertaining to the stomach and intestines.
gauge A measurement referring to the diameter of a needle cannula. Sizes range from 12 gauge (very large) to 25 gauge (very small) needles. The larger the gauge number, the smaller the lumen of the needle.
generic name The name given to a drug by the company that first manufactures it. It is usually a simplified version of the chemical name.
genitalia The male and female external sex organs.
geriatric Referring to the elderly.
gestation Pregnancy.
gland Any organ or group of cells that produces any type of secretion.
glaucoma A disease that produces increased pressure within the eyeball and may lead to blindness.
glottis The opening between the vocal cords.
glucose A simple sugar. Its dextro form (dextrose) is commonly used in intravenous solutions.
gm An abbreviation for gram.
Good Samaritan Act Statute for providing limited immunity from prosecution to persons responding voluntarily and in good faith to the aid of an injured person outside the hospital.
gram (gm) A unit of weight in the metric system, equivalent to about 0.035 ounces.
grand mal seizure A generalized motor seizure.
gravid Pregnant.
groin The inguinal region; the junction of the abdomen with the thigh.
gtt An abbreviation meaning "drops."
habituation A situation in which the effects produced by a drug are necessary to maintain a person's feeling of well being.
hallucination A sense perception not founded on objective reality.
hallucinogen An agent or drug that has the capacity to stimulate hallucinations.
hb (hgb) Abbreviations for hemoglobin.
hct An abbreviation for hematocrit.
head tilt Maneuver to open the airway by hyperextending the head.
heart attack A layman's term for a condition resulting from blockage of a coronary artery with subsequent death of part of the heart muscle; an acute myocardial infarction; a "coronary."
heart block A condition in which the passage of electric impulses from the atrium through the AV junction is hindered or prevented altogether.
first degree heart block A partial disruption of the conduction of the depolarizing impulse from the atria to the ventricles, causing prolongation of the P R interval.
second degree heart block A type of incomplete heart block in which a variable percentage of the P waves are not followed by a QRS complex.
third degree heart block Complete heart block; complete absence of conduction of the depolarizing impulse from the atria to the ventricles. An ectopic focus below the block becomes the pacemaker for the ventricles, and atrial and ventricular contractions become dissociated.
heat cramps Painful muscle cramps resulting from excessive loss of salt and water through sweating.
heat exhaustion Prostration caused by excessive loss of water and salt through sweating. It is characterized by cold, clammy skin and a weak, rapid pulse.
heat stroke A life threatening condition caused by a disturbance in the temperature regulating mechanism. It is characterized by extreme fever, hot and dry skin, bounding pulse, and delirium or coma.
hematemesis Vomiting blood.
hematocrit (hct) The percentage of a sample of whole blood occupied by red blood cells.
hematoma A localized collection of blood in the tissues as a result of injury or a broken blood vessel.
hematuria Discharge of blood in the urine.
hemiparesis Weakness on one side of the body.
hemiplegia Paralysis of the lower half of the body.
hemodialysis The process of removing certain noxious agents from the blood by diffusion through a semipermeable membrane.
hemoglobin (hb, hgb) The oxygen carrying pigment of the red blood cells. When it has absorbed oxygen in the lungs, hemoglobin is bright red and is called oxyhemoglobin. After it has given up its oxygen in the tissues, it is purple and is called reduced hemoglobin
hemolysis The disintegration of the red blood cells resulting from some adverse factor, such as a transfusion reaction.
hemophilia An inherited blood disease of males, characterized by inability of the blood to clot.
hemoptysis Coughing up blood from the lungs.
hemorrhage Bleeding, particularly if excessive.
hemorrhagic shock A state of inadequate tissue perfusion caused by blood loss.
hemostasis Stopping hemorrhage.
hemostat An instrument that stops hemorrhage by compressing the bleeding vessel; a type of clamp.
hemothorax Bleeding into the pleural cavity.
heparin An intravenous anticoagulant medication.
hepatitis Inflammation of the liver.
hepatomegaly Enlargement of the liver.
hernia The protrusion of any organ through an opening into a body cavity where it does not belong. The most common is an inguinal hernia in which a loop of intestine descends into the inguinal canal in the groin.
hiatus hernia The protrusion of the stomach into the mediastinum through an opening in the diaphragm. This can mimic the chest pain of angina pectoris or acute myocardial infarction.
hinge joint A specialized joint found in the elbow, knee, and fingers.
His Purkinje system The portion of the electric conduction system, located in the lower part of the interventricular septum and in the ventricular walls, that conducts the electric impulse from the AV junction to the Purkinje network in the ventricles.
history Information about the patient's chief complaint, present symptoms, and previous illnesses.
homeostasis A tendency to constancy or stability in the body's internal environment.
homicide The taking of another's life.
hormone A substance secreted by an endocrine gland that has effects on other glands or organs of the body.
hs An abbreviation meaning "at bedtime."
humerus The bone of the upper arm.
hydration A state of water balance in the body.
hydrothorax Fluid in the pleural cavity.
hygroscopic Tending to absorb water.
hyoid bone A U shaped bone in the throat just above the larynx at the base of the tongue.
hypercarbia Excessive partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the blood; an arterial PCO2 greater than 45 to 50 torr.
hyperemia Increased blood flow to a region or tissue.
hyperextension Overextension of a limb or other part of the body.
hyperglycemia Abnormally increased concentration of sugar in the blood.
hyperkalemia Excessive amount of potassium in the blood.
hyperpnea Increased depth of respiration.
hyperpyrexia Abnormally high fever; hyperthermia.
hyperreflexia Overactive reflexes.
hyperresonance Abnormally increased resonance to percussion, as in the chest of an asthmatic.
hypersensitivity Having the ability to react with characteristic symptoms to contact with certain substances; allergy.
hypertension High blood pressure, usually referring to a diastolic pressure greater than 90 to 95 mm Hg.
hyperthermia Abnormally increased body temperature; hyperpyrexia.
hypertonic Having an osmotic pressure greater than a solution to which it is being compared, usually the intracellular fluid.
hypertrophy Enlargement of an organ caused by an increase in size of its constituent cells,k rather than an increase in the number of cells.
hyperventilation An increased rate and/or depth of respiration that results in abnormal lowering of the arterial carbon dioxide tension (PCO2).
hyphema Hemorrhage into the anterior chamber of the eye.
hypocarbia Abnormally low carbon dioxide tension in the blood; an arterial PCO2 less than 35 torr.
hypoglycemia Abnormally diminished concentration of sugar in the blood.
hypokalemia Abnormally low concentration of potassium in the blood.
hypopharynx The most distal portion of the pharynx, which leads to the larynx and esophagus.
hypotension Low blood pressure.
hypothermia Having a body temperature below normal.
hypotonic Having an osmotic pressure less than a solution to which it is being compared, usually the intracellular fluid.
hypoventilation Inadequate ventilation, with a resultant rise in the arterial PCO2 to levels above normal (higher than 45 torr).
hypovolemia Abnormally decreased amount of blood and fluids in the body.;
hypoxemia Inadequate oxygen in the blood; an arterial PO2 less than 60 torr.
I & O An abbreviation for intake and output; the measurement of a patient's fluid intake and output.
ICF An abbreviation for intracellular fluid.
icterus Jaundice, the yellow appearance of the skin and other tissues caused by an accumulation of bile pigments. It is often seen in liver disease.
idiopathic Of unknown cause.
idiosyncrasy An abnormal sensitivity to a drug, peculiar to an individual.
idioventricular Relating to or affecting the ventricle only. An idioventricular rhythm is one that arises in the ventricles.
ileum The third portion of the small intestine.
ilium The broad, uppermost portion of the hip bone.
