Medical Jargon


abduction - to move a limb or some other body part away from the midline of the body
ABG - arterial blood gas reading
acetaminophen - a nonsalicylate analgesic-antipyretic (Tylenol)
ACE - angiotension-converting enzyme
ACLS - advanced cardiac life support; includes electricity (defibrillator) and drugs for life threatening arrhythmias
acidotic - abnormally high acidity of body fluids and tissues
acute - sudden, intense flare-up
adenosine - a drug used to help a patient with Supraventricular tachycardia convert to normal sinus rhythm
agonal - 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
albuterol - a bronchodilator used on asthma patients and patients having bronchial spasms to dilate the bronchia and improve breathing
ALOC - abbreviation for Acute Loss of Consciousness
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
AMA - against medical advice or American Medical Association
ambu-bag - handheld squeeze bag attached to a face mask. see also bagging
amitriptyline - a tricyclic antidepressant
amoxicillin - an antibiotic
amp - abbreviation for Ampule, which is a sealed plastic or glass capsule containing a single dose of a drug in a sterile solution for injection.
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.
ancef - a cephalosporin antibiotic
anemia - chronically low hematocrit
aneurysm - a balloonlike swelling in the wall of an artery
angina pectoris - a severe acute attack of cardiac pain
angioplasty - plastic surgery of blood vessels during which a balloon is passed into the artery and inflated to enlarge it and increase blood flow
anhidrosis - the abnormal absence of sweat
anterior - word used to describe the front surface of an organ, muscle, etc
antivert - a drug prescribed for nausea and dizziness
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
aortic rupture - when the aorta bursts
arterial stick - insertion of an IV line into an artery
arrhythmia - when the beat of the heart is no longer originating from the sinus node, and the rhythm is abnormal
ASA - the abbreviation for acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin)
astrocytoma - a slowly growing tumor of the glial tissue of the brain and the spinal cord
asystole - a condition in which the heart no longer beats and usually cannot be restarted
ativan - a minor tranquilizer drug (lorazepam) used for anxiety, tension, agitation, or fatigue
atropine - a drug to increase the heart rate
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
AZT - an antiviral drug (zidovudine) prescribed for the treatment of AIDS


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 motor neurons
bactrim - the trade name for cotrimoxazole and sulfamethoxizole, an antibacterial agent particularly useful for urinary infections
bagging - manual respiration for a patient having breathing trouble that uses a handheld squeeze bag attached to a face mask
Barlow's syndrome - infantile scurvy
Betadine - trade name for povidone-iodine, a preparation used as a surgical scrub that is available in liquid and aerosol forms
bilateral hemothorax - blood in both sides of the pleura, the membrane covering the lung
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
BLS - abbreviation for basic life support; includes CPR and removal of foreign body airway obstruction
body packer - 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
bolus - a large dose of a drug that is given (usually intravenously) at the beginning of treatment to raise blood-level concentrations to a therapeutic level
bounceback - 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
BP - abbreviation for blood pressure
bradycardic - a slowing of the heart rate to less than 50 beats per minute
breath sounds - the sounds heard through a stethoscope placed on the chest over the lungs
bronchoscopy - the use of an endoscope to examine and take biopsies from the interior of the bronchia
BUN - abbreviation for blood urea nitrogen


c-section - shorthand for cesarean section, which is surgical delivery of a baby through the abdominal wall
c-spine - 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
calyx - 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
capoten - see captopril captopril - an antihypertensive and ACE inhibitor prescribed for high blood failure and congestive heart failure. It is also sold under the trade name capoten (captopril is the drug's generic name)
carboxyhemoglobin - 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 transaminase
cardiomyopathy - 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 - 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
CBC - 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
cc - abbreviation for cubic centimeters
cecum - a pouch at the junction of the large and small intestine. The lower end bears the vermiform appendix
ceftriaxone - a cephalosporin antibiotic
cellulitis - 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
cephalosporin - an antibiotic
cesarean section - surgical delivery of a baby through the abdominal wall
champagne tap - 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; sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, and glucose
chest film - a chest X-ray
CHF - abbreviation for congestive heart failure, see pulmonary edema
claudication - limping caused by impaired blood supply to the legs
coag panel - a blood test used to determine the clotting factors of a patient's blood
code brown - term used when a patient doesn't make it to the bathroom in time
compazine - a drug (prochlorperazine) prescribed for severe nausea and vomiting and also for treatment of psychotic disorders and anxiety
cordotomy - surgical severing of the nerves in the spinal cord to relieve intractable pain in the pelvis and lower limbs
crasher - 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
cricothyroidotomy - a procedure used to surgically establish an airway in the patient's throat when intubation isn't possibly because of swelling or bleeding
cricothyrotomy - see cricothyroidotomy
crispy critter - irreverent ER slang for a seriously burned patient
crit - short for hematocrit
CPK - 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
CVA - abbreviation for cerebrovascular accident, ie stroke
cyanotic - 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


