EMERGENCY ROOM GLOSSARY
Last updated on 11 Feb. 2000
Back to "Doc Talk" page.
- The critical components of the initial evaluation of an accident
or trauma victim. They stand for:
- A = Airway with cervical spine control
- B = Breathing
- C = Circulation with control of bleeding
- To move a limb or some other body part away from the midline of the
- Arterial blood gas reading.
- Angiotension-converting enzyme.
- ACE Bandage:
- Trade name for an elastic bandage made of woven material.
- Abnormally high acidity of body fluids and tissues.
- Sudden, intense flare-up.
- A word used to describe a major negative change in a patient's
condition, usually preceding immediate death, such as a complete cessation of
breathing or a dire change in the patient's
EEG or EKG.
- Advanced Life Support.
- Alzheimer's Disease:
- A progressive disease with specific brain
abnormalities marked by memory loss and progressive inability to function
normally at even the simplest tasks.
- Against medical advice or American Medical
- Proprietary name for a Bag-Valve Mask.
- Abbreviation for Ampule, which is a sealed plastic or
glass capsule containing a single dose of a drug in a sterile solution
- Anaphylactic Shock:
- An extreme allergic reaction that usually involves
heart failure, circulatory collapse, a severe asthma-like
difficulty in breathing and sometimes results in death.
- Chronically low hematocrit.
- a balloonlike swelling in the wall of an artery.
- Angina Pectoris:
- A severe acute attack of cardiac pain.
- Plastic surgery of blood vessels during which a balloon is
passed into the artery and inflated to enlarge it and increase
- The abnormal absence of sweat.
- Word used to describe the front surface of an organ, muscle, etc.
- Aortic Calcification:
- Hardening of the aorta, the main artery coming out of the left
ventricle of the heart, usually from cholesterol deposits or some
other organic substance.
- Aortic Coarctation:
- A dangerous narrowing of the aorta.
- Aortic Dissection:
- A tear in the aorta.
- Apgar Score:
- Test administered to newborn infants to evaluate their physical
For more information, click HERE.
- Aortic Rupture:
- When the aorta bursts.
- Arterial Stick:
- Insertion of an IV line into an artery.
- When the beat of the heart is no longer originating from
the sinus node, and the rhythm is abnormal.
- The abbreviation for Acetylsalicylic Acid (aspirin).
- Aspirate, Aspiration:
- To draw in or out using suction. The term can refer to inhaling
purposefully (such as breathing in oxygen or inhalants) or inhaling
accidentally (such as sucking food into the airway). May also refer to
medical interventions to remove harmful substances (such as air, body
fluids, or bone fragments) or to remove tissue samples for testing.
- A slowly growing tumor of the glial tissue of the brain
and the spinal cord.
- A condition in which the heart no longer beats and usually
cannot be restarted.
- Atypical angina:
- A form of angina pectoris
that does not manifest the typical angina symptoms of chest pain,
shortness of breath, etc, but which comes on suddenly and occurs
without a predisposing cause.
- Awake, Alert and Oriented X3 Nonfocal:
- Medical shorthand indicating that a patient is in a cogent state
and aware of their surroundings. "Oriented x3" means the patient is
aware of person, place, and time (WHO they are, WHERE they are, and
WHAT TIME it is.)
Back to Top
- Babinski's Reflex:
- Also known as the plantar reflex; the movement of the big toe upward
instead of downward; used to test injury to, or diseases of, the upper
- [Slang] Manual respiration for a patient having breathing trouble
that uses a handheld squeeze bag attached to a face mask.
- Barlow's Syndrome:
- Infantile scurvy.
- Bilateral Hemothorax:
- Blood in both sides of the pleura, the membrane
covering the lung.
- "Binky(TM) Test"
- [Slang/Phrase] The ability of an infant to evidence basic stability
and an interest in "the important things in life" by placidly sucking
on a pacifier. [From an account by M. Borgeson, MD, of an infant whose
over-hasty intubation for mere tachypnea without respiratory distess
was averted by a nurse who placed a pacifier in the child's mouth,
thus demonstrating the "positive Binky(TM) Test," and
blocking an unnecessary procedure.] The term is a salutary reminder
to check the whole patient and not focus too narrowly upon a single
- Blood Culture:
- Incubating a blood sample so that suspected infectious
bacteria can multiply and thus be identified.