IM An abbreviation for intramuscular.
immobilization The holding of a part firmly in place, as by means of splints.
impaled object An object that has caused a puncture wound and that remains embedded in the wound.
incision A wound usually made deliberately in connection with surgery; a clean cut, as opposed to a laceration.
incompatibility In blood typing, the situation in which the donor and recipient blood cannot be mixed without clumping or adverse reactions.
incomplete AV block First or second degree heart block.
incontinence An inability to prevent the flow of urine or feces.
indication The circumstances under which a drug is suited for use.
indwelling catheter A plastic catheter designed for insertion into the lumen of a tube or vessel.
infarction Death (necrosis) of a localized area of tissue caused by the cutting off of its blood supply.
infection An invasion of the body by pathogenic microorganisms.
inferior In anatomy, situated below, or directed downward; the lower surface of an organ or structure.
inferior vena cava A major vein that empties venous blood from the lower extremities and abdominal organs into the right atrium.
infiltration A deposit of fluid into the tissues, often occurring as a result of administering fluid through an IV cannula that has penetrated the opposite wall of the vein.
inflammation A tissue reaction to chemical or physical injury or infection. The signs are pain, heat, redness, and swelling.
infusion Administration of fluid into a vein.
ingestion The taking in of food or other substances through the mouth.
inhalation Active phase of respiration in which air is drawn into the lungs; inspiration.
innocuous Not harmful or poisonous.
inoculation An injection of any biologic substance intended to confer protection against disease.
inotropic Tending to increase the force of cardiac contractions.
inspection The first part of the physical examination, involving a careful visual examination of the patient.
inspiration The breathing of air into the lungs; inhalation.,
insufficiency The condition of being inadequate to normal performance.
insulin A hormone secreted by the pancreatic islets that promotes utilization of sugar by the body.
insulin shock Severe hypoglycemia caused by excessive insulin dosage with respect to sugar intake. It may be characterized by bizarre behavior, sweating, tachycardia, or coma.
intercostal Between the ribs.
intercostal muscles The muscles between the rigs.
intercostal space The area between two adjacent ribs, containing intercostal muscles, arteries, veins, and nerves.
intermittent positive pressure breathing (IPPB) Assisted ventilation under positive pressure to the spontaneously breathing patient.
intermittent positive pressure ventilation (IPPV) Controlled ventilation under positive pressure to the patient who is not breathing spontaneously.
interstitial fluid The fluid bathing the cells. It is one component of the extracellular fluid.
interventricular septum The thin, muscular wall dividing the right and left ventricles.
intima The innermost layer of a blood vessel.
intoxication The state of being poisoned, a condition caused by excessive use of drugs, including alcohol.
intracardiac injection An injection of medication, such as epinephrine, directly into a heart chamber through the chest wall.
intracellular fluid (ICF) The portion of the total body water contained within the cells. It is usually about 45 percent of the body weight.
intracranial Within the skull.
intramuscular (IM) injection An injection of medication directly into a muscle of a patient.
intravascular fluid The portion of the total body water contained within the blood vessels; plasma.
intravenous (IV) within or into a vein.
intravenous solution Sterile water mixed with various concentrations of electrolytes and/or dextrose and prepared in sterile plastic or glass containers.
intubation The placement of a tube through the glottis into the trachea (endotracheal intubation) or into the esophagus (esophageal obturator airway intubation); may also be used to refer to intubation of the stomach with a nasogastric tube.
involuntary muscles The muscles that function without voluntary control; smooth muscles (as opposed to skeletal muscles).
ion An electrically charged molecule, e.g., Na+ or Cl .
ionizing radiation Transmission of energy in the form of waves or particles that has the ability to disrupt atoms in its path into their component ions.
ipecac, syrup of A medication used to induce vomiting.
IPPB An abbreviation for intermittent positive pressure breathing.
IPPV An abbreviation for intermittent positive pressure ventilation.
iris The colored portion of the eye surrounding the pupil.
irritation A drug action that produces slight or temporary damage to tissues.
ischemia Tissue anoxia from diminished blood flow, caused by narrowing or occlusion of the artery to the tissue.
ischium The lowermost portion of the hip bone.
islets of Langerhans Clusters of cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
isoelectric line The baseline of the ECG.
isoproterenol A beta stimulator drug (trade name
isotonic Having the same osmotic pressure as that of a reference solution, usually the intracellular fluid.
itis A suffix meaning "inflammation of."
IV An abbreviation for intravenous.
jaundice The presence of excessive bile pigments in the bloodstream, which give the skin, mucous membranes, and eyes a distinct yellow color. It is often associated with liver disease.
jaw thrust Maneuver to open the airway by pushing forward on the mandibles.
jejunum The second portion of the small intestine.
joint The point at which two or more bones articulate or come together.
jugular notch Top border of the sternum.
jugular veins Veins that return blood from the head, neck, and face to the superior vena cava.
junctional rhythm A dysrhythmia arising from ectopic foci in the area of the AV junction. It often shows an absence of the P wave, a short P R interval, or a P wave appearing after the QRS complex.
K+ The chemical symbol for potassium ion.
keratin The horny, proteinlike substance in the upper layers of the skin that is also the principle constituent of the hair and nails.
ketoacidosis The condition arising in diabetics whose insulin dose is insufficient to meet their needs, wherein blood sugar reaches high levels, and fat is metabolized to ketones and acids. It is characterized by excessive thirst, urination, nausea, and vomiting,
kg An abbreviation for kilogram.
kidneys Paired organs located in the retroperitoneum that filter the blood and produce urine.
kilogram (kg) A unit of measurement in the metric system, equal to 1,000 gm or 2.2 pounds.
KO (KVO) An abbreviation for keep open (keep vein open). It refers to a very slow rate of intravenous infusion designed simply to keep the route patent and prevent the line from clotting.
Kussmaul breathing Respiratory pattern characteristic of the diabetic in ketoacidosis, with marked hyperpnea and tachypnea.
L An abbreviation for liter.
labia The folds of skin and mucous membrane that comprises the vulva.
labor Muscular contractions of the uterus designed to expel the fetus from the mother.
laceration A wound made by a tearing or cutting action on the tissues. lactate
lactated Ringer's solution A sterile intravenous solution containing sodium, potassium, calcium, and chloride ions in concentrations similar to those present in the blood, as well as lactate added as a buffer.
lactation Secretion of milk.
lactic acid A metabolic end product of the breakdown of glucose. It tends to accumulate when metabolism proceeds in the absence of oxygen.
lactic acidosis An excess of lactic acid in the blood, causing the blood pH to fall below 7.35.
large intestine The portion of the intestine between the small intestine and the rectum; the colon.
laryngectomee A person who has had total or partial surgical removal of the larynx
laryngectomy Removal of the larynx.
laryngoscope In instrument for directly visualizing the larynx and its related structures.
laryngospasm Severe constriction of the larynx, often in response to allergy or noxious stimuli.
larynx The organ of voice production.
lateral Of or toward the side; away from the midline of the body.
lavage A washing out of a hollow organ, such as the stomach.
lead Any one of the records made by the ECG, depending on the direction of current flow.
left atrium The upper left chamber of the heart, which receives blood from the pulmonary veins.
left heart The left atrium plus the left ventricle.
left heart failure The failure of the left ventricle to pump blood forward effectively causing backup of blood into the pulmonary circulation, extravasation of fluid into the lungs, and consequent pulmonary edema.
left ventricle The thick walled, muscular, lower left chamber of the heart, which receives blood from the left atrium and pumps it out through the aorta into the systemic arteries.
lens The portion of the eye that focuses light rays on the retina.
lesion A pathologic or traumatic discontinuity of tissue or loss of function of a part.
lethargy A lack of ambition to do anything, coupled with a feeling of sleepiness.
leukemia A disease of the blood forming organs characterized by proliferation of white blood cells and pathologic changes in the bone marrow and other lymphoid tissue.
