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List of commonly used Cardiology terminology, lingos, Glossary etc

Glossary

ACE inhibitors: A group of medications that help relax blood vessels. They are used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure. For people with heart failure, ACE inhibitors have been shown to prolong life and minimize symptoms.

Acute myocardial infarction: the formation of a localized area of ischemic necrosis produced by occlusion of the arterial supply or the venous drainage of the part occurring during the period when circulation to a region of the heart is obstructed and necrosis is occurring

Amino acid: An organic compound that's a basic part of a protein.

Angina: spasmodic, choking, or suffocating pain

Angina pectoris: Brief attacks of chest pain or tightness caused by insufficient oxygen supply due to reduced blood flow to the heart muscles. It usually occurs during exercise or exertion.

Angiogenesis: development of blood vessels in the embryo

Angiography: radiography of the blood vessels after introduction of a contrast medium

Angioplasty: an andiographic procedure for elimination of areas of narrowing in the blood vessels, such as by inflation of a balloon within the vessel or by laser vaporization of an occlusion within a vessel

Anticoagulant: A substance that prevents blood from clotting.

Aorta: the great artery arising from the left ventricle, being the main trunk from the systemic arterial system proceeds. The aorta is the heart's major blood vessel. It sends re-oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body

Arcus cornea: A yellow or white halo around the cornea.

Aortic valve: Valves allow the blood to flow through the heart in only one direction. The aortic valve, located between the left ventricle and the aorta, controls the flow of blood as it is pumped by the ventricles.

Arrhythmia: Abnormal heart rhythm. Arrhythmias can cause the heart to beat fast or slow and can cause the heart to beat irregularly. Its is caused by changes in the flow of the heart's electrical current..

Artherosclerosis: A chronic disease in which the artery walls harden and narrow due to accumulation of inflamed cholesterol plaque.

Aorta: the great artery arising from the left ventricle, being the main trunk from the systemic arterial system proceeds

Atrial fibrillation: atrial arrythmia marked by rapid randomized contractions of small areas of the atrial myocardium, causing a totally irregular, and often rapid, ventricular rate

Artery: Arteries are blood vessels that carry blood containing fresh supplies of oxygen and other nutrients away from the heart to the rest of the body.

 Atherectomy: Atherectomy is a procedure in which the plaque narrowing an artery is cut away or pulverized, rather than being pushed into the arterial wall, as is done in balloon angioplasty.

Atherosclerosis: Atherosclerosis refers to the clogging of arteries - especially the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle - with fatty deposits, cholesterol, and other materials. Over time, blood circulation becomes restricted, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other serious diseases. Atherosclerosis is sometimes referred to as hardening of the arteries or arteriosclerosis.

Atrium: The heart contains four chambers. The two upper chambers are called atria: the left atrium and the right atrium. The right atrium collects oxygen-depleted blood that is returning from the body through veins. The left atrium collects blood coming back from the lungs with fresh supplies of oxygen.

Balloon Valvuloplasty: dilation of a stenotic cardiac valve by means of a balloon-tipped catheter that is introduced into the valve and inflated

Beta-blockers: A class of heart drugs that decreases the amount of work the heart must do by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.

Bile acid: An acid that occurs in bile, a substance secreted by the liver.

Biopsy: removal and examination, usually microscopic, of tissue from the living body, performed to establish precise diagnosis

Blood Pressure: Blood pressure refers to the force or pressure exerted by the heart while pumping blood, including the amount of blood pumped out of the heart, as well as the amount of tension pushing against the walls of the arteries.

Each blood pressure measurement has two readings:

* Systolic blood pressure (the top number) measures the highest pressure within the arteries while the heart is pumping out blood. A normal, healthy systolic reading is 120 or below.
* Diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) measures the lowest pressure within the arteries, while the heart is between beats and filling with blood. A normal, healthy diastolic reading is 80 or below.