- Blood Gas:
- A test to determine the gas-phase components of blood,
including oxygen, carbon dioxide, pH balance, etc.
- Blood Pressure:
- A measure of how well blood circulates through
your arteries, listen in the format of the
systolic pressure over the
diastolic pressure. Normal
blood pressure is about 120/80.
- Blood Swab:
- A blood sample taken with a cotton-tipped stick.
- Basic Life Support.
- Body Packer:
- [Slang] A drug courier who swallows condoms filled with cocaine
or heroin in order to smuggle them into a country and then
passes them rectally after he's safe.
- A large dose of a drug that is given (usually intravenously) at
the beginning of treatment to raise blood-level concentrations to a
- [Slang] A patient who returns to the ER with the same complaint
shortly after being released.
- bowel disimpaction:
- Manual removal of impacted fecal matter from a patient's rectum.
- Abbreviation for blood pressure.
- A slowing of the heart rate to less than 50 beats per
- Breath Sounds:
- The sounds heard through a stethoscope placed on the
chest over the lungs.
- The use of an endoscope to examine
and take biopsies from the interior of the bronchia.
- Burn Surface Area. The total area (expressed
as a percentage) of the burned area on a patient's body.
- Abbreviation for Blood Urea Nitrogen.
Bag-Valve Mask / Resusitator
- A handheld squeeze bag, attached to a face mask, used to assist
in providing artificial ventilation of the lungs. see also
Back to Top
- Shorthand for cesarean section,
which is surgical delivery of a baby through the abdominal wall.
- Shorthand for cervical spine, or the neck.
- Calcium Oxalate Stone:
- A kidney stone.
- Calot's Triangle:
- The cystic duct, the common duct, and the liver.
- A cup-shaped part of the kidneys.
- Capillary Refill:
- When a fingernail is pressed, the nail bed turns white. Capillary
refill refers to the return of the nail bed to pink color. Good cap
refill is two seconds or less.
- A substance formed when the poisonous gas carbon
monoxide combines with hemoglobin in the blood. Carboxyhemoglobin is incapable
of transporting oxygen to the body's organs. Large amounts of this compound
are found in carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Cardiac Effusion:
- See pericardial effusion.
- Cardiac Enzymes:
- Creatine kinase, lactate dehydrogenase, and aspartate
- A disorder of the heart muscle that can often be fatal.
- Cardiac Tamponade:
- Compression of the heart from fluid such as an effusion or blood.
- CAT scan:
- Computerized axial tomography.
- Catcher's Mask:
- [Slang] A device used for a patient with bleeding varices in
the throat that allows a tube with two balloons attached to be positioned
securely in the throat and inflated. The balloons then put pressure on the
enlarged veins in order to stop the bleeding.
- A flexible tube for withdrawing fluids from,
or introducing fluids into, a cavity of the body. Frequently used to
drain the urinary bladder (Foley catheter).
- Abbreviation for Complete Blood Count, which is an all-purpose
blood test; combining diagnostic evaluations of red blood cell count, white
cell count, erythrocyte indices, hematocrit,
and a differential blood count.
- Abbreviation for Cubic Centimeters.
- A pouch at the junction of the large and small intestine. The
lower end bears the vermiform appendix.
- A skin infection.
- Central Line:
- The central location in the circulation of the vein
used, usually in the internal jugular and subclavian veins in the neck, or
the femoral veins in the groin. This has the benefit of being able to send
more fluid into the body.
- Cesarean Section:
- Surgical delivery of a baby through the abdominal wall.
- Champagne Tap:
- [Slang] A successful lumbar puncture
with no red blood cells found, which means it is as clean as possible.
So-called because the supervising resident has to, by
custom, buy the student a bottle champagne.
- Chem 7:
- A battery of blood chemistry tests; the seven parts of a Chem 7;
blood urea nitrogen (BUN), chloride, CO2, creatinine,
glucose, potassium, and sodium. Normal values for these components are:
7 to 20 mg/dl
101 to 111 mmol/L
20 to 29 mmol/L
.8 to 1.4 mg/dl
64 to 128 mg/dl
3.7 to 5.2 mEq/L
136 to 144 mEq/L
- Chest Film:
- A chest X-ray.
- Abbreviation for Congestive Heart Failure.
See pulmonary edema.
- Abbreviation for Cervical Immobilization Device.
- Limping caused by impaired blood supply to the legs.