leukocyte White blood cell.
lidocaine A drug used to suppress ventricular ectopic activity (trade name- Xylocaine).
life threatening dysrhythmias Dysrhythmias characterized by extreme bradycardia (less than 40 beats per minute)k, extreme tachycardia (greater than about 140 beats per minute), where electric instability is present or the cardiac output is decreased, especially in the context of
ligament The tough band of fibrous tissues that connects bones to bones around a joint or supports an organ.
ligate To tie off, as a bleeding artery.
limb presentation A delivery in which the presenting part is an arm or a leg.
liniment A preparation of a drug for external use, usually to relieve some discomfort or protect the skin.
liter (L) A metric volume measurement, equal to 1,000 ml or 1.1 quarts.
litigation Lawsuit.
liver The large organ in the right upper quadrant of the abdomen that secretes bile, produces many essential proteins, detoxifies drugs, and performs many other vital functions.
loading dose An initial, large dose of a drug that provides a blood level necessary to achieve its therapeutic effects.
lotion A preparation of a drug for external use, usually to relieve some discomfort or protect the skin.
lumbar The region of the spine and surrounding trunk between the thorax and the brim of the pelvis.
lumen The cavity or channel within a tube, such as an IV cannula.
lungs Paired organs in the thorax that effect ventilation and oxygenation.
lymph An almost colorless, nutrient fluid that circulates in the lymphatic vessels.
malaise A generalized feeling of vague bodily discomfort.
malignant Cancerous; tending to become progressively worse and to result in death.
malleolus The large, rounded, bony protuberance on either side of the ankle joint.
mandible The lower jaw bone.,
manubrium The upper portion of the sternum to which the clavicles are attached.
MAP An abbreviation for mean arterial pressure.
marrow cavity The central cavity in the shaft of the long bone where yellow marrow is contained.
MAST An abbreviation for Military Anti Shock Trousers.
mastoid A large, spongy bone behind the ear.
maxilla The upper jaw bone.
mean arterial pressure (MAP) The pressure approximately midway between the systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
mechanism of injury The way in which an injury occurred and the forces involved in producing the injury.
medial Toward the midline of the body.
mediastinum The space within the chest that contains the heart, major blood vessels, vagus nerve, trachea, and esophagus. It is located between the two lungs.
medulla oblongata The portion of the brain between the cerebellum and spinal cord that contains the centers for control of respiration and heart beat, together with other major control centers.
melanin The pigment that gives skin its color.
meninges The three membranes covering the spinal cord and brain; the dura mater (external), arachnoid (middle), and pia mater (internal).
meningitis Inflammation of the meninges. It may present with fever, stiff neck, and delirium.
menopause The time of a woman's life when menstruation ceases.
menorrhagia Excessive flow during a menstrual period.
menses The discharge that occurs with the monthly menstrual period.
menstruation The process by which the uterine lining is shed each month by women between the ages of puberty and menopause.
mEq An abbreviation for milliequivalent.
mesentery Tissues by which the intestines are connected to the back surface of the abdominal cavity and that contain the blood vessels, lymphatics, and nerves supplying the intestines.
metabolism The conversion of food into energy and waste products.
metacarpal bones The five bones that form the palm and back of the hand.
metaraminol A drug sometimes used in the treatment of shock for its stimulating effect on alpha (sympathetic) receptors, which causes vasoconstriction (trade name
meter A metric linear measurement, equal to 1,000 mm or 39.37 inches.
methanol Methyl alcohol; wood alcohol. It is poisonous if ingested, causing extreme metabolic acidosis.
metric system A system of weights and measures based on decimal units.
mg An abbreviation for milligram.
MI An abbreviation for myocardial infarction.
microdrip fluid administration set A set used to deliver intravenous solution or medication at a very slow rate, thus permitting accurate titration of dosage.
microgram A metric unit of weight, equal to 0.001 mg.
MICU Abbreviation for mobile intensive care unit.
midclavicular line An imaginary vertical line beginning in the middle of the clavicle and running parallel to the sternum slightly inside the nipple.
Military Anti Shock Trousers (MAST) An inflatable garment applied around the legs and abdomen, used in the treatment of shock.
milk In pharmacology, an aqueous suspension of insoluble drugs, e.g., milk of magnesia.
milliampere A unit of current, equal to 0.001 ampere.
milliequivalent (mEq) A unit of measurement for electrolytes based on chemical combining power. It is defined as the weight of a substance present in 1 ml of normal solution.
milligram (mg) A metric weight measurement, equal to 0.001 gm.
milliliter (ml) A metric fluid measurement, equal to 0.001 liter.
millimeter (mm) A metric linear measurement, equal to 0.001 meter.
millimeter of mercury (mm Hg) A metric measurement used in determination of blood pressure; commonly referred to as torr (Torricelli unit) when used to designate gas tensions in the blood.
millivolt (mV) A unit of electric energy, equal to 0.001 volt.
minute volume The volume of air inhaled or exhaled during 1 minute, calculated by multiplying the tidal volume times the respiratory rate.
miosis Pupillary constriction.
miscarriage A layman's term for an abortion, or the premature expulsion of a nonliving fetus from the uterus.
mitral valve The valve located between the left atrium and the left ventricle.
ml An abbreviation for milliliter.
mm An abbreviation for millimeter.
mm Hg An abbreviation for millimeter of mercury.l
mobile intensive care unit (MICU) Ambulance staffed and equipped to give advanced life support.
monovalent Having a single charge, e.g.,the sodium ion (Na+).
morbidity A synonym for illness; generally used to refer to an untoward effect of an illness or injury.
morphine A narcotic analgesic used to relieve pain and anxiety and to alleviate pulmonary edema.
mortality Death from a given disease or injury.
motor nerves Nerves that send messages from the brain to various organs and muscles to stimulate voluntary and involuntary actions.
mouth to mouth ventilation The preferred emergency method of artificial ventilation without adjuncts in which the rescuer exhales through his mouth into the mouth of the victim.
mouth to nose ventilation An emergency method of artificial ventilation used when the mouth to mouth technique cannot be performed. In this method, the rescuer exhales through his mouth into the nose of the victim.
mucosa Any mucous membrane.
mucous membrane A membrane that lines many organs of the body and contains small, mucus secreting glands.
mucus A viscid, slippery secretion that serves as a lubricant and protects various surfaces.
multifocal Arising from or pertaining to many foci or locations.
multipara A woman who has had more than two pregnancies; also called "multip."
multiplex A method by which simultaneous transmission and reception of voice and ECG signals can be achieved over a single radio frequency.
murmur The sound that may be detected in the heart when one of the valves is leaking or partially shut.
muscle The tissue comprising fibers that have the ability to shorten, thus causing bones and joints to move.
muscular tremor artifact Numerous, extraneous deflections in the ECG caused by muscle movement or shivering.
mV An abbreviation for millivolt.
myalgia Pain in the muscles.
myasthenia gravis A progressive disease of the muscles characterized by slow paralysis of various muscle groups.
mydriasis Pupillary dilation.
myocardial Pertaining to the musculature of the heart.
myocardial infarction The damaging or death of an area of heart muscle resulting from a reduction in the blood supply to that area.
myocardial rupture The bursting of a necrotic area of cardiac muscle, which may occur several days after the onset of acute myocardial infarction. It results in cardiac tamponade and is rapidly fatal if untreated.
myocardium Cardiac muscle.
Na+ The chemical symbol for sodium ion.