Bradycardia: Bradycardia is the term used to describe a slow heartbeat of 50 beats per minute or slower. A normal heartbeat is from 60 to 100 beats per minute.

Bradyarrhythmias: any disturbance in the heart rhythm in which the heart rate is abnormally slowed

CT: computed tomography

Calcium channel blockers: A class of drugs that slows the calcium ions going into the heart's smooth muscle cells, relaxes the muscles in the artery walls and lowers blood pressure.

Cardiac: The word cardiac means "pertaining to the heart."

Cardiac catheterization: This test is also called coronary angiography. Cardiac catheterization is a procedure in which a catheter is inserted into the heart or blood vessels to assess, through the use of a contrast medium and X rays, the condition of the coronary arteries, heart valves, and heart muscle. Cardiac catheterization can also be used to open blocked arteries and to reshape heart valves.

Cardiomyopathy: a general diagnostic term designating primary, non-inflammatory disease of the heart

Cardioplegia: arrest of myocardial contractions through the use of chemical compounds or cold in cardiac surgery

CardioSEAL: a double umbrella device used to percutaneously close patent foramen ovale and atrial septal defects

Cardiovascular disease: Disease involving the heart and blood vessels.

Catheter: A catheter is a long, thin, flexible, hollow tube that is inserted into the body

Catheterization: passage of a tubular, flexible surgical instrument into a body channel or cavity to withdraw or introduce fluid

Claudication: limping; lameness

Cholesterol: Cholesterol is a white, waxy substance that helps your body metabolize fats, insulates your nerve and brain tissues, waterproofs your skin, and helps make hormones.
Your body makes the cholesterol that it needs. When you take in more cholesterol by eating certain foods, the excess cholesterol is stored along the lining of your blood vessels. Too much cholesterol can clog your blood vessels, leading to coronary artery disease, angina, heart attack, and stroke.

Coarctation: a local malformation marked by deformed aortic media, causing narrowing of the lumen of the vessel

Conduits: a channel for the passage of fluids

Congenital: present at and existing from the time of birth

Contrast medium: Contrast medium is any material that appears white, or relatively opaque, on X rays, such as a barium suspension, to highlight an organ or blood vessel.

Coronary arteries: Coronary arteries supply blood to the heart muscle. They serve as the heart's own circulatory system.

Contrast Echocardiogram: that in which the ultrasonic beam detects tiny bubbles produced by intravascular injection of a liquid of a small amount of carbon dioxide gas

Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG): a surgical procedure in which a segment of vein or artery is used to restore blood flow to a diseased artery supplying blood to the heart

Coronary artery disease: Coronary artery disease refers to a narrowing in the coronary arteries that restricts the flow of blood to the heart muscle. A progressive disease in which blockages develop in the blood vessels supplying blood to the heart muscle. The blockages can be caused by elevated blood cholesterol, smoking, diabetes or high blood pressure, among other factors. If the blockages become severe, a heart attack can occur, leading to damage of the heart muscle.

Coronary balloon angioplasty: Angioplasty opens narrowed arteries by compressing fatty build-up or plaque against the artery wall. Coronary balloon angioplasty refers to angioplasty performed on the coronary arteries.

Coronary ischemia: Localized areas of heart tissue that receive insufficient oxygen supply due to reduced blood. This is caused by narrowed/blocked coronary arteries and sometimes results in angina pectoris or myocardial infarction.

Diastolic: the dilation of the heart

Diastolic blood pressure: Diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number in a blood pressure reading) measures the lowest blood pressure in the arteries. It measures the force of the heart at rest or between the beats. A normal diastolic pressure is 80 or below.

Drug Eluting Stents: A device used in angioplasty procedures to open clogged coronary arteries ad allow blood flow to the heart. The stent slowly releases a drug and has been shown in clinical studies to significantly reduce the rate of re-blockage that occurs with existing stents.

Echocardiogram: An echocardiogram ("echo") is a test that uses harmless and painless sound waves to show how well your heart muscle and valves are working, as well as reveal the size of your heart.

