List of commonly used Cardiology terminology,
lingos, Glossary etc
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
Amino acid: An organic compound that's a basic
part of a protein.
Angina: spasmodic, choking, or suffocating
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.
Electron beam CT scanning: A sectional,
three-dimensional view of the body created by a
Electrophysiology: the study of the mechanisms
of production of electrical phenomena, particularly in
the nervous system, and their consequences in the living
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
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
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
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
Hyperlipidemia: a general term for elevated
concentrations of any or all of the lipids in the
plasma, including hypertriglyceridemia and
Inotropic: affecting the force of muscular
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
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
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
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
valve, located between the right ventricle and
artery, controls the flow of blood as it is pumped by
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
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
Supraventricular: situated or occurring above
the ventricles, especially in an atrium or
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
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
List of commonly used medical terminology, lingos, Glossary etc
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,
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
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
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.
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.
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,
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
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:
Ophthalmology, and Physiatry. Slightly less cushy specialties include
Emerg Medicine, and Anesthesiology, etc.
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
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
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.
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
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).
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).
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."
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 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
Dermatology, Physiatry, Radiation
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
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.
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
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
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.
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-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.")
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.
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.
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.
RT - respiratory therapist - very handy people who administer oxygen,
monitor ventilator settings, and will come to an ABG (see above) for you
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
The field of medicine which a given practitioner is involved in. ie.
Family Medicine, General Surgery,
Ophthalmology, Emergency Medicine.
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!"
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
Within Normal Limits.