NaHCO3 The chemical symbol for sodium bicarbonate.
naloxone A narcotic antagonist drug used in the treatment of narcotic overdose (trade name
narcosis An unconscious state caused by narcotics or accumulation of carbon dioxide or other toxic substances in the blood. The term usually implies respiratory depression leading to apnea.
narcotic A drug that relieves pain and produces sleep by its depressant effect on the central nervous system.
nasopharynx The part of the pharynx that is continuous with the nasal passages.
nausea An unpleasant sensation in the epigastrium and abdomen, often preceding vomiting.
nebulizer A device that delivers water or liquid medication in the form of a very fine spray.
neck lift Maneuver to open the airway by lifting upward on the patient's neck.
necrosis The death of tissue, usually caused by a cessation of its blood supply.
necrotic Pertaining to dead tissue.
negligence Failure to exercise the care that circumstances demand; an act of omission or commission that results in injury.
neonate A newborn.
nervous system The brain, the spinal cord, and the nerves branching from both.
neurogenic Originating in the nervous system.
neurogenic shock Shock caused by massive vasodilation and pooling of blood in the peripheral vessels to the degree that adequate perfusion cannot be maintained.
nitrogen An element making up about 80 percent of the air we breathe, present in all plant and animal tissues.
nocturia The necessity to get up at night to urinate.
nodal Usually, pertaining to the AV node.
noise Extraneous deflections in the ECG signal. It may be caused by muscle tremor, 60 cycle AC interference, loose electrodes, and weak radio transmission.
norepinephrine A hormone and drug sometimes used in the treatment of shock. It produces vasoconstriction through its alpha stimulator properties (trade name; Levophed).
normal saline An intravenous solution containing 0.9% sodium chloride, used when volume replacement is desired.
normal sinus rhythm (NSR) The normal rhythm of the heart, wherein the excitation impulse arises in the SA node, travels through the internodal pathways to the AV junction, thence down the bundle of His, through the bundle branches, and into the Purkinje network without interfe
NPO An abbreviation meaning "nothing by mouth."
NSR An abbreviation for normal sinus rhythm.
O2 The chemical symbol for oxygen.
occipital The region of the back part of the head.
occlusion Stoppage, as of a blood vessel by a clot or thrombus.
occlusive dressing A watertight or airtight covering for a wound.
ocular Pertaining to the eyes.
OD An abbreviation with several meanings
odontoid process A toothlike structure projecting from the second cervical vertebra.
ointment A semisolid substance used externally, usually containing medication.
oliguria Minimal urine output.
open pneumothorax A pneumothorax caused by an opening in the chest wall; a sucking chest wound.
opiate Technically, various alkaloids derived from the opium or poppy plant; often used in a general way to refer to any drug that produces sleep.
opisthotonos A convulsive, rigid arching of the back that is seen in tetanus and severe meningitis.
optic nerve The nerve of the eye that transmits visual impulses from the eye to the brain.
orbit The eye socket.
orifice The entrance or outlet of any body cavity.
oropharyngeal airway A ventilatory adjunct placed in the patient's mouth in such a way that the curved, distal part slides behind the base of the tongue, thereby holding the tongue forward, away from the posterior wall of the pharynx.
oropharynx The area behind the base of the tongue between the soft palate and the upper portion of the epiglottis.
orthopnea Severe dyspnea experienced when lying down, relieved by sitting up.
orthostatic hypotension Fall in blood pressure in assuming an erect position.
OS An abbreviation for oculus sinister (left eye).
oscilloscope A display device with a screen for viewing an ECG or other physiologic data.
osmosis The passage across a semipermeable membrane of pure solvent from a solution of lower soluble concentration to one of higher concentration.
osmotic pressure The pressure exerted by a solution of greater solute concentration on water in a solution of lower solute concentration.
ostomy A suffix meaning "surgical incision into an organ" (e.g., tracheostomy).
ovary The female sex organ in which eggs and female hormones are produced.
overhydration A condition that results from excessive retention of fluids.
ovum An egg (pl., ova).
oxygen (O2) A colorless, odorless, tasteless gas essential to life, composing 21 percent of the air we breathe.
oxytocin A drug used to promote uterine contractions (trade name
p An abbreviation meaning "after." (post)
PAC An abbreviation for premature atrial contraction.
pacemaker Specialized tissue within the heart that initiates excitation impulses; an electronic device used to stimulate cardiac contraction when the electric conduction system of the heart is malfunctioning, especially in complete heart block. An electronic pacem
pacemaker site The site in any part of the electric conduction system where excitation impulses arise.
palate The roof of the mouth.
pallor Paleness of the skin.
palpation Feeling a part of a patient's body with the hand to assess the consistency of the parts beneath, in physical diagnosis.
palpitation A sensation, felt under the left breast, of the heart's "skipping a beat," caused by premature ventricular contraction.
palsy Paralysis.
pancreas An intra abdominal gland that secretes insulin and important digestive enzymes.
papillary muscle Protrusions of the myocardium into the ventricular cavities to which the chordae tendineae are attached.
para A prefix meaning "beside."
paracentesis The draining of fluid from the peritoneal cavity by means of a needle or catheter inserted through the abdominal wall.
paradoxal respiration The situation in which attempts to inhale cause collapse of a portion of the chest wall instead of expansion. It is seen in flail chest.
paralysis Loss of motor function.
paranoia A mental disorder characterized by abnormal suspicions or other delusions (often of persecution or grandeur).
paraplegia The loss of both motion and sensation in the legs and lower part of the body, most commonly caused by damage to the spinal cord.
parasympathetic nervous system A subdivision of the autonomic nervous system, involved in control of involuntary, vegetative functions, mediated largely by the vagus nerve through the chemical acetylcholine.
parenchyma The substance of a gland or solid organ.
parenteral The administration of a medication or fluid by means other than through the digestive tract, e.g., intravenous, intramuscular.
paresis f Weakness.
paresthesia An abnormal sensation, often of the pins and needles variety, indicating disturbance in nerve function.
parietal lobe The portion of the brain containing sensory areas and areas of muscle control.
parietal pleura The membrane lining the inside of the chest wall and the pericardium.
paroxysm A sudden and intense recurrence of symptoms.
paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea (PND) A severe shortness of breath occurring at night after several hours of recumbency, during which fluid pools in the lungs. The patient is forced to sit up to breathe. It is caused by left heart failure.
parturition The act of giving birth.
patch A connection between a telephone line and radio communications system, enabling a caller to get "on the air" by dialing into a special phone.
patella The small, flat bone that protects the knee joint; the knee cap.
patent Open, unobstructed.
pathogenic Capable of causing a disease process.
pathognomonic A symptom or sign that is sufficiently characteristic of a disease process to make a diagnosis possible on the basis of that finding alone.
pathologic Indicative of or caused by a morbid condition.
pc An abbreviation meaning "after meals."
PCO2 The symbol for the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in a gas.
pedal Pertaining to the foot.
pediatrics A medical specialty devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of children.