Electrocardiogram : Electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG) is a graphic recording of the electrical impulses of your heart and your heart rhythm.

Echocardiography: recording of the position and motion of the heart walls or internal structures of the heart by the echo obtained from beams of ultrasonic waves directed through the chest wall (n. echocardiogram)

Electron beam CT scanning: A sectional, three-dimensional view of the body created by a computer.

Electrophysiology: the study of the mechanisms of production of electrical phenomena, particularly in the nervous system, and their consequences in the living organism

Endarterectomy: An endarterectomy is a common surgical procedure that is performed to remove a piece of plaque from an artery.

Endocardium: The endocardium is a smooth inner lining that covers both the heart and its valves.

Epicardium: The epicardium is the outer layer of the heart.

Endothelial: the layer of epithelial cells that lines the cavities of the heart, the serous cavities, and the lumina of the blood and lymph vessels

Endothelium: lining of blood vessels

Enzyme: A compound produced by living cells.

Epidemiology: the study of the relationships of factors determining the frequency of diseases in the human community

Familial hypercholesterolemia: An inherited disorder that causes excess cholesterol in the blood.

Folic acid: A B vitamin. Used to lower homocysteine levels and lowers the chance of damage tp the lining of blood vessels.

HDL: High-density lipoprotein, also called "good" cholesterol.

Heart failure: Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump out all of the blood that returns to it so the body's needs can be met. Heart failure is also characterized by fluid retention in various parts of the body, such as the legs and lungs.

Hypercholesterolemia: Excess cholesterol in the blood. High-density lipoproteins: High-density lipoproteins (HDL) refer to a substance in your blood that helps to clear your blood vessels of cholesterol build-up. HDLs, sometimes called "good" cholesterol, are often measured as part of a cholesterol (blood) test. A reading of more than 35 is considered healthy.

Hypertension: Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. persistently high arterial blood pressure

Hyperlipidemia: a general term for elevated concentrations of any or all of the lipids in the plasma, including hypertriglyceridemia and hypercholesterolemia

Inotropic: affecting the force of muscular contractions

Ischemia: Ischemia is a condition that occurs when an insufficient amount of blood and oxygen reaches the tissues due mainly to narrowed (blocked) arteries.

Low-density lipoproteins (LDLs): Low-density lipoproteins refer to a substance in your blood that causes cholesterol to stick to the walls of your blood vessels, leading to clogging in your blood vessels. LDLs, sometimes called the "bad" cholesterol, are often measured as part of a cholesterol test. A reading of less than 200 is desirable.

Lipid: free fatty acid fractions in the blood. They are stored in the body and serve as an energy source. Elevations can lead to diseases such as heart attack or stroke.

Mitral valve: Valves allow the blood to flow through the heart in only one direction. The mitral valve on the left side of the heart controls the flow of blood from the left atrium to the left ventricle.

Mitral valve prolapse: Mitral valve prolapse, a faint heart murmur, is a common condition that rarely causes more serious heart problems. It affects as much as seven percent of the population and is more common among women than men. It is believed to be hereditary.

MRI: one of the most powerful tools for viewing the internal organs; produces remarkably clear images of the heart, making it especially useful for detecting and assessing heart masses like lumps or tumors.

MUGA: a method of labeling red blood cells to image the chambers of the heart and its function.

Myocardial infarction (MI): The medical term for a heart attack. Myocardial infarction (MI) is a heart attack. It is actually a myocardial ischemia (a spasm or narrowing of the coronary arteries) that lasts long enough to cause some of the heart muscle to die from lack of oxygen.

Myocardial ischemia: Myocardial ischemia refers to chest pain or pressure that results from a spasm or partial narrowing of the coronary arteries. Silent ischemia is a myocardial ischemia that causes no symptoms.