- Coag Panel:
- A blood test used to determine the clotting factors of a
- Code Brown:
- [Slang] Term used when a patient doesn't make it to the bathroom
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.
Also known by the acronym COLD (Chronic Obstructive
Lung Disease). Disease process that casues decreased ability
of the lungs to perform their function of ventilation. Diseases that
can cause this are chronic bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema, chronic
asthma, and chronic bronchiolitis.
- Surgical severing of the nerves in the spinal cord to
relieve intractable pain in the pelvis and lower limbs.
- CardioPulmonary Resuscitation.
- [Slang] A person who passes out in the ER, often not a patient but
a family member who is upset over what's going on with a loved one.
- A procedure used to surgically establish an airway
in the patient's throat when intubation
isn't possibly because of swelling or bleeding.
- See cricothyroidotomy.
- Crispy Critter:
- [Slang] Irreverent ER term for a seriously burned patient.
- Short for hematocrit.
- Creatine Phosphokinase, an enzyme that elevates in the blood
when a heart attack occurs, used as a confirmation of a heart attack
and as a gauge of damage.
- CT scan:
- See CAT scan.
- Abbreviation for Cerebrovascular Accident, i.e. stroke.
- When a patient's skin and mucous membranes are bluish in
color from an inadequate supply of oxygen in the blood.
- Cystic Fibrosis:
- A lung disease that causes the production of thick
mucus in the lungs, hampering breathing.
Back to Top
- D5, D5W:
- The abbreviation for dextrose (glucose) given in a 5 percent normal
- ER abbreviation for a Dead Body.
- Dead Shovel:
- [Slang] ER term for a fat man who dies while shoveling snow.
- Debride, Debridement:
- Cleaning an open wound by removing foreign material and
dead tissue. Debridement of burns is extremely painful.
- The progressive loss of cerebral function; advanced decerebration
(and the resultant deep unconsciousness) occurs with severe damage to
the cerebrum, the largest part of the brain.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis:
- A blood clot in a deep vein.
- The cessation of fibrillation
of the cardiac muscle and restoration of a normal rhythm.
- Having an irrational belief that cannot be changed by a
rational argument, often found in schizophrenia and manic-depressive
- Diabetic Ketoacidosis:
- Depletion of the body's alkali reserves due to
diabetes, causing a major disruption in the body's acid-base balance. The
breath smells fruity and the patient is usually comatose.
- Determining what's wrong with a patient by using the
patient's symptoms, signs, test results, medical background, and other
- The procedure to filter blood for patients with kidney failure,
also used to remove absorbed toxins from overdosing and poisoning.
- Pressure during the relaxing of the heart.
- Abbreviation for Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (no blood
clotting). (In many hospitals, ER personnel also interpret DIC to mean "death
is coming" since disseminated intravascular coagulation usually means death
- Differential Diagnosis:
- Diagnosis made by ruling out many disorders.
The patient usually presents with symptoms that can be shared by many
conditions. For example, chest pain can be caused by many diseases or
conditions, and each one must be ruled out to arrive at the correct
- Double vision.
- Disaster Protocol Color Coding:
- The following color tags are used to immediately
triage patients during a mass casualty event:
Green is walking wounded; yellow is urgent; red is critical; black is
- Distal Pulse:
- The pulse farthest from the heart.
- The increased production of urine.
- Drug used to increased
- Inflammation of the colon.
- The abbreviation for Do Not Resuscitate, which is
requested or ordered for terminally ill or injured patients.
- Abbreviation for Dead On Arrival.
- A diphtheria tetanus pertussis toxoid injection.
- Shortness of breath.
- Difficult labor due to some fetal problem, such as dislocation
of the shoulders.
Back to Top
- Electrocardiogram. measures heart activity.
- A serious condition affecting pregnant women in which the
entire body is affected by convulsions and the patient eventually
passes into a coma.
- Ectopic pregnancy:
- The development of the fetus in the fallopian tube
instead of in the womb.
- Excessive accumulation of fluid.
- Electroencephalogram. measures brain activity.
- See ECG.
- Electrolyte analysis:
- Tests the basic chemicals in the body;
sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate.
- Surgical removal of an embolus.
- A blood clot.
- Abbreviation for Emergency Medical Service(s).
- Abbreviation for Emergency Medical Technician.
- Inflammation of cardiac tissue, usually caused by
- A long flexible tube with its own special lighting.