PEEP An abbreviation for positive end expiratory pressure.
pelvic girdle The large bone that arises in the area of the last nine vertebrae and sweeps around to form a complete ring.
pelvis The lower bony structure of the trunk.
peptic ulcer An ulcer produced by acidic gastric juice acting on the wall of the stomach.
percussion Striking a part of a patient's body with short, sharp blows in order to produce a sound that will indicate the condition of the structures within.
percutaneous Through the skin.
perfusion The flow of blood through tissues.
pericardial cavity A potential space between the two layers of the pericardium, the outer (parietal) pericardium and the inner (visceral) epicardium. Normally this space contains only a small amount of lubricating fluid.
pericardial effusion Excess fluid within the pericardial sac.
pericardial tamponade An accumulation of excess fluid or blood in the pericardial sac that interferes with heart action.
pericardium A double layered sac containing the heart and the origins of the superior vena cava, inferior vena cava, and pulmonary artery.
perineum The region between the genitalia and the anus.
periodic breathing Cheyne Stokes respiration.
periorbital The region around the eyes.
periosteum Dense, fibrous tissue covering bone.
peripheral Pertaining to an outside surface.
peripheral vascular resistance (PVR) The resistance to blood flow in the systemic circulation depending on the degree of constriction of the network of blood vessels making up the peripheral vascular system.
peripheral vasoconstriction Dilation of peripheral blood vessels, causing a decrease in blood pressure and warm, flushed skin.
peristalsis Successive waves of muscular contraction and relaxation proceeding uniformly along a hollow tube, such as the esophagus or intestines, which propel the contents of the tube forward.
peritoneal cavity Abdominal cavity.
peritoneum The membrane that lines the abdominal cavity.
peritonitis Inflammation of the peritoneum.
pertinent negative Symptom or sign that the patient DOES NOT have but might be expected to have, given the chief complaint.
petit mal seizure A type of epileptic attack seen in children, characterized by momentary loss of awareness without loss of motor tone.
pH A measure of the hydrogen ion (H+) concentration, hence the acidity or alkalinity of a fluid.
phalanx Any bone of a finger or toe.
pharmacology The science that deals with the study of drugs in all their aspects.
pharyngeal Pertaining to or situated near the pharynx.
pharynx The portion of the airway between the nasal cavity and the larynx, consisting of the nasopharynx, oropharynx, and laryngopharynx.
phenobarbital A barbiturate sedative hypnotic drug.
phenylephrine A pure alpha (sympathetic) agent (trade name
phlebitis Inflammation of the wall of a vein, some times caused by an IV line, manifested by tenderness, redness, and slight edema along part of the length of the vein.
phobia An abnormal and persistent dread of some specific thing.
physiologic action An action caused by a drug when given in the concentrations normally present in the body (applies only to drugs that are derived from normal body chemicals, e.g., epinephrine).
physiology The study of body functions.
pia mater Innermost layer of the meninges
piggyback Adding solution to an infusion set by inserting a needle connected to another infusion set.
pill A drug shaped into a ball or oval to be swallowed, often coated to disguise an unpleasant taste.
pinna The outer portion of the ear leading to the ear canal.
pitting edema Severe edema that renders the tissue boggy and capable of being indented by moderate pressure.
pituitary The master gland of the body, located in the brain behind the eyes. It influences the secretions of all other glands.
PJC An abbreviation for premature junctional contraction.
placenta A vascular organ attached to the uterine wall, supplying oxygen and nutrients to the fetus; also called the afterbirth.
placenta previa A delivery in which the placenta is the presenting part. It may result in excanguinating hemorrhage.
plantar Relating to the sole of the foot.
plasma The fluid portion of the blood from which the cells have been removed.
platelet A small, cellular element in the blood that plays an important role in blood clotting.
pleura The membrane lining the outer surface of the lungs (visceral pleura), the inner surface of the chest wall, and the thoracic surface of the diaphragm (parietal pleura).
pleural cavity A potential space between the parietal and visceral pleurae.
pleural effusion An excessive accumulation of fluid in the pleural space.
pleural space A potential space between the two layers of the pleura.
pleuritic pain Chest pain that is sharp and made worse by deep inhalation, coughing, or laughing. It is characteristic of pleural inflammation.
PMI An abbreviation for point of maximal impulse.
PNC An abbreviation for premature nodal contraction.
PND An abbreviation for paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea.
pneumonia An acute, infectious disease of the lungs.
pneumothorax Air in the pleural cavity.
PO An abbreviation meaning "by mouth."
PO2 The symbol for the partial pressure of oxygen in a gas.
point of maximal impulse (PMI) The palpable beat of the apex of the heart against the chest wall during ventricular contraction. It is normally palpated in the fifth left intercostal space in the midclavicular line.
poly A prefix meaning "many" or "much."
polydipsia Excessive thirst and/or excessive intake of fluids.
polyphagia Excessive hunger and eating.
polyuria Excessive urination.
popliteal The area or space behind the knee joint.
positive end expiratory pressure (PEEP) The application of slight positive pressure at the end of exhalation for the purpose of preventing small airways from collapsing.
posterior Situated in back of or on the dorsal surface.
postictal Referring to the period after the convulsive state of a seizure.
postmortem After death.
postpartum After delivery.
potassium (K+) A monovalent cation required for the proper functioning of muscle, particularly the electric conduction system of the heart.
potentiation Enhancement of the effect of one drug by another.
powder A drug that has been ground into powder form.
P QRS T The ECG representation of one cycle of depolarization and repolarization of the atria and ventricles.
precordial Referring to the general area over the heart and left lower thorax.
precordial thump A sharp blow to the midsternum delivered in an attempt to terminate ventricular tachycardia or stimulate the heart to beat in asystole.
preeclampsia The condition that precedes eclampsia, or toxemia of pregnancy, characterized by hypertension and edema.
preinfarction angina Unstable angina.
premature atrial contractions (PACs) Extra atrial contractions followed by ventricular contractions with normal or abnormal QRS complexes, caused by ectopic foci in the interatrial conduction pathways.,
premature infant ("preemie") Infant born before the eighth month of gestation or weighing less than 2 kg (5 1/2 lb).
premature junctional contractions (PJCs) Also called premature nodal contractions; extra ventricular contractions with normal or abnormal QRS complexes caused by ectopic foci in the AV junction.
premature nodal contractions (PNCs) Premature junctional contractions.
premature ventricular contractions (PVCs) Extra ventricular contractions caused by ectopic foci in the His Purkinje system of the ventricles and characterized on the ECG by bizarre, widened QRS complexes.
prenatal Before birth.
presenting part The part of the baby that comes out first during delivery.
primipara A woman in her first pregnancy; also called "primip."
P R interval The period of time between the beginning of the P (atrial depolarization) and the onset of the QRS complex (ventricular depolarization), signifying the time required for atrial depolarization and passage of the excitation impulse through the AV junctio
prn An abbreviation meaning "as needed."
procainamide A drug used to suppress ventricular dysrhythmias (trade name- Pronestyl).
prognosis The probable outlook for recovery from disease.
prolapsed cord A delivery in which the umbilical cord appears at the vaginal orifice before the head of the infant.
prone Lying flat with the face downward.
prophylaxis Measures to prevent the occurrence of a given disease or abnormal state.
propranolol A drug used to suppress life threatening dysrhythmias. It is also sometimes used in the treatment of hypertension and angina (trade name- Inderal).
prostate A gland at the base of the male bladder that often becomes enlarged later in life, causing obstruction to urine flow.
prosthesis An artificial part made to replace a natural one.
prostration Collapse.
protocol A standard routine.
proximal Closer to a point of reference, usually the heart.
pruritus Itching.
psychosis A mental disorder causing disintegration of personality and loss of contact with reality.
psychosomatic Pertaining to bodily manifestations of any disorder of the mind.
pubis One of the two bones that form the anterior portion of the pelvic ring.
puerperium The convalescent period following the birth of a baby.
pulmonary Referring to the lungs or related structures.
pulmonary arteries The arteries that carry blood poor in oxygen from the right ventricle to the lungs.
pulmonary circulation The flow of blood from the right ventricle through the pulmonary arteries and all of their branches and capillaries in the lungs, and thence back to the left atrium through the venules and pulmonary veins; also called the lesser circulation.
pulmonary edema Congestion of the pulmonary air spaces with exudate and foam, often secondary to left heart failure.
pulmonary embolism Obstruction of a pulmonary artery or arteries by solid, liquid, or gaseous material swept through the right heart into the lungs.
pulmonary veins The vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the lungs to the left atrium.
pulmonic valve The valve between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery.
pulsatile Characterized by rhythmic beating.
pulse The expansion and contraction of an arterial wall caused by ventricular systole and diastole.
pulse deficit The difference in heart rate between that measured by palpating the apex of the heart and that obtained by palpating a peripheral artery.
pulse pressure The difference between the systolic and diastolic blood pressures, indicative of stroke volume.
pulse rate The heart rate determined by counting the number of pulsations per minute palpated in any superficial artery.
pump failure An inability of the heart to maintain cardiac output, resulting in congestive heart failure and cardiogenic shock.
pupil The small opening in the center of the iris.