Myocardium: The myocardium forms the muscular wall of the heart ("myo" means muscle, "cardia" refers to the heart). The myocardium beats in response to the electrical signals it receives from the body's own natural pacemaker, the sinoatrial node. When the myocardium receives an electrical impulse, it contracts, which pumps the blood out of the ventricle.

Occluded: obstructed or cut off

Noninvasive: Used to describe a procedure that doesn't penetrate the skin.

Percutaneous: Percutaneous refers to a procedure that is done through the skin

Percutaneous coronary intervention: Percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) is an all-inclusive term used to describe procedures that are performed in catheterization laboratories to reduce the amount of constriction, or narrowing, in a coronary artery due to plaque formation.

Perfusion: a liquid poured over an organ

Pericardium: The pericardium is a sac around the outside of the heart.

Plaque: Plaque is a combination of fatty material and other deposits made up of fat, cholesterol and mineral deposits that build up inside an artery wall and can reduce or block blood flow.

Port: Ports are the small incisions that are made between the ribs or in the chest during minimally-invasive heart surgery.

Pulmonary artery: When "used" blood returns from a trip throughout the body, it is pumped through the pulmonary artery to the lungs, where the blood picks up a fresh supply of oxygen.

Pulmonary valve: Valves allow the blood to flow through the heart in only one direction. The pulmonary valve, located between the right ventricle and pulmonary artery, controls the flow of blood as it is pumped by the ventricle.

PET: a refinement of SPECT technology, providing a clearer pictire of blood flow and heart function. These images can assist physicians in diagnosing coronary artery disease, hardening of the arteries, and blood flow, as well as assessing coronary bypass grafts and heart transplantation.

Platelet: a disk-shaped structure found in the blood of all mammals and chiefly known for its role in blood coagulation

Reductase inhibitor: product that helps to limit the amount of cholesterol produced by the body, found in "statin" drugs.

SPECT: involves a series of cameras rapidly imaging the heart from different angles and dimensions to study blood flow to the heart

Stent: a device or mold of a suitable material used to hold a skin graft in place or to support tubular structures that are being anastomosed

Sternotomy: the operation of cutting through the sternum

Supraventricular: situated or occurring above the ventricles, especially in an atrium or atrioventricular node

Systolic: the contraction of the heart

Systolic blood pressure: Systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) refers to the highest blood pressure measured in the arteries. It occurs when the heart contracts during a heartbeat. A normal systolic reading is 120 or below.

Tachycardia: Tachycardia is a fast heartbeat, abnormally rapid heart rate, usually ranging from 160 to 200 beats per minute. A normal heartbeat is from 60 to 100 beats per minute.

Thoracotomy: incision of the chest wall

Thrombolytic: the dissolution of a thrombus

Thrombus: an aggregation of blood factors, primarily platelets and fibrin with entrapment of cellular elements, frequently causing vascular obstruction at the point of its formation

Tricuspid valve: Valves allow the blood to flow through the heart in only one direction. The tricuspid valve controls the flow of blood from the right atrium to the right ventricle.

Triglycerides: Compounds in the blood that bind to proteins to form LDL and VLDL. Triglyceride refers to a type of fat your body uses to store sugar until it is needed. Too much triglyceride may cause clogging of your blood vessels. Triglyceride is often measured as part of a cholesterol (blood) test. A reading of less than 250 is considered healthy.

Thrombophilia: a tendency to the occurrence of thrombus (see thrombus)

Unstable angina: Angina pectoris that is marked by sudden changes in severity, length or the level of exertion required to trigger an attack.

Valve: Valves allow the blood to flow through the heart in only one direction.

Vasculopathy: any disorder of blood vessels

Vasospastic: spasm of the blood vessels, decreasing their caliber

Vein: Veins are blood vessels that carry blood to the heart.

Venous: pertaining to the veins

Ventricle: The larger, lower chambers of the heart are called ventricles - the left ventricle and the right ventricle. The ventricles are strong muscles that pump blood throughout the body.
 