D5 - the abbreviation for dextrose (glucose) given in a 5 percent normal saline solution
Darvocet - a drug (propoxyphene hydrochloride) prescribed for pain
DB - ER abbreviation for a dead body
dead shovel - ER slang for a fat man who dies while shoveling snow
debridement - cleaning an open wound by removing foreign material and dead tissue. Debridement of burns is extremely painful
decerebration - 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
defibrillation - the cessation of fibrillation of the cardiac muscle and restoration of a normal rhythm
delusional - having an irrational belief that cannot be changed by a rational argument, often found in schizophrenia and manic-depressive psychosis
demerol - trade name for meperidine, a synthetic analgesic often used as a substitute for morphine
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.
diagnosis - determining what's wrong with a patient by using the patient's symptoms, signs, test results, medical background, and other factors
dialysis - the procedure to filter blood for patients with kidney failure, also used to remove absorbed toxins from overdosing and poisoning
diaphoresis - sweating
diastolic - pressure during the relaxing of the heart
DIC - 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 is imminent) 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 diagnosis
digitalis - a drug prescribed for congestive heart failure
dilantin - an anticonvulsant drug used to prevent seizures
diplopia - 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 DOA
distal pulse - the pulse farthest from the heart
diuresis - the increased production of urine
diuretic - drug used to increased diuresis, ie lasix
diverticulitis - inflammation of the colon
DNR - the abbreviation for do not resuscitate, which is requested or ordered for terminally ill patients
DOA - abbreviation for dead on arrival
dopamine - a catecholamine neurotransmitter, similar to adrenaline. It is used during surgery to increase cardiac output and renal blood flow
DTP - a diphtheria tetanus pertussis toxoid injection
dyspnea - shortness of breath
dystocia - difficult labor due to some fetal problem, such as dislocation of the shoulders


ECG - electrocardiogram. measures heart activity
EEG - electroencephalogram. measures brain activity
EKG - see ECG
eclampsia - 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
edema - excessive accumulation of fluid
elavil - trade name for amitriptyline
electrolyte analysis - tests the basic chemicals in the body; sodium, potassium, chloride, and bicarbonate
embolectomy - surgical removal of an embolus
embolus - a blood clot
EMS - abbreviation for emergency medical services. The term EMS is used in the American Heart Association protocols for BLS and ACLS
EMT - abbreviation for emergency medical technician
endocarditis - inflammation of cardiac tissue, usually caused by bacterial infection
endoscope - a long flexible tube with its own special lighting
epi - adrenaline, used to make heart beat faster and raise blood pressure
epidermis - the outer layer of the skin
epidural - 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
epiglottitis - inflammation of the epiglottis
epinephrine - adrenaline
esmolol - a beta-blocking drug
ETA - abbreviation for Estimated Time of Arrival