- Endotracheal (ET) Tube:
- A tube that serves as an artificial airway and is inserted through
the patient's mouth or nose. It passes through the throat and into the
air passages to help breathing. To do this it must also pass through
the patient's vocal cords. The patient will be unable to speak as long
as the endotracheal tube is in place. It is this tube that connects
the respirator to the patient.
- Abbreviation for
- The outer layer of the skin.
- An epidural block; an injection through a catheter of a local
anesthetic to relieve pain during labor, usually done at the lumbar
level of the spine.
- Inflammation of the epiglottis.
Back to Top
- Abbreviation for Fellow of the American College of Emergency
- Abbreviation for Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.
- Fetal Distress:
- A term used to describe a number of critical conditions
threatening the live delivery of a fetus.
- Abbreviation for Fetal Heart Tones.
- An uncoordinated, quivering of the heart muscle resulting
in a completely irregular pulse.
- First-degree burn:
- A burn affecting only the epidermis. The
color of the burn is red, capillary refill is present, the skin texture is
normal, and the burn heals in five to ten days with no scarring.
- An X-ray machine.
- Focused H and P:
- A history and physical examination. H and P is the
term used to describe an examination that results in a patient history and
makes an assessment of his or her condition. The patient is physically
examined and then talked to regarding his or her complaint and the doctor
then makes a probably diagnosis. Focused means do not examine a patient's
feet or do a rectal if they're complaining of a headache and double vision.
- Foley (Catheter):
- A thin, flexible, indwelling catheter, inserted through the urethra
into the urinary bladder for drainage of urine. The urine drains through
the tube and collects into an external plastic bag.
Back to Top
- Gastric Lavage:
- Irrigation of the stomach when poisoning or bleeding
is suspected, or to remove ingested toxins before they enter
the blood stream.
- See Glasgow coma scale.
- [Slang] An abbreviation for Grandpa's Got a Fever, which is
shorthand for a battery of tests performed when an elderly male presents
with a fever of unknown origin. The tests included in a GGF1 are
a CBC, Chem 7,
chest film, U/A,
and blood cultures times two.
- GI cocktail:
- A commonly used mixture of liquid donnatal (which stops
gastrointestinal spasms), viscous
and mylanta (which counteracts the stomach acid and soothes the stomach).
This concoction is often given to patients presenting with severe heartburn,
signs of an ulcer, or indications of an excess production of stomach acid.
- Intestinal infection with the giardia bacteria.
- Glasgow coma scale:
- This scale is used to quickly determine the status
and degree of injury of a trauma victim to the head.
For a more detailed description, click
- "Glove up and dig in":
- Coarse slang phrase. See
- Golden hour:
- [Slang] Also known as the golden window. When treating a patient
who has had a myocardial infarction, emergency
personnel must be extremely careful during the first hour. The ventricles
are very sensitive during this period and life threatening arrythmias
- [Slang] ER term for "Get Out of My Emergency Room" and is a
derogatory term for geriatric patients with multiple complicated
- [Slang] ER term for unconscious (as in "gorked patient"). Also used
as a noun, as in "I've got a gork in 2".
- Gram's stain:
- A stain test that identifies various forms of bacterial
- A tumor.
- Abbreviation for GunShot Wound.
- A test of stool with a gloved finger inserted looking for
Back to Top
- H and P:
- See also Focused H and P,
history and physical: the initial evaluation and examination of a
- Heart/Lung Bypass:
- Using a machine to breathe and circulate blood for
a patient for any number of clinical or surgical reasons, like to
also used to rewarm the blood of severely hypothermic patient.
- Heimlich Maneuver:
- A first-aid measure used to dislodge something
caught in a person's throat that is obstructing breathing.
- Maroon stools, usually from a lower GI bleed.
- The proportion, by volume, of red blood cells in a
- Paralysis or weakness on one side of the body.
- The dramatic and sudden loss of blood.
- Dialysis of the blood to remove foreign substances such
as poisons or drugs.
- Blood and air in the pleura. Also often
referred to as a Collapsed Lung.
- Hepatolenticular Degeneration:
- Excessive accumulation of copper in the kidney, liver, and brain,
which if untreated, is invariably fatal.
- Holosystolic Murmur:
- A heart murmur that begins with the heart sound S1 and occupying all
of the systole, then reaching S2. S1 and S2 refer to heart sounds
noted during palpation.