Ventricular: a small cavity or chamber, as in the brain or heart

Ventricular septum: The ventricular septum is a band of thick muscle that separates the left and right ventricles.

VLDL: Very low-density lipoprotein; the liver converts VLDL into LDL by removing triglyerides from it.

Xanthomas: Tiny cholesterol-filled bumps that may appear on the skin as a symptom of severe hypercholesterolemia.


 

List of commonly used medical terminology, lingos, Glossary etc

ABC's:
Refers to the order of the ACLS protocol of assessing and treating patients. You need to assess and treat the Airway, then Breathing, then Circulation. Has a different meaning when referring to Anesthesiologists: Airway, Billing, Coffee...

ABG - Arterial Blood Gas - this is a test of the blood pH, oxygen content, and carbon dioxide content. Must be taken from arterial blood - usually from the radial artery in the wrist. Only MDs and RTs (see below) are allowed to do them.

Admissions:
An admission is the entire series of events by which a patient is entered, or "admitted" to a hospital. An admission usually includes performing a complete history and physical examination, ordering and interpretation of any pertinent bloodwork labs or imaging exams, prescribing any medications to be consumed during the hospital stay (ie. antibiotics, heart medications, painkillers, etc), and completing the paperwork in the medical record to document the encounter. Medical students routinely perform admissions during their clerkships and electives as part of the educational process. Lots of admissions unfortunately happen late at night or in the early morning hours, making the early morning admission something to be dreaded by most on call and very sleep-deprived med students...

Attending:
This is the same as a staff physician. Both of these terms refer to a board-certified physician who has completed residency (and potentially a fellowship as well), and is fully qualified to practice medicine independently. In the hospital hierarchy, attendings usually supervise and teach fellows and residents, who in turn teach medical students.

Call room:
While on In-House call, the hospital provides you with a call room, which is your sleeping quarters for the night. The typical call room includes a bed, alarm clock, and telephone for answering late night pages. Usually a haven for sleep-deprived students and residents.

Clerkship:
The same meaning as Rotations. Required by all medical students in a given school (this is the difference between electives and clerkship rotations; you can choose the specialties done in your electives, but if you have a clerkship rotation in a given specialty, it is mandatory). The clerkship rotations are fairly consistent across Canada, and are considered the "core" specialties that each medical student should have been exposed to before graduating with an MD degree. eg: Surgery, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology, plus other specialties and/or elective time. Usually done in the third year for med students in a 4 year program, and in Mac and Calgary, clerkships I believe start roughly halfway through the Med 2 year.

Code Blue or Code - cardiac arrest in the hospital; you will hear this called overhead followed by the location. Everybody runs to this location with crash carts. There is mass confusion. If you are there early you might be asked to do chest compressions, take the femoral pulse or bag (provide Oxygen to) the patient

Cushy:
Usually refers to specialties or clinical rotations that have lighter hours, or easier on-call schedules. Cushy specialties generally offer good lifestyles to their practitioners. Examples include: Psychiatry, Pathology, Dermatology, Ophthalmology, and Physiatry. Slightly less cushy specialties include Radiology, Emerg Medicine, and Anesthesiology, etc.

CTD:
Circling The Drain. Usually refers to a patient who is not doing well, and is steadily deteriorating. ie. "Our patient in the ICU is CTD..."

DNR - Do Not Resuscitate - an order written in the chart of a patient who does not want CPR performed in the case of cardiac arrest. If patient not competent, the family can make a patient DNR. Thus if patient found with no pulse, a code blue (see above) is not called; instead an MD is called to pronounce the death

Elective:
A period of time (usually weeks-months) spent on a single specialty with clinical responsibility. During an elective, you are actively involved in patient care. You are likely the person doing and writing the actual history and physical, writing orders/prescriptions (to be co-signed by your doctor), and in the OR, you will be scrubbed in and actively helping, usually by retracting, cutting sutures, etc. Electives can either be done in your home city, or as away electives in outside cities to make connections, see the rest of Canada, get reference letters for CaRMS, etc. Usually done by senior med students who are using the elective time to round out their medical education, or to improve their residency applications. You have a choice of which specialties you'd like to do electives in; therefore electives will vary between individual medical students.

