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«GLOSSARY OF MEDICAL TERMS Abdomen The cavity of the body which extends from the diaphragm at the base of the thorax to the floor of the pelvis. ...»

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Abdomen The cavity of the body which extends from the diaphragm at the base of the thorax to the floor of

the pelvis.

Abducent nerve The 6th cranial nerve which serves muscles of the eye.

Abduction Moving a limb outwards from the trunk.

Abductor A muscle which tends to pull a limb away from the middle line.

Ablation Cutting away tissue or abnormal growth.

Abortion Premature or untimely expulsion of the fetus.

Abrasion A portion of a surface from which the skin has been removed by rubbing.

Abscess A collection of pus.

Accessory nerve The 11th cranial nerve which serves the neck muscles.

Accommodation Adjustments of the eye to provide clear and distinct pictures of objects at various distances.

Acetabulum A socket on the lower part of the pelvic bone in which the head of the hipbone is situated.

Achilles tendon The tendon which connects the calf muscles to the heelbone.

Acidosis A condition in which the acidity of body fluids and tissues is abnormally high Acrocyanosis Slow blood circulation causing bluish discolouration of hands and feet.

Acromioclavicular joint The joint between the clavicle and the acromion.

Acromion The outer end of the shoulder blade.

Acroparaesthesia A tingling sensation in hands and feet.

Acuity Sharpness or clearness of vision.

Acute Severe symptoms which are relatively brief in duration.

Acute–on-chronic A flare up of a pre-existing condition which settles after treatment although the chronic condition remains.

Addison’s disease Caused by underactivity of the adrenal glands resulting in extreme weakness.

Adduction The bringing of a limb towards the trunk.

Adductors Any muscle which draws a part towards the medial line.

Adenitis Inflammation of a gland.

Adenocarcinoma Amalignant tumour originating in a gland.

Adenoidectomy An operation to remove adenoids.

Adenoids A mass of tissue located at the back of the mouth.

Adenoma A benign tumour or swelling of the glandular tissue.

Adenopathy Adiseased gland.

Adhesion The union of normally separate parts of new tissue produced as a result of inflammation.

Adnerval Near a nerve.

Adrenal glands The glands of the endocrine system which are located above the kidneys.

Adventitia Loose tissue on the outer surface of a blood vessel.

Aerobic Any organism which requires oxygen in order to live.


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Amniocentesis The puncture of the amniotic sac to drain or sample amniotic fluid.

Amniotic fluid The fluid contained within the amniotic sac.

Amniotic sac The pouch containing the embrionic fetus.

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Angiocardiogram A series of X-ray films of the heart after the intravenous injection of a radio-opaque substance.

Angiogram A series of X-ray films taken after a radio-opaque substance is introduced into the blood vessels.

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Anteroposterior Extending from the front to the back.

Antibiotic A chemical substance capable of destroying micro-organisms (including bacteria).

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Antigen A substance that stimulates the production of antibodies.

Antipyretic Fever reducing drug.

Antrectomy An operation to remove part of the stomach.

Anuria Failure of secretion of urine (a symptom of kidney failure).

Anus The excretory opening at the end of the alimentary canal situated in the perineum.

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Apgar score A system for rating an infant's physical condition immediately after birth by assessing heart rate, colour, respiration and muscle tone. 10 = Excellent. 0 = Dead.

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Apraxia A failure of the brain resulting in loss of memory of how to make certain movements.

Arachnoid The middle of the three membranes that cover the spinal cord and brain.

Arachnoiditis Inflammation of the arachnoid.

Arrhythmia Any variation from the normal rhythms of the heart beat.

Arteriography The visualisation of arteries by means of X-rays after injection of radio-opaque material.

Arteriosclerosis Hardening of the arteries.

Artery A vessel carrying blood from the heart to different parts of the body.

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Babinski's reflex A movement of the great toe towards the sole of the foot upon stimulation of the sole of the foot.

Bacteria A parasitic micro organism which causes disease.

Barium meal A preparation of barium sulphate which is radio-opaque and which is swallowed by a patient prior to x-ray examination of the alimentary canal Barotitis Earache caused by eg climbing or descending in an aeroplane.

Barotrauma Injury to the middle ear caused by Barotitis.

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Caesarean section An incision in the abdominal wall in order to deliver a baby.

Calcification The hardening of organic tissue caused by the accumulation of calcium.

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Cauda equina A sheaf of nerve roots which runs down through the lower parts of the spinal canal.

Causalgia A burning pain or intense hypersensitivity in a peripheral nerve.

Cauterization The process of burning a part with an instrument or other agent.

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Cerebrospinal Relating to the brain and the spine.

Cerebrovascular accident Stroke Cerebrum The dominant part of the brain associated with intellectual function, emotion and personality.

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Claudication Pain which develops after a certain amount of exertion.

Clavicle The bones connecting the shoulder blade with the breastbone.

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Colostomy A temporary or permanent artificial opening made through the abdominal wall into the colon.

Colour blindness The inability to perceive one or more colours.

Colposcopy Examination of the cervix through a microscope Coma A state of unconsciousness from which the person cannot be roused by external stimuli.

Comminuted fracture Bone fractured into several pieces.

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Compound fracture Where there is more than one break.

Compression fracture A fracture associated with vertical crushing.

Computerized axial A computerised analysis of X-rays focused at different levels tomography which produce detailed images of a particular structure.

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Conjunctivitis Inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the eyelids.

Connective tissue A jelly like substance which supports organs, fills the spaces around them and supports ligaments and tendons.

Contraceptive Any agent or measure used to prevent conception.