Feldene - a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (piroxicam) prescribed for arthritis and other forms of joint and bone inflammation
fentanyl - a short-acting morphine like narcotic analgesic of high poitency, often used in conjunction with other drugs. Fentanyl can enhance the effect of certain narcotics (including morphine)
fetal distress - a term used to describe a number of critical conditions threatening the live delivery of a fetus
FHT - abbreviation for fetal heart tones
fibrillation - 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
flexeril - a potent muscle relaxant
fluconazole - an antifungal drug used for infections of the mouth, blood, and throat. Fluconazole is often used by AIDS patients to combat oral thrush and other infections
fluoroscope - 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 - a foley (indwelling) catheter. This is a thin flexible tube inserted into the urethra in order to drain the bladder


gastric lavage - irrigation of the stomach when poisoning or bleeding is suspected, or to remove ingested toxins before they enter the blood stream
GCS - see Glasgow coma scale
gentamicin - an antibiotic
GGF1 - 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 lidocaine 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
giardiasis - 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
"Glove up and dig in" - see bowel disimpaction
golden hour - 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 can occur
gomer - ER slang for "Get Out of My Emergency Room" and is a derogatory term for geriatric patients with multiple complicated medical problems
gorked - ER slang 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 microorganisms
granuloma - a tumor
GSW - abbreviation for gunshot wound
guiac - a test of stool with a gloved finger inserted looking for blood


H and P - see also Focused H and P, history and physical: the initial evaluation and examination of a patient
haldol - a drug (haloperidol) used for psychotic disorders, Tourette's syndrome, and hyperactivity in children
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
Hematochezia - maroon stools, usually from a lower GI bleed
hematocrit - the proportion, by volume, of red blood cells in a CBC
hemiparesis - paralysis or weakness on one side of the body
hemorrhage - the dramatic and sudden loss of blood
hemoperfusion - dialysis of the blood to remove foreign substances such as poisons or drugs
hemopneumothorax - blood and air in the pleura. Also often referred to as a collapsed lung
heparin - a blood anticoagulant
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
hydralazine - a synthetic compound that lowers blood pressure
hyperaldosteronism - overproduction of the adrenal hormone aldosterone, causing abnormalities in the sodium, water, and potassium levels in the body
hypercalcemia - an abnormally high concentration of calcium in the blood
hyperglycemia - high values of glucose in the blood
hyperlipidemia - excessive fat in the blood
hypoglycemia - low values of glucose in the blood
hypohemia - a lack of blood in the body
hypotension - abnormally low blood pressure
hypothermia - when the body temperature reaches significantly below normal body temperatures (usually below 95 degrees)
hypothyroidism - subnormal activity of the thyroid gland
hypovolemia - a decrease in the volume of circulating blood; also referred to as being in shock
hypoxia - a severe deficiency of oxygen in the blood and tissues


ileectomy - surgical removal of the small intestine
IM - abbreviation for intramuscular (pertaining to injections)
infarction - an area of tissue dead due to a local lack of oxygen
infiltrate - an abnormal substance (eg. a cancer cell) in a tissue or organ
intracerebral - inside the brain
intubation - insertion of an endotracheal tube to help an unconscious patient breathe
irritable bowel syndrome - a chronic and unpleasant gastrointestinal condition marked by abdominal cramping, and diarrhea or constipation
ischemia - when the heart is starving for oxygen
Isordil - an antianginal agent
IV - abbreviation for intravenous, meaning through the vein
IV push - injecting medication rapidly into a vein to hit the blood system all at once


K-Y - K-Y jelly. A widely used water-soluble lubricant
KCl - (pronounced kay se-el) a potassium supplement, used to replace lost potassium in a patient
KUB - shorthand for kidney, ureter, and bladder tests


lac - abbreviation for laceration (pronounced "lack")
laparotomy - any surgery involving an incision in the abdominal wall
laryngoscope - an instrument for examining the larynx, also to properly visualize the vocal cords for endotracheal intubation
larynx - the "voice box"
lasix - a drug for diuresis, gets its name in that it usually lasts six hours
LFT - abbreviation for liver function test
LOL - abbreviation for "Little Old Lady"
lidocaine - a local anesthetic, also used to reduce cardiac muscle automaticity, given intravenously
lithium - a drug commonly used to treat manic-depressive illness
lithotripsy - breaking up the renal calculi (kidney stones) with sound waves so they can be passed in the urine
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
lytes - abbreviation for an electrolyte analysis (pronounced "lights")