- Horner's Syndrome:
- The term used to describe the clinical profile of
myosis, ptosis, and anhidrosis, which usually follows
paralysis of the cervical sympathetic nerves on one side of the body.
- Overproduction of the adrenal hormone aldosterone, causing abnormalities
in the sodium, water, and potassium levels in the body.
- An abnormally high concentration of calcium in the blood.
- High values of glucose in the blood.
- Excessive fat in the blood.
- An abnormally high body temperature (fever).
- Low values of glucose in the blood.
- A lack of blood in the body.
- Abnormally low blood pressure.
- When the body temperature reaches significantly below
normal body temperatures (usually below 95 degrees).
- Subnormal activity of the thyroid gland.
- A decrease in the volume of circulating blood; also
referred to as being in shock.
- A severe deficiency of oxygen in the blood and tissues.
Back to Top
- Surgical removal of the small intestine.
- Abbreviation for IntraMuscular (pertaining to injections).
- An abnormal substance (eg. a cancer cell) in a tissue or
- Inside the brain.
- Insertion of an endotracheal tube to help an unconscious
- Abbreviation for IntraOsseous (pertaining to injections).
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
- A chronic and unpleasant gastrointestinal condition marked
by abdominal cramping, and diarrhea or constipation.
- When the heart is starving for oxygen.
- Abbreviation for IntraVenous, meaning through the vein.
- IV push, IVP:
- Injecting medication rapidly into a vein to hit the blood
system all at once.
Back to Top
- Jugular-Venous Distention.
Back to Top
- K-Y jelly. A widely used water-soluble lubricant.
- Kay ciel:
- A potassium supplement.
- Shorthand for kidney, ureter, and bladder tests.
Back to Top
- Abbreviation for laceration (pronounced "lack").
- Any surgery involving an incision in the abdominal wall.
- An instrument for examining the larynx, also to properly
visualize the vocal cords for endotracheal intubation.
- The "voice box".
- Abbreviation for liver function test.
- Breaking up the renal calculi (kidney stones) with sound
waves so they can be passed in the urine.
- Loss Of Consciousness.
- Abbreviation for Lactated
- Lumbar Puncture:
- The withdrawal of cerebrospinal fluid through a hollow needle inserted
into the lumbar region between the L4 and L5 vertebrae. Also referred to as
a spinal tap.
- Abbreviation for an Electrolyte Analysis
Back to Top
- Fetal weight of more than 4,000 grams.
- Multiple Casualty Incident.
- Short for medications, or drugs.
- When a person is bleeding from an ulcer, consisting of
black tarry stools indicative of upper GI bleeds.
- An inflammation of the meninges, the membranes surrounding
the brain and spinal cord.
- Metacarpal fracture:
- A fracture of one of the five bones that form that
part of the hand between the wrist and the fingers.
- Abbreviation for milligrams.
- Abbreviation for myocardial infarction.
- Abbreviation for magnetic resonance imaging. Imaging by computer
using a strong magnetic field and radio frequencies.
- Abbreviation used in ERs for a motor vehicle accident.
- Myocardial infarction:
- Condition caused by occlusion of one or more of the coronary arteries.
A heart attack.
- Excessive contraction of the pupil in the eye.
- Abbreviation for Morbidity/Mortality, is a conference held by
many departments on cases that either ended in death (where there was
an interesting diagnosis)--mortality, or someone with a good diagnosis -
morbidity. More malignant programs use it to embarrass residents and
their mistakes. If refreshments are served, often the nickname is
death and donuts (D&D).
Back to Top
- Nasogastric (NG) Tube:
- A tube that passes through the patient's nose and throat and ends in the
patient's stomach. This tube allows for direct "tube feeding" to maintain
the nutritional status of the patient or removal of stomach acids.
- Dead, as in "necrotic tissue".
- Needle cricothyroidotomy:
- See cricothyroidotomy.
- Abbreviation for the Neonatal Intensive
- Normal Sinus Rhythm:
- A normal heart rate, which is between 60 and 80
beats per minute in an adult.
- Nosocomial infections:
- Opportunistic infections contracted while in
the hospital, eg a urinary tract infection a patient develops from his
- Abbreviation for nothing by mouth (from the Latin Nil
- Abbreviation for Normal Saline solution.
- Abbreviation for a NonSteroid
(e.g. Motrin, Advil, etc).
Back to Top
- OverDose (drug).