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Cornea The transparent membrane covering the anterior part of the eyeball.

Coronary arteries Arteries supplying blood to the walls of the heart.

Coronoid process The swelling towards the top of the ulna.

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Creatine A substance mainly comprised of nitrogen which is present in muscle.

Creatinine A waste produce of creatine which is excreted by urine.

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Cushing’s syndrome Caused by malfunctioning adrenal glands resulting in obesity, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.

Cutaneous Affecting or asociated with the skin.

Cyanosis Blueness of skin owing to circulation of imperfectly oxygenated blood.

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Cycloplegia A form of paralysis of the eye muscle.

Cyst A blister like pouch containing fluid from degenerating, inflamed or neoplastic tissue.

Cystic duct The normal drainage channel for the gall bladder.

Cystic fibrosis A genetic disease affecting the lungs.

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D&C A surgical procedure intended to achieve dilation of the cervix and curettage of the uterus Dactylitis Inflammation of a digit (e.g. toe, finger).

Daltonism Inability to distinguish between red and green.

Debridement The excision of dead tissue from a wound in order to remove food on which organisms can grow.

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Decubitus ulcer Bedsore.

Defibrillation Restoration of heart rhythm by means of an electric shock.

Dehydration The loss or restriction of water.

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Diaclasia The deliberate surgical fracture of a bone in order to reset a deformity.

Dialysis The removal of harmful chemicals from the blood by the use of an artificial kidney.

Diaphoresis Increased perspiration.

Diaphragm A thin layer of tissue stretched across an opening.

Diaphysis The central shaft of a large bone.

Diastasis The forcible separation of parts that are normally joined.

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Discography Demonstration of a disc of a joint by the injection of a radio-opaque medium.

Dislocation The abnormal displacement of a bone from a joint.

Distal The extremity of a limb or organ furthest from the centre of the body.

Diverticulitis A condition of inflammation of a diverticulum.

Diverticulosis A condition of the colon on which the muscular wall gives way in places forming pouches which became filled with faecal material Diverticulum A pouch formed by diverticulosis.

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Dura mater The outermost membrane covering the brain.

Dysarthria Slurred speech.

Dysphasia Partial inability to speak.

Dyspnoea Difficulty in breathing.

Dystocia Difficult childbirth.

Dystrophy The deterioration or degeneration of an organ or body tissues.

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Enophthalmos The recession of the eyeball into the cavity of the orbit.

Enteritis Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the intestine.

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Epicondyle A proturbance above a condyle at the end of a bone which articulates with another bone.

Epicondylitis Inflammation of the epicondyle of the humerus or of the area immediately surrounding it.

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Epigastrium The upper part of the abdomen between the navel and the breast.

Epilepsy An affliction of the nervous system characterised by fits.

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Exploratory operation An operation to investigate and decide upon the cause of symptoms.

Exsanguinated Partial blood loss to a dangerous degree.

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Extra-ocular Situated on the outside of the eyeball.

Extravasation The act of forcing a fluid out of, or allowing it to escape from, its proper duct or vessel.

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Faeces Bodily waste derived from ingested food and discharged through the anus.

Fallopian tubes A pair of slender tubes through which ova pass from the ovaries to the uterus.

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Gall-bladder A pear shaped sac on the inferior surface of the right lobe of the liver in which bile is stored.

Gall-stone A solid mass which may form in the gall-bladder.

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Gangrene Necrosis of tissue due to cutting off the blood supply.

Gastrectomy The surgical removal of the whole or part of the stomach.

Gastric Relating or belonging to the stomach.

Gastritis Inflammation of the gastric mucous membrane.

Gastro-enteritis Inflammation of the mucous coat of the stomach and intestines as a result of Salmonella infection.

Gastro-intestinal Relating or belonging to the stomach and the intestine.

Gastrotomy The surgical opening of the stomach.

Gene The part of a chromosome which is inherited and in turn passes on characteristics or traits.

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Glandular fever A viral infection.

Glaucoma A disease of the eye in which increased pressure in the eyeballs causes damage.

Glenoid cavity A socket located on the upper outer portion of the shoulder blade.

Glossopharyngeal nerve The 9th cranial nerve which controls the muscles of the back portion of the roof of the mouth.

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Gynaecological Relating or belonging to gynaecology.

Gynaecologist A doctor who specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases peculiar to women.

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Haemoglobin A protein which is present in the red blood cells and which carries oxygen Haemopneumothorax An accumulation of blood and gas in the pleural cavity.

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Haemorrhage The escape of blood from any part of the vascular system (ie bleeding).

Haemothorax The escape of blood into the pleural cavity.

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Histogenesis Tissue formation.

Histology The study of the structure of tissues by means of microscopy.

Hodgkins's disease A malignant disease characterised by enlargement of the lymph glands.

Homeostasis The system whereby body functions (temperature, blood pressure, etc) remain in equilibrium whatever the outside environment.

Homoplasty The repair of damaged tissue by grafting on similar tissues from another of the same species.

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Hypercarbia Excess carbon dioxide.

Hydramnios Excessive amniotic fluid.

Hydrocephalus Swelling of the brain due to the accumulation of excess fluid.

Hydrogen The lightest of the chemical elements, gaseous, colourless, odour-less and tasteless.

Hyoid bone A V-shaped bone situated at the base of the tongue.

Hyperacusis Excessive sensitivity to sight, sound, taste and smell.

Hyperaemia Excess blood in a particular part of the body.

Hyperaesthesia Excessive sensitivity to sound, taste, smell and feeling.

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