Medical Jargon

Jargon Booth

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 culturestimes 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)