- O neg:
- Type O, Rhesus negative blood; also called universal donor
blood since any human can receive O negative blood without
- Orbital fracture:
- A fracture of the bony socket that holds the
- Oriented X3:
- See "Awake, Alert and Oriented X3 Nonfocal".
- Bone cancer.
- Otitis media:
- An infection of the middle ear.
Back to Top
- This refers to blood pressure taken under emergency conditions
when listening for the systolic and
diastolic pressures with a stethoscope
is impossible. Taken by feeling (palpation) the
- Chronic or acute inflammation of the pancreas.
- Surgical removal of the pancreas.
- Edema of the optic disk, often indicative
of increased intracranial pressure.
- Partial or slight paralysis.
- Path Urine:
- Related to the foot.
- Perfed Appy:
- When an infected appendix bursts opens and spills into
- Pericardial Centesis:
- The draining of fluid from the
- Pericardial Effusion:
- Blood or fluid leaking into the pericardium.
- The sac that envelops the heart.
- Peritoneal Lavage:
- Irrigation of the peritoneum.
- A transparent membrane enclosing the abdominal cavity.
- Abbreviation for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.
- Placental Abruption:
- The placenta separates from the lining of the
womb too early, resulting in pain and bleeding.
- Components of blood designed to form clots and plug leaks
from bleeding arteries and veins.
- The lining around the lung.
- "By Mouth" (from the Latin Per Os). To administer orally.
- The oxygen tension in arterial blood.
- A mnemonic device used to quickly evaluate chest pain.
- P stands for "palliative and provoking": Does anything make the pain
better or worse?
- Q stands for "quality"; What, precisely does the pain feel like? Is
it stabbing and knife-like or dull and throbbing?
- R stands for "radiation": Does the pain radiate anywhere beyond the
chest, such as into the arm or jaw?
- S stands for "severity": On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being almost
no pain at all and 10 being the worst pain imaginable, what number does
the pain rank?
- T stands for "timing": What specifically, were you doing when the
pain began and how long have you had it?.
- The physical condition of pregnant woman prior to
eclampsia. Symptoms include blood
pressure greater than 140/90; persistent proteinuria
(protein in the urine); and edema.
- [Slang] Expression for a baby born before full term, usually
defined as a child born weighing less than five and a half pounds.
- Prothrombine time, a clotting factor test for blood.
- Paroxysmal SupraVentricular
Tachycardia. This heart condition usually affects young adults
and is characterized by a heartbeat that becomes very rapid and then
returns to normal after a few seconds or minutes.
- Partial prothrombine time, see PT.
- Drooping of the eyelid.
- Pulmonary Edema:
- Fluid in the lungs.
- Pulmonary Embolism:
- A blood clot in the lungs.
- Beating, as in a pulsatile mass.
- A pulsating artery that gives evidence that the heart is
beating, usually about 70 times per minute.
- pulse oximetry, a measure of the saturation of hemoglobin by
oxygen, or how well the person is breathing.
- Pulsus Paradoxus:
- A condition in which the pulse pressure
declines during respiratory inspiration.
- Premature cardiac ventricular contractions.
- An x-ray of the kidneys using an intravenously inserted dye.
Back to Top
- Every iteration, i.e. a med of Q5min would be every five minutes,
or Q6h is every 6 hours.
Back to Top
- Rape Kit:
- A package containing envelopes for the collection of hair,
sperm, and blood samples of a rape victims, as well as the
official reporting forms.
- Moving backward in the esophagus
- An x-ray of the kidneys.
- Breaths; the act of inhaling and exhaling.
- Behind the cecum.
Back to Top
- Saline Solution:
- A blood volume substitute made of salt and water,
a temporary substitute for lost blood.
- A mental disorder marked by hallucinations, delusions,
and disintegration of the thought processes.
- Scoop and Run:
- [Slang] A phrase used by EMTs and ER personnel for a situation where
no treatment is possible at an accident scene and all they can do it
"scoop" up the victims and "run" with them to the ER.
- Second-Degree Burn:
- There are two levels of second-degree burn: The first level is a
burn in which both the epidermis and the underlying dermis are damaged.
The color of the burn is red (and there may be blistering); capillary
refill is present; the skin texture is edematous (filled with fluid),
and the burn heals in 10 to 21 days with no or minimal scarring. The
second level is a damaging, deep partial-thickness burn that is pink or
white in color; capillary refill might or might not be present; the
skin texture is thick; and the burn heals in 25-60 days with a dense
- Sed Rate:
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate, a red blood count used to
determine inflammation and tissue destruction.