Fellowship:
A clinical fellowship is done by those board-certified physicians who have already completed their residency specialty, and are seeking additional training within that specialty. Most residencies have a limited number of subspecialty areas that you can train in by completing a fellowship. (ie. a fellowship of Internal Medicine is Cardiology. A fellowship of General Surgery is Vascular Surgery. However, an internist cannot do a vascular surgery fellowship, nor can a general surgeon do a cardiology fellowship).

Research fellowships are a different designation entirely, and may be completed by med students, residents, fellows, etc. It's a bit of an amorphous term that isn't really rigidly defined, and most people are usually referring to clinical fellowships when they talk about doing a fellowship in "xyz" specialty.

First call:
You are the first person in the chain of command to be paged. Therefore, EVERYTHING that requires attention is seen by you first. Only if things are above your head, or if you need authorization by a resident, do you call them. First call is taken by medical students and junior residents.

Foley or F/C - Foley catheter: a tube inserted into the bladder via the urethra to drain urine. Used for accurate estimation of urine output in sicker patients on the ward, although nurses like them because they don't have to change diapers. However they are a lovely breeding ground for infection, so they should be used only when really necessary

Gas:
Refers to the specialty of Anesthesiology. Anesthesiologists are often referred to as Gas-Passers, because of their use of inhalational anesthetics (ie. nitrous oxide, flurances, etc).

Gomer:
One of those derogatory terms that you never want to get caught using. Stands for: "Get Out of My Emergency Room", and usually refers to either a very irritating patient, or else an elderly and otherwise medically complicated patient (lots of co-existing, chronic diseases, which are usually very difficult and frustrating to treat effectively).

GORK:
Acronym for God Only Really Knows. Usually refers to a patient in a very bad condition, such as comatose. "He's gorked out after that MVA, and we really don't know why."

Hit:
A euphemism for an Admission, usually one occurring just 5 minutes after you've fallen asleep in your call room. ie: "I just got paged by Emerg for another direct hit... That's my fifth hit tonight. :( "

Home call:
Home call occurs when you are on-call and are responsible for ward calls and admits, but you get to wait for them at home instead of being in the hospital. This is generally done if the chance of being called in is very low, or if things can wait for the time that it takes you to get into the car and drive to the hospital. Home call is therefore more desirable than in-house call. Specialties that are more likely to take home call include Psychiatry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology, Physiatry, Radiation Oncology, etc.

Ins and outs - "ins" are oral and parenteral intake (IV fluids, fluids taken by mouth) and "outs" are urine, stool, vomit, drains, etc. Nurses measure or estimate these volume and record on daily patient record

In-House call:
This means that you stay in the hospital the entire time you are on call, and should not be off-premises. It also means going to sleep in the hospital call rooms, which are usually no better than an unfurnished room with a bed and a phone to answer pages. All UBC rotations with on call requirements are in-house call except Psychiatry.

Internship:
This is an outdated term that shouldn't really exist anymore. Used to refer to the first year of residency. As the most junior resident physician, invariably works the longest hours, in the past, these "interns" would actually be given housing at or around the hospital. A first year resident used to, and still is, called an intern. Not to be confused with an "internist", who is a fully-trained physician in Internal Medicine.

LOL in NAD:
Little Old Lady in No Acute Distress. Refers to a patient who is actually healthy, or otherwise has well-managed chronic conditions, and therefore doesn't require much if any medical intervention. Do not confuse this with *lol* which in internet chat rooms means laugh out loud

NPO:
Means nothing to eat or drink. Derived from the Latin words Nil/non per os, meaning nothing by mouth. Patients awaiting surgery are made NPO the midnight before in order to empty the stomach and minimize complications during surgery (ie. vomiting).