Purkinje network A system of fibers in the ventricles that conducts the excitation impulse from the bundle branches to the myocardium.
PVC An abbreviation for premature ventricular contraction.
PVR An abbreviation for peripheral vascular resistance.
P wave The first wave of the ECG complex, representing depolarization of the atria.
qd An abbreviation meaning "every day."
qh An abbreviation meaning "every hour."
q2h An abbreviation meaning "every two hours."
qld An abbreviation meaning "four times a day."
QRS complex Deflections of the ECG produced by ventricular depolarization.
Q T interval The period between the onset of the QRS complex and the end of the T wave, representing ventricular depolarization and repolarization.
quadrant A term used to designate one quarter of the abdomen.
quadriplegia Paralysis of both arms and legs.
quinidine A drug used to treat various atrial and ventricular dysrhythmias.
Q wave The first negative wave or deflection of the QRS complex not preceded by an R wave.
raccoon sign Also called "coon's eyes"; bilateral, symmetric, periorbital ecchymoses seen with some skull fractures.
radial Pertaining to the wrist.
radioactive Having the property of emitting ionizing radiation.
radius The bone on the thumb side of the forearm.
rales Abnormal breath sounds produced by flow of air through constricted, edematous, or fluid filled small airways.
rape Sexual intercourse that is inflicted forcibly on another person, against that person's will.
receptor A specialized area in a tissue that initiates certain actions upon specific stimulation.
rectum The distal portion of the large intestine.
recumbent Lying down.
red blood cell Erythrocyte; a cell that carries oxygen.
reduce To restore a part to its normal position, as a fractured bone.
reflex An involuntary muscular action in response to some stimulation.
regression In psychiatry, a return to an earlier or former state.
regurgitation A passive, retrograde flow of gastric contents from the stomach into the pharynx and mouth (to be distinguished from the active process of vomiting).
relative refractory period The stage of ventricular diastole during which the cardiac muscle is recharging (repolarizing) to a resting state following depolarization. During this phase of the refractory period, the heart can be stimulated to contract prematurely.
renal Pertaining to the kidney.
repeater A miniature transmitter that picks up a radio signal and rebroadcasts it, thus extending the range of a radio communications system.
repolarization The electric process of recharging depolarized muscle fibers back to the resting state.
respiration The act of breathing; the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide among the tissues, lungs, and atmosphere.
respiratory arrest Cessation of breathing.
respiratory failure Failure of the respiratory system to maintain an arterial PO2 greater than 60 torr and PCO2 less than 50 torr.
resting potential The electric charge of the muscle fibers during the resting, polarized state.
resuscitation The act of reviving an unconscious person by any means.
retention An inability to void.
retina The lining of the back of the eye that receives visual images and transmits then through the optic nerve to the brain.
retractions Drawing in of the intercostal muscles and the muscles above the clavicles in respiratory distress.
retro A prefix meaning "located behind."
retroperitoneum The area behind the peritoneum, containing the kidneys.
retrosternal Situated or occuring behind the sternum.
Rh factor An antigen present on the red blood cells of some individuals. When Rh factor is present, the individual is said to be Rh positive; when Rh factor is absent, the individual is Rh negative.
rhonchi Coarse, rattling sounds somewhat like snoring, usually caused by secretions in the bronchial tubes.
rib One of the 12 bones forming the thoracic cavity wall.
rib cage The supporting structure of the chest.
right atrium The upper right chamber of the heart, which receives blood from the venae cavae and supplies blood to the right ventricle.
right heart failure An inability of the right ventricle to pump blood forward effectively, causing a backup of blood into the systemic veins, with consequent edema of body tissues.
right ventricle The lower right chamber of the heart, which receives blood from the right atrium and pumps blood out through the pulmonic valve into the pulmonary arteries.
Ringer's solution A sterile intravenous solution containing sodium, potassium, calcium, and chloride ions in concentrations similar to those present in blood. It is useful for replacing fluid losses, as in dehydration.
risk factor A factor that leads to and perpetuates a disease process.
R on T pattern A dangerous kind of PVC that is seen on the ECG to fall on the T wave of the preceding QRS T complex, representing the occurrence of an extrasystole during the vulnerable period of ventricular repolarization and often triggering ventricular tachycar
R R interval The period of time between the onset of one QRS complex and the onset of the succeeding QRS complex.
R wave The positive wave or deflection in the QRS complex.
Rx An abbreviation meaning "prescription."
s An abbreviation meaning "without."
sacral Pertaining to the sacrum, part of the lower spine.
sacroiliac joint The point of attachment of the ilium to the sacrum.
sacrum A part of the lower spine formed by five fused vertebrae.
saddle joint A joint formed where a portion of one bone hangs over another, as in the thumb.
salicylate The class of drugs that includes aspirin.
saline A solution containing salt.
salivary glands The glands that produce and secrete saliva, connected to the mouth through ducts.
SA node An abbreviation for sinoatrial node.
scalp vein set An intravenous needle with butterfly "wings."
scapula The shoulder blade.
sclera Tough, white covering of the eyeball.
sebaceous gland A gland in the dermis that secretes an oily substance known as sebum.
secondary pacemaker A pacemaker site or ectopic focus in the electric conduction system of the heart other than the SA node.
sedative A drug that depresses the activity of the central nervous system, thus having a calming effect, e.g., barbiturates, chloral hydrate.
seizure An attack of epilepsy; a convulsion.
semicircular canals Small structures in the inner ear that maintain one's equilibrium.
seminal duct The duct through which sperm pass into the seminal vesicles.
sensory nerves Nerves that send messages of various sense modalities (e.g., temperature, pain, touch, taste) through the spinal cord to the brain.
sepsis Generalized body poisoning by the products of bacteria.
septic shock Shock resulting from severe bacterial infection.
septum A dividing wall or partition, usually separating two cavities.
sequelae The aftereffects of a disease or injury.
serum The liquid portion of clotted blood.
shock A state of inadequate tissue perfusion, which may be caused by pump failure (cardiogenic shock), volume loss (hypovolemic shock), vasodilatation (neurogenic shock), or any combination of these.
shunt The situation in which a portion of the output of the right heart reaches the left heart without being oxygenated in the lungs. It may be caused by atelectasis, pulmonary edema, or a variety of other factors.
sickle cell anemia A hereditary, genetically determined, hemolytic anemia occurring in the Black population, characterized by arthralgias, acute attacks of abdominal pain, and recurrent embolic episodes.
SIDS An abbreviation for sudden infant death syndrome.
sigmoid The S shaped, terminal portion of the descending colon.
sign Bodily evidence of disease found on physical examination; an indication of illness or injury that the examiner OBSERVES.
silent acute myocardial infarction Painless myocardial infarction, occurring in 10 to 20 percent of patients with AMI, especially the elderly.
simplex A method of radio communication utilizing a single frequency that enables either transmission or reception of either voice or an ECG signal but is incapable of simultaneous transmission and reception.
sinoatrial node (SA node) The dominant pacemaker of the heart, located at the junction of the superior vena cava and the right atrium.
sinus arrhythmia A slight irregularity of the heart rate caused by changes in parasympathetic tone during breathing.
sinus bradycardia Sinus rhythm with a rate less than 60 per minute.
sinus tachycardia Sinus rhythm with a rate greater than 100 per minute.
skeleton The hard, bony structure that forms the main scaffolding of the body.
skull The bony structure surrounding the brain; cranium.