- A very severe infection.
- Serum Amylase Enzyme Test:
- A test for pancreatitis.
- A circulatory disturbance marked by a severe drop in blood
pressure, rapid pulse, clammy skin,
pallor, and a rapid heart rate.
- Spinal Tap:
- See lumbar puncture.
- A part of lymphatic system, helps filter blood of bacteria
- Surgical removal of the spleen.
- A slowing or stopping of blood flow.
- From the Latin statinum, meaning immediately.
- Abbreviation for Sexually Transmitted Disease.
- Surgical opening of the breast bone.
- Stomach Pumping:
- A large tube called an Ewald is inserted into the
stomach, sucks out the contents, then the stomach is flushed out with clear
water then charcoal and a cathartic (a fluid that passes through the bowel
- An enzyme that can break up and liquefy blood clots.
- What breathing sounds like when the larynx or trachea is
- Outside the brain.
- A medication that is taken by dissolving under the tongue.
- Pressure during the contraction of the heart.
- Systolic murmur:
- A cardiac murmur that occurs between the first and
second heart sounds.
Back to Top
- T3, T4, etc:
- Third thoracic vertebrae; fourth thoracic vertebrae, etc.
- An extremely rapid heart rate, usually signified by a
pulse over 100 beats per minute.
- Tension Pneumothorax:
- A collapsed lung.
- Tetralogy of Fallot:
- A surgically correctable congenital heart defect that consists of
pulmonary stenoisis. hypertrophy (enlargement), of the right ventricle,
a ventricular septal defect, and a shift of the aorta to the right.
- Third-Degree Burn:
- A burn that damages (or destroys) the full thickness of the skin
and the tissues underneath. The color of the burn is white, black, or
brown; capillary refill is absent; the skin texture is leathery; and
there is no spontaneous healing.
- Surgery on the thoracic (chest cavity).
- A vibration that a doctor or nurse can feel by touch, often used
to describe cardiac murmurs that can be felt through the chest wall.
- A blood clot.
- Torsades de Pointes:
- A type of polymorphic ventricular
in which the heart races at extremely high rates in an arrhythmia.
- Tox Screen:
- Toxicological analysis of the blood, ordered when a drug
overdose is suspected and the drugs need to be identified.
- Tracheal Shift:
- A physical shift of the windpipe due to trauma.
- A temporary surgical opening at the front
of the throat providing access to the trachea or windpipe to assist in
- Trauma Center:
- An emergency room with a trauma surgeon on duty.
- The system of prioritizing patients in an emergency situation
in which there are a great number of injured or ill.
- Type and Crossmatch:
- Blood typing to identify patient's blood type.
Back to Top
- Urinalysis, used to test for kidney failure, dehydration,
diabetes, undernourishment, or bladder or kidney infection.
- Ulcerative Colitis:
- An inflammatory and ulcerative condition of the
- A test similar to an x-ray, but which uses sound waves.
- Unstable Angina:
- angina pectoris in which the
cardiac pain has changed in pattern.
- Uric Acid:
- An acid formed in the breakdown of nucleoproteins in tissues; often
tested when gout is suspected since a high uric acid content in the
blood often causes gout symptoms and the formation of stones.
- Abbreviation for urinary tract infection.
Back to Top
- V/Q scan:
- A ventilation-perfusion scan, used to confirm a diagnosis
of pulmonary embolism.
- Valsalva Maneuver:
- When a patient is instructed to blow on his or her thumb to
maximize intrathoracic pressure. It is used when cardiac trouble
- The drawing of blood from a vein.
- Ventricular Septal Rupture:
- Rupture of the ventricular septum caused
by mechanical failure of infarcted cardiac tissue.
- Vitamin H:
- ER shorthand for haldol.
- Ventricular fibrillation.
- Ventricular tachycardia.
Back to Top
- Abbreviation for White Blood Cell count, used to determine
how many white blood cells there are in the body to defend against
- [Slang] An asthmatic patient, or any patient having difficulty
- Whipple Procedure:
- A pancreatotomy, where the distal
stomach, gallbladder, and duodenum are usually also taken out during the
surgery, and they usually leave a little of the distal pancreas behind.
Back to Top
Questions? Comments? Complaints? Suggestions. E-mail them to me at
Copyright © 1997