Observership:
Very similar to an elective, but without the clinical responsibility. You are shadowing a physician, and may see patients with him/her, go into the OR and observe surgeries (so you're not scrubbed in), etc. Generally you don't touch patients, write orders/prescriptions, or anything else. You are like a fly on the wall, observing. Observerships are usually done by junior med students who have not yet acquired the skills to make a meaningful contribution towards patient care, but would still like the experience of seeing what a typical day/week/month of that specialty is like.

On call:
You are carrying a pager and are responsible for both ward calls, and admits. What this means is that if a patient on the wards in the hospital needs something, you need to be there. If there is someone downstairs in Emerg who is sick enough to need to stay the night, they need to be "admitted" to the hospital. This requires getting a complete history and physical, writing down all medical orders for the nursing staff and other services (dietician, getting Physio, Social Work, Occupational Therapy, etc involved as needed). When on call, you may be either first call or second call.

PEG tube - percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy tube; a tube inserted through the skin directly into the stomach; used in people who have swallowing problems such as post-stroke, CP, esophageal resection, etc

PICC line - peripherally inserted central catheter; has many uses but so far I have mostly seen them used for patients who need long term (weeks) IV antibiotics but are well enough to go home and be treated by a home care nurse

Post-op:
Post-operative. Following surgery. A patient who is post-op day #4 CABG had a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft surgery performed 4 days ago. Also abbreviated as POD#4. In the US, the term s/p is used to refer to post-op, and stands for status/post. (ie. "Our patient, s/p CABG Day 4, is doing well.")

PRN:
Means as needed/if necessary. Derived from the Latin words pro re nata, meaning when necessary. Give this patient "Ibuprofen q6h PRN for pain" means give the patient Ibuprofen up to every 6 hours if necessary for pain control.

Q:
Means "every". Therefore, q4 means every 4, and q3 means every 3. Therefore, being on call q4 means that every fourth day you are on call. In a week, this means that if you are on call on Monday, you will also be on call on Thursday. If you are on call on Tuesday, you'd be on call on Friday, and so on. Take this "Tylenol q 6h" means take this Tylenol every 6 hours.

Residency:
This is the 2-5 year committment you need to make after graduating medical school in order to be trained in a specialty. During residency, you are known as a resident physician, or a "resident". A second year resident would be known as an R2 (just like a second year med student is in Med 2), or a fourth year resident is an R4. An R4 may also be referred to as a PGY4 (post graduate year 4), so the notation R4 is interchangeable with PGY4, or R2 with PGY2, and so on.

Rotations:
See Clerkship.

RT - respiratory therapist - very handy people who administer oxygen, monitor ventilator settings, and will come to an ABG (see above) for you

Second call:
Being on call at the same time as the "first call" person, but not getting paged unless the "first call" person can't handle the situation without your involvement. Second call is usually taken by senior residents.


SLP - Speech/Language Pathology - these people often see old folks on the ward who have had a stroke and do a swallowing assessment, and recommend diet (eg do they need their food pureed, or thickened fluids, etc) to decrease choking/aspiration risk

Specialty:
The field of medicine which a given practitioner is involved in. ie. Obstetrics, Family Medicine, General Surgery, Ophthalmology, Emergency Medicine.

Stat:
No, not statutory holiday. Stat is an abbreviation used in medicine for something that needs to be performed urgently. An abbreviation of the Latin word statim, meaning immediately. ie: "I need that EKG and cardiac enzymes stat!"

Turf:
Slang for transferring your patient to another specialty service, so they can take care of your patient instead of you (saving you the extra work). ie: "Orthopedics is turfing an 81 year old lady with a recent hip fracture to Internal Medicine because she has a history of poorly-controlled diabetes."

VSS or AVSS - "vital signs stable" or "afebrile, vital signs stable" - a lazy way to record vitals in daily progress notes

WNL:
Within Normal Limits.

 

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