macrodantin - an anti-infective antibiotic used to prevent and treat urinary tract infections
macrosomic - fetal weight of more than 4,000 grams
magnesium sulfate - epsom salts, a fast-acting laxative
mannitol - a natural sugar that acts as a diuretic, used in cases of drug overdoses and cerebral swelling
meds - short for medications, or drugs
melena - when a person is bleeding from an ulcer, consisting of black tarry stools indicative of upper GI bleeds
meningitis - an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord
meperedine - the chemical name for the narcotic painkiller demerol
metacarpal fracture - a fracture of one of the five bones that form that part of the hand between the wrist and the fingers
methylprednisolone - an anti-inflammatory steroid
mg - abbreviation for milligrams
MI - abbreviation for myocardial infarction
MRI - abbreviation for magnetic resonance imaging. Imaging by computer using a strong magnetic field and radio frequencies
MVA - abbreviation used in ERs for a motor vehicle accident
myocardial infarction - a heart attack
myosis - excessive contraction of the pupil in the eye
M&M - 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)


narcan - naloxone, a drug used to counteract drug overdoses
necrotic - dead, as in "necrotic tissue"
needle cricothyroidotomy - see cricothyroidotomy
NG tube - abbreviation for a nasogastric tube
NICU - abbreviation for the neonatal intensive care unit
nitro drip - an IV infusion of nitroglycerine
nitroglycerine - an antianginal agent
norcuron - vecuronium, a neuromuscular blocking agent used to paralyze for rapid-sequence intubation
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 foley catheter
NPO - abbreviation for nothing by mouth (from the Latin Nil peros)
NS - abbreviation for normal saline solution
NSAID - abbreviation for a nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drug (eg Motrin, Advil, etc)


O neg - type O, Rhesus negative blood; also called universal donor blood since any human can receive O negative blood without complication
orbital fracture - a fracture of the bony socket that holds the eyeball
osteosarcoma - bone cancer
otitis media - an infection of the middle ear


palp - 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 pulse
pancreatitis - chronic or acute inflammation of the pancreas
pancreatotomy - surgical removal of the pancreas
papilledema - edema of the optic disk, often indicative of increased intracranial pressure
paresis - partial or slight paralysis
path urine - urinalysis
pavulon - trade name for the muscle relaxant pancuronium bromide. Pavulon produces complete paralysis, but with no alteration of consciousness
PCP - Phencyclidine, a veterinary anesthetic that causes euphoria and hallucinations in humans
pedal - related to the foot
perfed appy - when an infected appendix bursts opens and spills into the gut
pericardial centesis - the draining of fluid from the pericardium
pericardial effusion - blood or fluid leaking into the pericardium
pericardium - the sac that envelops the heart
peritoneal lavage - irrigation of the peritoneum
peritoneum - a transparent membrane enclosing the abdominal cavity
PID - abbreviation for pelvic inflammatory disease
pitocin - synthetic oxytocin, a pituitary hormone that causes uterine contractions and is often used to induce labor
placental abruption - the placenta separates from the lining of the womb too early, resulting in pain and bleeding
platelets - components of blood designed to form clots and plug leaks from bleeding arteries and veins
pleura - the lining around the lung
PO2 - the oxygen tension in arterial blood
PQRST - 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?
preeclampsia - 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
preemie - slang expression for a baby born before full term, usually defined as a child born weighing less than five and a half pounds
procardia - a calcium channel blocker prescribed for Raynaud's phenomena and high blood pressure
Prolixin - a drug (fluphenazine hydrochloride) used for psychotic disorders, moderate to severe depression, control of agitation, intractable pain, senility, and alcohol withdrawal symptoms
PT - prothrombine time, a clotting factor test for blood
PTT - partial prothrombine time, see PT
ptosis - drooping of the eyelid
pulmonary edema - fluid in the lungs
pulmonary embolism - a blood clot in the lungs
pulsatile - beating, as in a pulsatile mass
pulse - a pulsating artery that gives evidence that the heart is beating, usually about 70 times per minute
puls/ox - 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
PVCs - premature cardiac ventricular contractions
pyelogram - an x-ray of the kidneys using an intravenously inserted dye


q - every iteration, ie a med of Q5min would be every five minutes, or Q6h is every 6 hours