SL An abbreviation for sublingual.
sling A triangular bandage applied around the neck to immobilize an arm.
small intestine The portion of the intestine between the stomach and the colon.
sniffing position The position of a patient for endotracheal intubation, with the neck flexed and the head extended.
snoring Noise made on inhalation when the upper airway is partially obstructed by the tongue.
socket A hollow in a bone into which a rounded part fits.
sodium The major cation of the extracellular fluid.
sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) A chemical buffer used to increase pH when acidosis is present.
solution A liquid consisting of a mixture of two or more substances that are molecularly dispersed through one another in a homogeneous manner.
soporific A drug that produces deep sleep.
spasm A sudden, involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles; a sudden but transitory constriction of a passage, canal, or orifice, as in laryngospasm.
sphincter A circularly arranged muscle that acts as a valve to control the retention or release of fluids or semisolid materials in the body.
sphygmomanometer A device for measuring blood pressure.
spinal canal The area filled with spinal fluid immediately surrounding the spinal cord.
spinal cord The collection of nerve tracts extending from the brain down the foramen of the vertebral column.
spirits Preparations of volatile substancesdissolved in alcohol, e.g., spirits of ammonia.
spleen The organ located in the left upper quadrant of the abdomen that destroys old red blood cells.
splenomegaly An enlarged spleen.
splint Any device used to immobilize a part of the body.
spontaneous pneumothorax A rupture of the lung parenchyma without trauma, leading to the accumulation of air in the pleural space.
sprain Trauma to a joint that causes injury to the ligaments.
SQ An abbreviation meaning subcutaneous.
squelch To eliminate unwanted noise on a radio frequency.
stasis The slowing down or cessation of blood flow to an area.
stat An abbreviation meaning "immediately."
status asthmaticus A severe, prolonged asthmatic attack that cannot be broken with epinephrine.
status epilepticus The occurrence of two or more seizures without a period of complete consciousness between them.
stenosis Narrowing or stricture of a hollow tube.
sterile Free from living organisms such as bacteria.
sternocleidomastoid muscle The large muscle that is easily felt at the side of the neck.
sternum The long, flat bone located in the midline in the anterior part of the thoracic cage.
stethoscope An instrument for performing auscultation.
stimulant An agent that increases the level of bodily activity.
stoma A small opening, especially an artificially created opening, such as that made by tracheostomy.
stomach The hollow digestive organ in the epigastrium that receives food material from the esophagus.
strain An overstretching of a muscle; a soft tissue injury involving a muscle.
stricture Narrowing of a duct or any natural passage by an inflammatory process.
stridor A harsh, high pitched respiratory sound associated with severe upper airway obstruction, such as laryngeal edema.
stroke Cerebrovascular accident.
stroke volume The amount of blood pumped forward with each ventricular contraction.
S T segment The interval between the end of the QRS complex and the beginning of the T wave. It is often elevated or depressed with respect to the isoelectric line when there is significant myocardial ischemia.
stupor A state of reduced sensibilities; mental confusion.
subclavian vein A large vein located beneath the clavicle, joining the internal jugular vein.
Subcutaneous (SQ) Beneath the skin.
subcutaneous emphysema A condition in which trauma to the lung or airway results in the escape of air into tissues of the body, especially the chest wall, neck, and face, causing a crackling sensation on palpation of the skin.
subdural Occuring beneath the dura, i.e., beneath the heavy, sheathlike covering of the brain. The term is often used in connection with the subdural hematoma following trauma to the head.
sublingual (SL) Under the tongue.
substernal Under the sternum; retrosternal.
sucking chest wound Open pneumothorax.
sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) Crib death; the death of an infant after the first few weeks of life, the cause of which cannot be established by careful autopsy.
suicide The taking of one's own life.
sunstroke A form of heat stroke caused by prolonged sun exposure.
superficial On the surface; the opposite of deep.
superior An anatomic term referring to an organ or part that is located above another organ or part of the body.
superior vena cava A major vein that empties venous blood from the upper extremities, head, and neck into the right atrium.
supinate To turn the forearm so that the palm faces upward.
supine Lying flat with the face upward.
suppository A drug mixed in a firm base that melts at room temperature, shaped to fit various body orifices.
supraventricular dysrhythmia A dysrhythmia arising from any portion of the electric conduction system above the ventricles.
supraventricular tachycardia A tachyarrhythmia arising from above the ventricles.
suspension A preparation of a pulverized drug in liquid. It requires thorough shaking before use.
suture A type of joint in which the articulating surfaces are united, as in the skull; a type of special thread used in closing a wound.
swath A cravat tied around the body to enhance immobilization of a part.
S wave The first downward deflection of the QRS complex that is preceded by an R wave.
sweat gland A gland that secretes water and electrolytes through the skin.
sympathetic nervous system A subdivision of the autonomic nervous system that governs the body's "fight flight" reactions, stimulating cardiac activity.
sympathomimetic Producing effects similar to those engendered by stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system, hence an alpha or beta sympathetic drug.
symphysis pubis The midline articulation of the pubic bones.
symptom An abnormal feeling of distress and/or awareness of disturbance of bodily function experienced by a patient. Symptoms are elicited in the history.
syncope Fainting; a brief loss of consciousness caused by transiently inadequate blood flow to the brain.
syndrome A complex of symptoms or signs characteristic of a condition.
synergism The combined effect of two or more drugs such that their action in combination is greater than the sum of their individual actions.
syrup A drug suspended in sugar and water to improve its taste.
syrup of ipecac Drug used to induce vomiting.
systemic Referring to anything that affects the body as a whole.
systemic circulation The flow of blood from the left ventricle through the aorta, to all of its branches and capillaries in the tissues, and thence back to the right atrium through the venules, veins, and venae cave; also called the greater circulation.
systole The period during which the ventricles contract.
systolic blood pressure The peak pressure exerted by the blood on the arterial walls during ventricular contraction.
tablet A powdered drug that has been molded or compressed into a small disc.
tachyarrhythmia A rapid dysrhythmia (heart rate over 120 140/min).
tachycardia A rapid heart rate, over 100 per minute.
tachypnea An excessively rapid rate of breathing (over 25/min in adults).
tamponade (cardiac) Acute compression of the heart caused by accumulation of fluid or blood in the pericardium.
tarsal Pertaining to the ankle.
TBW An abbreviation for total body water.
telemetry A process of communicating physiologic data, such as the ECG, over long distances by radio or telephone.
temple The region on each side of the head above and anterior to the ears.
temporal The region of the temples.
temporal lobe A brain lobe containing the control centers for speech.
temporomandibular joint The articulation of the mandible with the skull.
tendon The fibrous portion of muscle that attaches to bone.
tension pneumothorax The situation in which air enters the pleural space through a one way valve defect in the lung, causing progressive increase in intrapleural pressure, with lung collapse and impairment of circulation
testes The male gonads, which are normally situated in the scrota and which produce sperm.
tetanus An acute, infectious disease caused by a bacterial toxin, with spasm of the jaw muscles causing trismus (lockjaw) and of the back muscles causing opisthotonos.
tetany Sustained contraction of a muscle group.
therapeutic action A beneficial action of a drug to correct a bodily dysfunction.
thermal Pertaining to heat.
thoracic Pertaining to the chest.
thorax The part of the body between the neck and the diaphragm, encased by the ribs.
thready Describing a pulse that is weak or feeble.
thrombocyte A platelet; a cellular element of the blood involved in clotting.
thrombophlebitis A condition in which inflammation of a vein leads to the formation of a plug (thrombus) in the vein.
thrombosis The formation of a blood clot or thrombus.
thrombus A fixed blood clot that forms inside a blood vessel.
thyroid A gland located in the neck that produces hormones involved in the regulation of metabolism.
