Medical Jargon

Jargon Booth


Abduction – to move a limb or some other body part away from the midline of the bodymadi2
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 neuronsmadi3
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