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
rapid infuser - a device that transports blood into the system at a fast rate to help prevent hypohemia
reflux - moving backward in the esophagus
renogram - an x-ray of the kidneys
respirations - breaths; the act of inhaling and exhaling
retrocecal - behind the cecum
rifampin - an antibiotic used to treat meningitis, tuberculosis, Legionnaire's disease, leprosy, and staph infections
rifabutin - a drug used to help prevent mycobacterium avium complex disease in patients with HIV infections
Ringer's solution - an intravenous solution consisting of salt, potassium, and calcium boiled in water used to treat dehydration


saline solution - a blood volume substitute made of salt and water, a temporary substitute for lost blood
schizophrenia - a mental disorder marked by hallucinations, delusions, and disintegration of the thought processes
scoop and run - a term 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 scar
sed rate - erythrocyte sedimentation rate, a red blood count used to determine inflammation and tissue destruction
sepsis - a very severe infection
serum amylase enzyme test - a test for pancreatitis
shock - a circulatory disturbance marked by a severe drop in blood pressure, rapid pulse, clammy skin, pallor, and a rapid heart rate
solu-medrol - methylprednisolone, a form or prednisone, an adrenal corticosteroid, a powerful steroid
spinal tap - see lumbar puncture
spleen - a part of lymphatic system, helps filter blood of bacteria and impurities
splenectomy - surgical removal of the spleen
stasis - a slowing or stopping of blood flow
stat - from the Latin statinum, meaning immediately
STD - abbreviation for sexually transmitted disease
sternotomy - 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 quickly)
streptokinase - an enzyme that can break up and liquefy blood clots
stridor - what breathing sounds like when the larynx or trachea is obstructed
subdural - outside the brain
sublingual - a medication that is taken by dissolving under the tongue
succinylcholine - a short-acting muscle relaxant
systolic - pressure during the contraction of the heart systolic murmur - a cardiac murmur that occurs between the first and second heart sounds


T3, T4, etc - Third thoracic vertebrae; fourth thoracic vertebrae, etc
tachycardia - an extremely rapid heart rate, usually signified by a pulse over 100 beats per minute
tamoxifen - the chemotherapy drug of choice for postmenopausal metastatic breast cancer
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
thoracotomy - surgery on the thoracic (chest cavity)
thorazine - a multipurpose drug (chlorpromazine) that works as a sedative, an antiemetic, an antispasmodic, and a hypotensive. It is often used in the management of psychiatric and senile patients
thrill - 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
thrombosis - a blood clot
tib-fib fracture - fracture of the tibia & fibula in part of the leg below the knee
timoptic - a drug prescribed for high blood pressure and to reduce the possibility of another heart attack
toradol - ketorolac, an injectable nonsteroid antiinflammatory agent often used as a substitute for morphine in intoxicated patients or for those patients suspected of seeking narcotics
torsades de pointes - a type of polymorphic ventricular tachycardia 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
tPA - the abbreviation for tissue plasminogen activator, a drug used as an alternative to angioplasty to break up blood clots during a heart attack
tracheal shift - a physical shift of the windpipe due to trauma
trauma center - an emergency room with a trauma surgeon on duty
triage - 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


U/A - urinalysis, used to test for kidney failure, dehydration, diabetes, undernourishment, or bladder or kidney infection
ulcerative colitis - an inflammatory and ulcerative condition of the colon
ultrasound - 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
UTI - abbreviation for urinary tract infection


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 is suspected
vecuronium - see norcuron
venipuncture - the drawing of blood from a vein
ventricular septal rupture - rupture of the ventricular septum caused by mechanical failure of infarcted cardiac tissue
verapamil - a calcium channel blocker prescribed for angina pectoris, high blood pressure, and supraventricular tachycardia
versed - a benzodiazepine muscle relaxant used to sedate, often in conjunction with the paralyzing agent pavulon
vitamin H - ER shorthand for haldol
V-fib - ventricular fibrillation
V-tach - ventricular tachycardia


WBC - abbreviation for white blood cell count, used to determine how many white blood cells there are in the body to defend against bacteria
wheezer - an asthmatic patient, or any patient having difficulty breathing
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.

From "Medspeak: the language of ER"

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