TIA An abbreviation for transient ischemic attack.
tibia The shin bone, located in the front part of the lower leg.
tic A spasmodic twitching of a facial muscle.
tid An abbreviation meaning "three times a day."
tidal volume The amount of air inhaled or exhaled during normal, quiet breathing; the volume of one breath.
tincture A dilute, alcoholic extract of a drug, e.g., tincture of iodine.
tinnitus A ringing or tinkling noise, or sometimes a buzzing or roaring noise, in the ears.
tissue A collection of cells of similar type that are specialized for performance of a particular function.
titration In pharmacologic treatment, the method of administering a drug dose in very small increments at a time while carefully gauging the effect of each increment.
tolerance The progressive diminution of susceptibility to the effects of a drug after repeated doses.
tonic clonic Referring to the repetitive contraction and relaxation of muscle groups in a seizure.
total body water (TBW) The total fluid content of the body, equivalent to about 60 percent of body weight in the adult male.
tourniquet A constricting device used circumferentially around an extremity to impede venous outflow or obstruct arterial inflow.
toxemia A generalized poisoning of the system caused by absorption of bacterial products.
toxemia of pregnancy Eclampsia.
toxic Pertaining to a poison; harmful.
toxin A poison manufactured by bacteria or other forms of animal or vegetable life.
toxoid A chemically modified toxin that, when injected, stimulates the development of immunity against a specific disease but that is not itself harmful, e.g., tetanus toxoid.
trachea The cartilaginous tube extending from the larynx to its division into the main bronchi; the windpipe.
tracheostomy A surgical opening of the trachea to create an airway.
traction Pulling or exerting force to straighten the alignment of a part of the body.
trade name The name under which a drug is marketed by a given manufacturer.
transfusion An infusion of blood into a vein.
transfusion reaction An adverse response to receiving blood or blood products.
transient ischemic attack (TIA) A "little stroke"; a temporary loss of function resulting from a transitory decrease in circulation to a part of the brain. A TIA may warn of an impending stroke.
trauma Injury.
traumatic asphyxia A syndrome resulting from a very severe compression injury of the chest, with cyanosis of the face and neck, bulging of the eyes, and caved in chest.
tremor An involuntary twitching of an extremity.
Trendelenburg position The position in which a patient is placed on his back with legs raised and head lowered; also called shock position.
triage A system used for categorizing and sorting patients according to the severity of their problems.
tricuspid valve The valve between the right atrium and right ventricle.
trimester Period of three months.
trismus A spasm of the jaw muscles causing the teeth to be clenched shut, characteristic of tetanus.
T wave An upright, flat, or inverted wave following the QRS complex of the ECG, representing ventricular repolarization.
UHF Ultrahigh frequency; the portion of the radio frequency spectrum between 300 and 3,000 mHz.
ulcer An open lesion of the skin or mucous membrane.
ulna The larger bone of the forearm, on the side opposite that of the thumb.
umbilical cord A flexible structure connecting the fetus to the placenta.
umbilicus The navel; the "bellybutton."
unconscious A state of being insensible or comatose.
unifocal Arising from a single site.
uremia A toxic condition caused by the inability of the kidneys to remove waste products of metabolism.
ureter The tube leading from the kidney to the bladder.
urethra The tube leading from the bladder to the outside of the body.
URI An abbreviation for upper respiratory infection.
urine The fluid secreted by the kidneys, stored in the bladder, and discharged through the urethra.
urticaria Hives.
uterus The muscular organ lying in the female pelvis that houses the developing fetus; the womb.
uvula A small, dangling protrusion attached to the soft palate in the midline.
vagal activity Parasympathetic activity.
vagina The genital canal in the female extending from the uterus to the vulva; the birth canal.
vagus The tenth cranial nerve, chief mediator of the parasympathetic nervous system.
vallecula The groove between the base of the tongue and the epiglottis.
Valsalva maneuver A forced exhalation against a closed glottis, the effect of which is to stimulate the vagus nerve and thereby slow the heart rate.
vasoconstriction Narrowing of the diameter of a blood vessel.
vasoconstrictor A substance that causes narrowing of the diameter of blood vessels; an alpha sympathetic agent.
vasodilation Widening of the diameter of blood vessels.
vasodilator A substance that causes widening of the diameter of blood vessels.
vasopressor An agent that raises the blood pressure by causing vasoconstriction.
vasovagal Having vascular and vagal components; often used to refer to a syndrome consisting of precordial distress, anxiety, nausea, and sometimes syncope.
VD An abbreviation for venereal disease.
vein A blood vessel that carries blood to the heart.
venae cavae The largest veins of the body, which return blood to the right atrium.
venipuncture The puncture of a vein to obtain a blood sample or to introduce a catheter.
venom A poison, usually the poisonous substances derived from snakes, spiders, bees, wasps, and other such creatures.
venous blood Blood poor in oxygen, containing hemoglobin in the reduced state.
ventilation Breathing, moving air in and out of the lungs.
ventral Referring to the front of the body; anterior.
ventricle A thick walled, muscular chamber that receives blood from the atrium and pumps it into the pulmonary or systemic circulation.
ventricular aneurysm A localized bulge in the wall of the ventricle, often the late result of myocardial infarction.
ventricular arrhythmia A dysrhythmia arising in the His Purkinje system.
ventricular ectopic activity Initiation of electric impulses by a secondary pacemaker in the ventricles.
ventricular fibrillation Rapid, tremulous, and ineffectual contractions of the cardiac ventricles; cardiac arrest.
ventricular standstill Asystole.
ventricular tachycardia Rapid, repetitive firing of a ventricular ectopic focus; a life threatening dysrhythmia.
venule A very small vein.
vernix A white, cheesy substance covering the skin of the newborn.
vertebra One of the 33 bones of the spinal column.
vertebral Pertaining to the spinal column.
vertex The top of the head.
vertigo Dizziness; a hallucination of movement; a sensation that the external world is spinning around.
VHF Very high frequency; the portion of the radio frequency spectrum between 30 and 150 mHz.
viable Capable of living.
vial A glass container storing a sterile powdered or liquid drug for parenteral use, sealed with a rubber stopper, and often containing multiple doses.
visceral Pertaining to organs of the body.
visceral pleura The outer, membranous covering of the lungs.
vital capacity The volume of air that can be forcefully exhaled from the lungs following a full inhalation.
vital signs Measurements of body functions, including pulse, respirations, and blood pressure.
vitreous fluid A jellylike, transparent substance filling the inside of the eye.
vocal cords Paired structures in the larynx whose vibrations produce sound.
volar Pertaining to the palm side of the arm.
volume expander An intravenous fluid that stays in the vascular space, usually a colloid.
voluntary commitment A situation in which a patient signs himself into a psychiatric facility of his own free will.
voluntary muscles The muscles that function under the conscious control of the brain.
vomiting A forceful, active expulsion of stomach contents through the mouth (as opposed to regurgitation, which is passive).
vomitus The matter ejected from the stomach by vomiting.
vulnerable period An interval during the relative refractory period of the ventricular repolarization, corresponding to the upstroke of the T wave, in which an ectopic impulse or an unsynchronized current can produce ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation.
vulva The external parts of the female genitalia.
watt A unit of electric energy obtained by multiplying amperes times volts.
watt seconds Units of electric energy expressed as watts delivered for 1 second; joules.
wheeze A high pitched, whistling sound characterizing obstruction or spasm of the lower airways.
white blood cell Leukocyte; the cellular element of the blood that produces antibodies and participates in the inflammatory response.
withdrawal Symptoms produced by abstinence from a drug to which one is addicted.
xiphoid The small, cartilaginous, and bony portion of the sternum attached to the lower end of the body of the sternum.
Xylocaine A trade name for lidocaine.
zygoma The cheek bone.
Created by: andrew6620